‘This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.’
Alexander McCall Smith
With a towering castle, elegant Georgian terraces, narrow historic streets and a stunning skyline it is little surprise that poet laureate Sir John Betjeman described Edinburgh as ‘the most beautiful of all the capitals of Europe.” However, the city offers much more than a pretty facade.
Edinburgh has been recognised as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century. It is home to the Scottish Parliament and is the seat of the monarchy in Scotland. Historically part of Midlothian, the city has long been a centre of education, particularly in the fields of Scots law, literature, the sciences, engineering and medicine, so it provides a fitting setting for ASM 2018.
Edinburgh is the second largest financial centre in the United Kingdom and the city’s historical and cultural attractions have ensured that it is second only to London in the list of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations. Every year over a million overseas visitors flock to enjoy the festival, the fringe and more.
The city is the annual venue of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. It is home to national institutions such as the National Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery. The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582 and now one of four in the city, was placed 17th in the QS World University Rankings in 2013 and 2014. The city is famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the latter being the world’s largest annual international arts festival.
Historic sites in Edinburgh include Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, the churches of St. Giles, Greyfriars and the Canongate, and the extensive Georgian New Town, built in the 18th century. Edinburgh’s Old Town and New Town together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site,which has been managed by Edinburgh World Heritage since 1999.
Edinburgh is a capital of contrasts; the city and countryside, history and contemporary culture are all juxtaposed, making it an intriguing and exciting location for the ASM.