IntroductionLocated in the Lothians in eastern Scotland, Edinburgh is nestled on a series of volcano cones and rocky crags. Known as ‘the Athens of the North’ the city has been inhabited since about fifteen hundred BC and has been the capital of Scotland since the end of the fifteenth century. Although Scotland and England have been united in a single kingdom since 1603, Scotland and therefore Edinburgh has its own political and social characteristics. The legal and educational systems of the two countries are very distinct and since 1999 Scotland has its own Parliament making further divergence between the two likely in the future. Moreover, largely as a result of the wealth of natural minerals around the city, business is booming so making Edinburgh the most important financial center in Britain after London.
Although described by some as conservative, Edinburgh has much to offer including an array of art galleries, museums, theatres and a year-round calendar of international festivals such as the renowned Edinburgh International Festival. Most tourists flock to Edinburgh between July and September, or over New Year’s for the Hogmanay Festival. Edinburgh has now also been granted the World Heritage Site status due to its medieval Old Town, the Edinburgh Castle dating back to the twelfths-century and eighteen-century Georgian New Town. Luckily it isn’t all buildings though as this beautiful city has many green areas and parkland as well as a cultural program of theatre, music and dance unrivalled in the UK outside of London.