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“Soon it will be an oyster without a pearl”—change comes to Edinburgh

Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, began as a Mesolithic camp ca. 8,500 BC. A lot has changed since then. Bronze and Iron age people subsequently settled there, and when the Romans arrived at the end of the 1st century AD, they found a Celtic tribe—the Votadini—living there. Around 950, the settlement fell to the Scots, who essentially retained control, almost uninterrupted, until the present day.

The historic center of Edinburgh has been listed as a World Heritage site since 1995. This designation recognizes the significant architecture and its historical integrity in the New and Old Towns of the city. The Old Town is largely medieval while the New Town section was constructed as a Georgian expansion of the city beginning in the 18th century. Highlighting its dual role as both an historic city and a modern capital are Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish Parliament building, a modernist structure, located at opposite ends of the Royal Mile in the Old Town section. (Photo above of the Royal Mile in 2014).

As with many modern/historic cities, both urban economic development and increased tourism pose threats to Edinburgh’s historic integrity. Edinburgh World Heritage, a non-profit organization, was formed to help ensure Edinburgh retains its World Heritage qualities. But this recent opinion piece describes the pressures for change Edinburgh is facing—predicting inevitable harm to its cultural and historical heritage.


Rosemary Goring: Can anyone halt the relentless destruction of Edinburgh?

By Rosemary Goring

The Herald

August 22, 2017

Also see

Edinburgh, a World Heritage City

International Heritage News Network

July 3, 2016

Edinburgh assists Turkey with the restoration of historic sites

International Heritage News Network

June 21, 2017

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