Edinburgh: Athens of the North
Edinburgh is an experience,
A city of enormous gifts,
Whose streets sing of history
Whose cobbles tell tales.
-- Alan Bold
Edinburgh, this lovely city by the cold North Sea, casts a towering shadow over western civilization. Its restless identity is moving, changing, rising; ancient fortress and glittering capital, melancholy battleground and revolutionary hotbed. The Scots pursued culture over conquest, enlightenment over empire, and earned the laurels of Athens of the North. Its renowned universities birthed the modern age and its great thinkers buried the Renaissance.
It is a city of past and present set side by side, a juxtaposition of Gothic spires against glass office towers, the grim castle brooding over the University's artificial intelligence labs, and plush shops snug against the medieval city. Tangled closes vanish into subterranean vaults, steps from planned streets and airy Palladian facades. Melancholy cemeteries enshrine the days lost, voices dimmed. Her bloody and mysterious heritage flows around weathered monuments and memorials on every hill. Riotous festivals celebrate a new future.
Bursting with treasures, laden with secrets, Edinburgh is the spiritual and cultural heart of Scotland, and her people teeter on the brink of a new era.
|| Dùn Eideann, Din Eidyn, Edina
|| Athens of the North, City of Seven Hills
|| ~8th century BCE
|| 495,360 - Edinburgh area|
790,000 - Lothian region
|| Edinburgh Council
||Lord Provost Sean Williams
|| UNESCO World Heritage site, 1995|
UNESCO City of Literature 2004
||Nisi dominus frustra|
"Except the Lord in vain"
|| 87% white, 8% Asian,|
3% black, 2% other
||Dunedin, New Zealand|
Grapevine (Dallas), Texas
Robbie Burns Night: The celebration of Scotland's foremost poet, Robbie Burns, takes place on 25 January. Poetry readings, toasts of whisky, and haggis suppers honour him all over the capital, but the avant garde turn this tradition on its head with "McGonagall Night Supper" to recognize Scotland's second poet, William McGonagall. More mayhem and madcap fun is planned.
Locations and Places|
Subterranean tunnels riddle Edinburgh's foundations. Abandoned vaults wait on the other side of buried cellars, and underground pathways link sealed crypts to forgotten chambers. Edinburgh's macabre history stains the stones with stories of disembodied presences, spectral apparitions, and strange noises. Death hangs heavy over the city, but the balance of odd things seems to be increasing. Tourists have been attacked, sensitives claim a frightening presence lurks in the dark, and spooked clubbers have abandoned a noteworthy disco in the vaults.
Police worry about a new street drug circulating among the city's lowest classes. Its potent addictiveness surpasses other common drugs, and dealers are cutting meth, ecstasy, and heroin with a cheaper filler certain to bring them repeat customers. The victims suffer from serious withdrawals after only a few uses and respond poorly to conventional treatments. Physicians in the NHS brace for a rash of untreatable drug cases; officials fear something might be coming in from mainland Europe that they can't deal with.
Beasts in the Wilds:
Scotland preserves some of the last remaining wilderness area in the British Isles, but the indigenous population of predatory land animals is limited to smaller creatures. Extensive hunting eradicated bears, wolves, and wildcats almost completely. Reports filtering in suggest hunters and farmers have sighted large dogs and felines well outside wooded areas in the remote northeast. Some of the sightings came as close as the Pentland Hills.
From its foundations as a Bronze Age hillfort to a cosmopolitan metropolis today, Edinburgh's history sweeps over three millennia. Not since Athens has a small city by the sea fundamentally influenced western civilization as the Scottish capital has. Outsiders long recognized the strategic value of holding the gateway to Highlands riches and maritime lanes, and they have come in their thousands over the centuries to conquer and be conquered by the power of the land, the passion of its people.