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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Edinburgh

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Of all the cities in the world, Edinburgh, the capital and cultural center of Scotland for over 500 years, occupies one of the most beautiful locations. Sometimes described as the "Athens of the North", the famous festival city boasts Doric columns on Calton Hill, a wide choice of museums and art galleries as well as a host of other historical gems. Edinburgh actually consists of two cities. The castle, set on high basalt rock, dominates the densely populated old town, a labyrinth of narrow alleys, rows of houses and back yards. The famous "Royal Mile" links the castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Georgian new town, itself a masterpiece of town planning from the 18th century, is characterized by grand squares, wide avenues and elegant facades.

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Old Town

New Town

George Heriot's School

The founder of this square, Gothic-Palladian complex was James IV's court jeweler George Heriot. William Wallace began work on the boys' school in 1627 and the task was finished by William Ayton in 1650. The clearly articulated facade with decorative gables is typical of the Renaissance period, while the corner towers are rather reminiscent of medieval fortifications.
Address: Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9EQ, Scotland

Empire Palace Theatre

Edward Moss built the Empire Palace Theatre in 1892. It was the first theater on Nicholson Street and architect Frank Matcham designed it to accommodate an audience of 3,000. No expense was spared on the decorations which include elephants, Nubian riders, nymphs and cherubs. Some very distinguished artists, such as Vesta Tilley, Anna Pavlova, Charlie Chaplin and Charles Laughton have performed in the Empire. After conversion by the Milburn brothers, the theater was used from 1928 to 1963 for variety performances, musicals, operas and ice spectaculars, before being converted back into a theater. Almost 30 years passed before Colin Ross was commissioned to give the building a new face, ushering in a new era of dramatic performances. Since June 1994 theater-goers have appreciated the bright glass-fronted foyer with cafe. Matcham's auditorium has been restored and only partly altered to meet modern demands.
Address: 13/19 Nicholson Street, Scotland


Several places of interest are within easy reach of the western side of Edinburgh to the south of the Firth of Forth. Cramond is a popular suburb with whitewashed houses which overlook the River Almond as it opens into the Firth of Forth. Excavations have provided evidence that a Roman camp was based here as early as 142. A Roman bath has been uncovered near Cramond Inn.

Seton Collegiate Church

The origins of Seton Collegiate Church go back to 1242, the year in which a parish church dedicated to St Mary & Holy Cross was consecrated here by the Bishop of St Andrews. In 1544 parts of the church were badly damaged by an English army. The grounds house the remains of a number of buildings thought to be priests' houses, and there is a display of stonework recovered from Seton Palace, destroyed in 1715 and later replaced by Seton House which now stands to the west of the church.

Gilmerton Cove

Gilmerton Cove is an underground attraction located on the Southside of Edinburgh. Hewn from the bedrock sandstone, the Cove has seven different chambers with stone table and chairs, it truly is an archeological mysterythat has baffled investigators for over 300 years.
Address: 16 Drum Street, Edinburgh EH17 8QH, Scotland

Caiy Stane

Known as General Kay's Monument, the Caiy Stone marks the site of an ancient battle between the Picts and the Romans. The monument is a 9ft tall prehistoric cup-marked stone.


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