Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and its second largest city, after Glasgow, which is 45 miles away to the west. It has been the capital of Scotland since 1437 (replacing Scone) and is the seat of the Scottish Parliament. The city was one of the major centres of the Enlightenment, led by the University of Edinburgh, gaining the nickname Athens of the North. The Old Town and New Town districts of Edinburgh were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city. In the census of 2001, Edinburgh had a total resident population of 448,624.
Edinburgh is well-known for the annual Edinburgh Festival, a collection of official and independent festivals held annually over about four weeks from early August. The number of visitors attracted to Edinburgh for the Festival is roughly equal to the settled population of the city. The most famous of these events are the Edinburgh Fringe (the largest performing arts festival in the world), the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Nightlife: Edinburgh has a large number of pubs, clubs and restaurants. The traditional areas were the Grassmarket, Lothian Road and surrounding streets, Rose Street and its surrounds and the Bridges. In recent years George Street in the New Town has grown in prominence, with a large number of new, upmarket public houses and nightclubs opening, along with a number on the parallel Queen Street. Stockbridge and the waterfront at Leith are also increasingly fashionable areas, with a number of pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Like many other cities in the UK, Edinburgh has numerous nightclubs that play popular and chart music. The underground nightclub scene playing music such as Techno, House, Electronica and Drum & Bass however has suffered in recent years with the closure of Wilkie House, The Venue, La Belle Angele (burned in a fire) and The Honeycomb (although it has recently reopened as The Hive). Berlin, Cabaret Voltaire, Ego, Studio 24, The Caves, The Hive, and The Liquid Room are the main nightclub venues in the city.
Transport: Edinburgh is a major transport hub in east central Scotland, with arterial road and rail routes that connect the city to the rest of Scotland and with England. It is connected to the north of Scotland by the famous feats of engineering, the Forth Rail Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge.
Most public transport trips in Edinburgh are taken by bus, with Lothian Buses and First Bus operating an extensive system connecting most parts of the city, suburbs and surrounding city region.
Two new park and ride sites were opened in 2005 at Ingliston and Riccarton on the western outskirts of the city, in addition to facilities in Fife and Newcraighall. For all other park and ride information visit:The National Park and Ride Directory.
Universities and Colleges: University of Edinburgh, The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Heriot-Watt University, Napier University, and other colleges are Telford College, and The Scottish Agricultural College.
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