Just a little quick post here on how exactly Edinburgh (and really all of Scotland) was formed as I found this to be quite interesting…
Millions of years ago the landmass that is today Scotland was actually South of the Equator which made the temperatures and terrain tropical!! Needless to say I would have been a happy camper to have lived on Scotland millions of years ago! In any event, as the years went on Scotland migrated to its current position and during the Ice Age was struck by several glaciers quite violently that ended up creating the landscape as you see it today with numerous mountains with jagged peaks. In addition the terrain is also littered with tons of dormant volcanos that died out during the glacier strikes. The city of Edinburgh is in fact literally sitting on top of a dead volcano… Perhaps the correct term is still “dormant” volcano even though there is absolutely zero activity from the volcano.
It is this unique placement of the city that gives it quite a bit of character… The Edinburgh castle sits at the apex or peak of the volcano and the main street, called the Royal Mile, gently slopes down the volcano (about a mile long) to ground level where the Queen’s Palace is. The Queen’s Palace or more correctly Holyrood Palace (aka Palace of Holyroodhouse) is the Queen of England’s official residence in Scotland. Along the Royal Mile from the Castle to Holyrood the street is lined with shops and homes that from the inside perspective only seem 5, 6 or perhaps 7 stories tall. However, from the valley perspective (i.e. standing on the outside of the city looking at it) the buildings seem 10-15 stories all. This is due to the sloping of the land down to the valley and the Scots not wasting any space in how they built things!!
The historic city was once surrounded by a wall that now only has a very small remnant left, and the main city or rather historic part of the city only connected to the valley (where the rest of Edinburgh eventually spread out to) through tons of “closes” which ran from the center (the Royal Mile) down to the valley. “Closes” were so named because they were simply narrow walkways or streets that were “close” together. And each close was named after the activity that occurred there. For example the fish Market close was where you would go to buy fish! Much more on closes later… But for now, at least you (hopefully) have a base idea on how Edinburgh was formed and a visual of how the city is situated:) Oh, and Edinburgh has been recognized as the capital of Scotland since at least the 1500s… Just to give a base idea of how old the city is as well:)