the capital city of Scotland and the seat of the Scottish Parliament. It is the second largest city in Scotland and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom. Located in the south-east of Scotland, Edinburgh lies on the east coast of the Central Belt, along the Firth of Forth, near the North Sea.
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. 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. It covers both the Old and New Towns together with the Dean Village and the Calton Hill areas. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city.
The city hosts the annual Edinburgh Festival, a group of official and independent festivals held annually over about four weeks beginning in early August. The number of visitors attracted to Edinburgh for the Festival is roughly equal to the settled population of the city. The best-known 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 Book Festival. Other annual events include the Hogmanay street party and the Beltane Fire Festival. Edinburgh attracts over 1 million overseas visitors a year, making it the second most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom.
Humans have settled the Edinburgh area from at least the Bronze Age, leaving traces of primitive stone settlements at Holyrood, Craiglockhart Hill and the Pentland Hills for example.