Edinburgh (ĕd´Ĭnbərə), city (1991 pop. 433,200) and council area, royal burgh, capital of Scotland, on the Firth of Forth. Leith, part of the city since 1920, is Edinburgh's port. The city is famous in Scottish legend and literature as Dunedin or
It is divided into two sections. The Old Town, on the slope of Castle Rock, dates from the 11th cent. and contains most of the city's historic sites; the New Town spread to the north in the late 18th cent.
Edinburgh is Scotland's administrative, financial, legal, medical, and insurance center, and the city has become an important nuclear and electronics research center. The port imports grain, fertilizer, petroleum, minerals, wood pulp, cement, fruit, and vegetables. Edinburgh is a large brewing center, has a thriving publishing industry, and produces great quantities of high-grade paper. There are metalworks and rubber and engineering works. Other industries are distilling; the manufacture of glassware, drugs, and chemicals; and shipbuilding. The Waverly railway station is the second largest in Great Britain. Tourism is of major importance.
Points of Interest
The Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama, held every summer since 1947, and its larger, more eclectic and offbeat offshoot, the Edinburgh Fringe, are world famous; the festival's 1,900-seat theater opened in 1994. Other notable features are the new Parliament Building; National War Memorial; the collections of the Royal Scottish Academy, the National Gallery of Scotland, the Royal Scottish Museum, and the Museum of Scotland; the National Library; Princes St.; the Royal Botanic Gardens; the house of the Protestant reformer John Knox; the church of St. Giles, dating from the 12th cent.; the Real Mary King's Close, narrow streets and buildings that were buried underground in the 18th cent.; and the site of the famous prison, Old Tolbooth, which figures in Scott's novel The Heart of Midlothian. The Univ. of Edinburgh was founded under James VI in 1583; other institutions of higher education include Heriot-Watt Univ. and Napier Univ.
Edinburgh's history may be said to have begun when Malcolm III of Scotland erected a castle there in the late 11th cent. and his wife built the Chapel of St. Margaret, the city's oldest surviving building. A town grew up around the castle and was chartered in 1329 by Robert I. It grew steadily despite repeated sacking and burning by the English in the border wars and became the capital city of Scotland in 1437.
James IV was the first monarch to make Edinburgh his regular seat. The rooms of Mary Queen of Scots are preserved in Holyrood Palace. The city lost importance when James VI became king of England in 1603 and commerce and society followed the court to London. After the Act of Union with England in 1707 dissolved the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh retained the Supreme Courts of Law, which now meet in the old Parliament House.
Edinburgh blossomed as a cultural center in the 18th and 19th cent. around the figures of the philosophers David Hume and Adam Smith and the writers Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. The Edinburgh Review, founded in 1802, added to the city's literary reputation. Following voter approval and parliamentary passage of a devolution act, the Scottish Parliament met for the first time in nearly 300 years in Edinburgh in 1999. The new parliament building was completed in 2004.
See R. Crawford, On Glasgow and Edinburgh (2013).