History and Heritage

The ruins of a palace.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The lands on which Edinburgh now sits have been occupied for thousands of years, with the remains of Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Roman settlements to be found across the city. Edinburgh rich heritage includes its medieval Old Town, its Georgian New Town, and its Victorian suburbs.

Edinburgh's most iconic historic buildings include Edinburgh Castle; the Palace of Holyroodhouse; the Old Royal High School; St. Giles' Cathedral; and the Scott Monument. There are thousands of listed buildings in Edinburgh, while the city is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh and the Forth Bridge.

The history of Edinburgh spans events such as the Wars of Scottish Independence, the Scottish Reformation, the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, the Scottish Enlightenment, the industrial Revolution, and the First and Second World Wars. Famous episodes from Edinburgh's history include the signing of the National Covenant, the visit of King George IV, the Burke and Hare murders, and the construction of Edinburgh's New Town.

Edinburgh's history is showcased in its multiple museums, including the National Museum of Scotland, the Museum of Edinburgh, the People's Story Museum, the Writers' Museum, the Surgeons' Hall Museums, the Queensferry Museum, the National War Museum, and the Museum of Childhood. The Edinburgh Dungeon visitor attraction showcases the sinister elements of the city's past. The city is also home to multiple galleries hosting historic works of art, while the National Library of Scotland and the Edinburgh Central Library hold various historic archives.

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