Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city, renowned for its heritage, culture, and festivals. It has a medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town. Looming over the city is Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish rulers. Arthur’s Seat is an imposing peak in Holyrood Park with sweeping views, and Calton Hill is topped with monuments and memorials. Below is a list of 20 famous buildings and landmarks that make up the Edinburgh skyline.
1) Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress that dominates the skyline of Edinburgh. Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite rising of 1745. The castle is Scotland’s most-visited paid tourist attraction, with over 2.1 million visitors.
2) Lauriston Castle
Lauriston Castle. (image source)
Lauriston Castle is a 16th-century tower house overlooking the Firth of Forth, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The substantial grounds, Lauriston Castle Gardens, operate as a local park. Lauriston Castle was almost totally destroyed in the raids on Edinburgh in 1544 and was re-built around 1590.
3) The Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Palace of Holyroodhouse.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth spends one week in residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer, where she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies.
4) Ramsay Garden.
Ramsay Garden. (image source)
Ramsay Garden is a block of sixteen private apartment buildings in the Castlehill area of Edinburgh. They stand out for their red ashlar and white harled exteriors. Ramsay Garden started out as Ramsay Lodge, built by the poet and wig-maker Allan Ramsay in 1733 and is now considered a desirable, address. Some of the apartments are let out as holiday accommodation.
5) Scott Monument
Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It is the second-largest monument to a writer in the world. The tower is 200 feet 6 inches (61.11 m) high and has viewing platforms reached by a series of spiral staircases giving panoramic views of central Edinburgh and its surroundings.
6) The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. (Image source)
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is part of the National Galleries of Scotland, based in Edinburgh. It houses the collection of modern and contemporary art dating from about 1900 to the present. more than 6000 paintings, sculptures, installations, video work, prints and drawings and also stage major exhibitions.
7)The Scottish Parliament Building
The Scottish Parliament Building. (image source)
The Scottish Parliament Building is the home of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, The building was constructed in June 1999 and the Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) held their first debate in the new building on 7 September 2004.
8) Usher Hall
Usher Hall. (image source)
Usher Hall is a concert hall and situated in the west end of Edinburgh. It has hosted concerts and events since its construction in 1914 and can hold approximately 2,200 people in its recently restored auditorium, which is well-loved by performers due to its acoustics.
9)The Edinburgh International Conference Centre
The Edinburgh International Conference Centre. (image source)
The Edinburgh International Conference Centre Is the principal convention and conference center in Edinburgh, Scotland. The center opened in 1995 and caters to around 200,000 delegates every year and generates in excess of £60m in revenue for the City of Edinburgh. An extension opened in 2013 at a cost of £85 million.
10) Modern Two
Modern Two. (image source)
Modern Two formerly the Dean Gallery is one of Scotland’s national art galleries in Edinburgh. The Dean Gallery is twinned with the National Gallery of Modern Art which lies on the opposite side of Belford Road. The gallery was opened in 1999, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, which is its sister gallery. In 2011 the buildings were renamed Modern Art Two, and Modern Art One, respectively.
11) St Mary’s Cathedral
St Mary’s Cathedral. (image source)
St Mary’s Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Edinburgh. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh and the mother church of Scots Catholicism, located in the city center. The cathedral was designed in 1813-1814, Pope John Paul II visited St Mary’s in May 1982 as part of his pastoral visit to Scotland.
12) The Scottish National Gallery
The Scottish National Gallery. (image source)
The Scottish National Gallery is run by National Galleries of Scotland, a public body that also owns the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The gallery houses Scotland’s national collection of fine art, spanning Scottish and international art from the beginning of the Renaissance up to the start of the 20th century.
13)The National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland. (image source)
The National Museum of Scotland was formed in 2006 with the merger of the new Museum of Scotland, with collections relating to Scottish antiquities, culture, and history, and the adjacent Royal Scottish Museum (renamed in 1904), with collections covering science and technology, natural history, and world cultures. In 2018, the museum received 2,227,773 visitors, making it Scotland’s most popular visitor attraction that year.
14) The Royal Scottish Academy Building
The Royal Scottish Academy Building. (image source)
The Royal Scottish Academy Building is home to the Royal Scottish Academy, situated on The Mound in the center of Edinburgh, and was built by William Henry Playfair in 1822-6. The building was remodeled in 1912, the statue of Queen Victoria top the building was sculpted by Sir John Steele.
15) Balmoral Hotel
Balmoral Hotel was originally built as the North British Station Hotel, it is a luxury five-star property and landmark in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is located in the heart of the city at the east end of Princes Street, the main shopping street beneath the Edinburgh Castle rock, and the southern edge of the New Town.
16) Bute House
Bute House. (image source)
Bute House is the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland located within Charlotte Square in Edinburgh. Bute House is frequently used by the First Minister to hold press conferences, media briefings, meetings of the cabinet of the Scottish Government and appointing members to the Scottish Cabinet.
17) The Nelson Monument
The Nelson Monument
The Nelson Monument is a commemorative tower in honor of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson. The monument was built between 1807 and 1815 to commemorate Nelson’s victory over the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and his own death at the same battle. In 1853 a time ball was added, as a time signal to shipping in Leith harbor.
18 The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh
The Royal Observatory. (image source)
The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh is an astronomical institution located on Blackford Hill in Edinburgh. The observatory carries out astronomical research and university teaching, design, project management, and construction of instruments and telescopes for astronomical observatories.
19) Merchiston Tower
Merchiston Tower. (image source)
Merchiston Tower, also known as Merchiston Castle was probably built as a country house by Alexander Napier, the second Laird of Merchiston around 1454. The tower stands at the center of Edinburgh Napier University’s Merchiston campus. During restoration in the 1960s, a 26-pound cannonball was found embedded in the Tower.
20) Craigmillar Castle
Craigmillar Castle. (image source)
Craigmillar Castle is a ruined medieval castle in Edinburgh. It is three miles (4.8 km) south-east of the city center, in the suburb of Craigmillar. The central tower house, or keep, is surrounded by a 15th-century courtyard wall. Within this are additional ranges, and the whole is enclosed by an outer courtyard wall containing a chapel and a doocot.
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