Sightseeing guide for Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

The castle of Edinburgh is binded with the history of the city and has been standing here for 1,000 years now. The oldest building in the castle is the 12th century St Margaret' s Chapel, dedicated to the wife of King Malcolm III, himself immortalised in Macbeth. The castle served as a royal residence until 1571, when Mary Queen of Scots' supporters were besieged in the castle by the Regent. The royal residence was then moved to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the castle became a military stronghold. The castle houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One O' Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.

The Royal Mile

The royal castle and the royal residence of Holyroodhouse are separated, appropriately enough, by the Royal Mile. This is the ridge sloping from the heights of the castle down to the dell beneath Arthur' s Seat, a green hill sheltering the palace. Gladstone' s Land is a six-storey house kept in 17th century style and offers to the visitor a fascinating look at those times. The name of Fleshmarket Close was used by Ian Rankin for his latest Inspector Rebus novel. You will also see here the beautiful St Giles, which dates from 1120. Formerly a cathedral, it' s now the High Kirk of Edinburgh. Holyrood Building nowadays houses the new Scottish Parliament. The palace was originally built by James IV so that the family could be near Holyrood Abbey. Despite being burnt by Henry VIII' s army in 1544, and further damaged by Cromwell' s gang in 1650, it remains a solid, elegant building and has lovely green gardens.

New Town

The New Town is actually quite old. It dates back to a 1766 plan by James Craig. The wide, spacious streets, grassy squares and classical lines of the area contrast greatly with the comparative gloom of the Royal Mile. Princes Street divides the old area from the newer, and gardens occupy the space below the castle.

Royal Botanic Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden is an excellent choice for those who want to admire the wonders of nature in a city and the vast variety of plants that are planted here. There is also and admirable huge Palm House.

St Giles' Cathedral

Founded in the 1120's, St Giles' was the church of John Knox during the Reformation. The church is decorated with beautiful stained glass windows. The impressive Rieger organ was installed in 1992 and the famous Thistle Chapel, home of the Knights of the Order of the Thistle, Scotland's great order of chivalry designed by Robert Lorimer for the Order of the Thistle, was added in 1911. St Giles' is situated on the historic Royal Mile, halfway between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

City Art Centre

Located in the heart of the capital, with six exhibition galleries, the City Art Centre is Scotland's emporium of the visual arts. It is both home to the city's collection of Scottish Art, and one of the UK's leading temporary exhibition spaces.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art houses Scotland's finest collection of modern and contemporary art. It opened in 1960 and since then the collection has grown to include 5000 items, ranging from paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings of the 1890's right up to contemporary video installations of the 1990's. Highlights include works by Vuillard, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Kirchner and Dix as well as Scottish artists such as Peploe, Fergusson, Gillies and Redpath, post-war work by Bacon, Freud, Davie, Hockney, Balthus and Lege and more recent work by artists including Baselitz, Antony Gormley and Damian Hirst. It is also a perfect setting for sculptures by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth amongst others.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery provides a visual history of Scotland from the 16th century to the present day. The collection is includes works of art by western artists such as Matisse, Picasso and Dali. The gallery also holds an unrivalled collection of 20th century Scottish art including paintings by Bellany, Gillies, Peploe, Davie and Redpath. The Gallery is situated in an extensive parkland, providing the perfect setting for sculptures by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Anthony Caro and others.

Edinburgh Dungeon

Live actors, an eerie ride, shows and special effects transport you back to those black bleak times. You will be able to watch old horror stories and legends of the city and even ghosts!

National Library Of Scotland

Scotland's premier library stages a major exhibition each summer and runs a year-round events programme, as well as a series of smaller exhibitions, workshops and education activities throughout the year.

The John Murray Archive

The writers and thinkers of John Murrays publishing firm shaped the modern world through their works of literature, science, exploration and politics. Drawing on material from the John Murray Archive, this permanent exhibition uses state-of-the-art exhibition technology to bring to life the work of the publishers most influential figures. Those featured in the first line-up include Lord Byron, Charles Darwin and David Livingstone.

National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland is houses in a building described as the finest Scottish building of the 20th century and has become a landmark of Scotland. The Royal Museum building, with its magnificent glass ceiling, houses international collections covering nature to art, culture to science.

The Scottish Parliament

Explore Scotland's new Parliament building and discover its past, present and future. Visit the debating chamber and see parliament in action. Entry to the Parliament is free.

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