Edinburgh celebrating its Georgian heritage

Published: 06 March 2017

Edinburgh is celebrating its Georgian heritage this month with a signature light projection event that forms part of Scotland's Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017. Cllr Richard Lewis, Culture & Sports Convener at City of Edinburgh Council, explains more...

What is the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017?

The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 is a celebration of Scotland’s people, our distinct culture and traditions, our historic landscapes, attractions and icons – as well as our hidden gems and amazing stories.  

George Street is a flagship avenue in the New Town and home to many original buildings including the Assembly Rooms. It opened in 1787, meaning it celebrates its 230th birthday this year. It...remains one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful venues.

Cllr. Richard Lewis, Culture and Sports Convener, City of Edinburgh Council

 

Scotland’s history and heritage is what defines the country for many visitors – and this is an opportunity to celebrate the year through a range of existing and brand new events. Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows is one of these and features in a searchable themed year calendar on visitscotland.com 

Visitors will be able to imagine what it was like to visit and live in the New Town in the 18th century, with buildings and windows brought to life through tricks of shadow and light.

What does Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows involve?

Georgian Shadows will turn a stroll along George Street into a trip through time. Visitors will be able to imagine what it was like to visit and live in the New Town in the 18th century, with buildings and windows brought to life through tricks of shadow and light.

The centrepiece of the event will be St Andrew Square, where an animated story of how the New Town was planned will be told at the Melville Monument. The council has supported a number of light installations in recent years, from Bruce Munro’s Field of Light to the LED stick figures of KEYFRAMES. Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows will once again transform this part of the city. 

Why was James Craig’s New Town plan so important?

James Craig is widely regarded as one of the most influential architects in Georgian history. His design of the New Town 250 years ago took place during Edinburgh’s ‘Age of Enlightenment’. Thanks to his town planning, a grand contrast to the Old Town was created which eased congestion in the city. Both parts of Edinburgh are now famous for their built history, and together are an important UNESCO World Heritage Site

George Street is a flagship avenue in the New Town and home to many original buildings including the Assembly Rooms. It opened in 1787, meaning it celebrates its 230th birthday this year. It became the focus for the social life of the New Town and remains one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful venues. The council refurbished and restored the Assembly Rooms in 2012, including historically accurate gilding, half a ton of Zoffany damask curtain fabric and 500,000 chandelier crystals. So a visit to the Assembly Rooms in 2017 still very special 230 years on. 

Georgian Shadows is a collaboration between Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, Edinburgh World Heritage, EventScotland, Essential Edinburgh, Marketing Edinburgh and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Who is behind this event and what does it hope to achieve?

Georgian Shadows is a collaboration between Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, Edinburgh World Heritage, EventScotland (as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology), Essential Edinburgh, Marketing Edinburgh and the City of Edinburgh Council

This partnership approach has helped us create a fitting celebration of the anniversary of the New Town Plan. It’s especially exciting that the installation is taking place in the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh’s world-famous festivals. (Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh International Film Festival were created in 1947).

Culture and creativity, heritage and history are so entwined in Edinburgh. Georgian Shadows celebrates all of this, is free (paid tours are available), takes place every evening between 5:30pm and 8:30pm, and runs until 26th March 2017.

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