City Tours Edinburgh

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In the early 7th century, Edinburgh was known as Eiden’s Burgh (Eiden’s Fort). It would later become known as ‘The Athens of the North, due to its many classical buildings and it being at the time the centre of learning like ancient Athens once was.
It was also given the nickname ‘Auld Reekie’ (Middle Scots for Old Smoky) mainly due to the fact that most of the old buildings were heated with coal fires and wood, and from the chimneys would spew thick columns of smoke, covering the city in dirty black soot.

The Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh is Dùn Èideann. It has been the Capital of Scotland since the 15th century.
Edinburgh is built around two dormant volcanos, the first one is the lava plug which forms the Castle Rock, and its tail, the trail of its lava flow forms the Royal Mile. 
The second dormant volcano is Arthur Seat, where there has been human activity here since the 5th Millenium BC. There was also a settlement here during the Bronze Age. 
Nowadays the City is divided into the Old Town, the New Town and the outer suburbs.
The Old Town consisted mainly of the area encompasing Edinburgh Castle and part of the Royal Mile and its Closes.
The City was surrounded by Walls (King's Wall, Telfer Wall and Flodden Wall), entry to the city was made through one of five Ports or gates, these were guarded and closed at night. During the 1700s within this walled city lived around 80,000 people all crammed into this tiny area. No sanitation and poor conditions made this a terrible place to live, and the Gentry decided it was time move , a plan was drawn up to build a new town outside the city walls.

The New Town was developed from the 18th century. After winning a competition James Craig was chosen to draw up plans to build the first of the seven New Towns, which would be a Neo-Classical Georgian  New Town away from the slums of the Old Town.
Craig's plan of the New Town was laid out in a grid like style with the main with broad thoroughfares, Craig's original design had been for a centralising diagonal layout, reflecting a new era of civic Hanoverian British patriotism by echoing the design of the Union Flag. 
The main Streets being Princes Street, followed by Rose Street, George Street Thistle Street and Queen Street.
George Street  would have a square gardens at each end, Charlotte Square at the west end and St Andrews Square at the East end. The subsequent streets, and cross streets were named after British Royalty:
Charlotte Square (designed by Architect Robert Adam) Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III
St Andrews Square named after the patron saint of Scotland
George Street named after King George  III, and Queen Street after Queen Charlotte. 
Thistle Street named after the Scottish national emblem. 
Rose Streets are named after England's national emblem.
Frederick Street, named after King George's father Frederick.
Princes Street was named for all the Royal Princes.
And Hanover Street was named after King George III family the House of Hanover.

We hope you have enjoyed this short story about the history of Edinburgh, if you would like to hear more, please come on one of our tours with our guides who are a mine of information.