The Old Town and New Town districts of Edinburgh were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 in recognition of the unique character of the Medieval Old Town and the planned Georgian New Town. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city. The city was at the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment. Celebrities from across the continent would be seen in the city streets, among them famous Scots such as David Hume, Walter Scott, Robert Adam, David Wilkie, Robert Burns, James Hutton and Adam Smith. Edinburgh became a major cultural centre, earning it the nickname Athens of the North because of the Greco-Roman style of the New Town’s architecture, as well as the rise of the Scottish intellectual elite who were increasingly leading both Scottish and European intellectual thought.
Famous authors of the city include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, J. K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, who began her first book in an Edinburgh coffee shop, Sir Walter Scott, the author of famous titles such as Rob Roy, Ivanhoe and Heart of Midlothian, Robert Louis Stevenson, creator of Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting.
Edinburgh has been home to the actor Sir Sean Connery, famed as the first cinematic James Bond and actor Brian Cox. The city has produced or been home to musicians that have been extremely successful in modern times, particularly Ian Anderson, frontman of the band Jethro Tull; The Proclaimers and the Bay City Rollers.