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United Kingdom: Edinburgh Old Town

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Edinburgh Old Town | United Kingdom | Europe

[Visited: July 2005]

Edinburgh is one of those old cities that most people have a clear image of even if they never visited it themselves. It invokes images of stoney towers, of castles, princes, of green hills, of a fairy tale city. And indeed, walking in the medieval Old Town makes these images lingering in your mind, from becoming reality. A vibrant reality, because the Old Town of Edinburgh is certainly not merely a historic city centre, but a lively collection of broad streets, turning alleys, closes, steps, and old houses. The Old Town still has its medieval city plan, but also modern shops and restaurants.

Picture of Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom): Edinburgh: the inevitable Edinburgh Castle seen from below

Arriving at the base of the extinct volcano on which Edinburgh Castle is built, I could only see the contours of the castle high above me, because the hills are so steep. After climbing the staircase from the Grassmarket area up to Edinburgh Castle, I found out that there was a huge podium right in front of it on the Esplanade. I decided to turn and walk down the Royal Mile. This is actually a broad street on the ridge leading down from the rock on which the castle was built, down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other, lower end. While the street actually changes name several times, it is referred to as Royal Mile because of this royal connection.

Picture of Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom): Edinburgh: stone houses on Bank, a sidestreet of the Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is imposing in itself, with buildings like St Giles Cathedral, John Knox House and the Scottish Houses of Parliament, and other historical buildings. Walking down the Royal Mile has the added advantage that you can peep into the alleys leading down from the mile on both sides of the street. Some lead to closed courts, others lead to stairs going down the hill, but they all add to the picturesque feel of the Old Town of Edinburgh. Taking one of the side streets down offer the opportunity to see the skyline of the Old town from a distance.

Picture of Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom): Edinburgh: typical houses on Grassmarket dominated by Edinburgh Castle
Picture of Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom): Edinburgh: one of the stately buildings on the Royal Mile
Picture of Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom): Edinburgh: portico in the Royal Mile
Picture of Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom): Edinburgh: lantern in one of the quiet corners of the Old City
Picture of Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom): Edinburgh: looking down into the Royal Mile
Picture of Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom): Edinburgh: fountian near site where witches were burned
Picture of Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom): Edinburgh: detail of roof window
Picture of Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom): Edinburgh: lower part of the Royal Mile
Picture of Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom): Edinburgh: skyline with towers of church

Around the World in 80 Clicks

Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Edinburgh Old Town (United Kingdom). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Edinburgh Old Town.
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