With over 4,500 listed buildings, Edinburgh is world-renowned for its rich architectural heritage. The two main areas of particular interest in this historic city are the Old Town, which includes the medieval fortress of Edinburgh Castle, and the neoclassical New Town which dates back to the 18th century. The juxtaposition of medieval architecture with neoclassical terraces gives Edinburgh its own unique character.
Together, the Old and New Towns were listed as a World Heritage Site in 1995, a status which will conserve Edinburgh’s magnificent architecture for future generations to enjoy. Following this, the Edinburgh World Heritage was created in 1999 and is funded by Historic Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council. The charity aims, amongst other things, to monitor the site’s state of conservation and fund conservation projects.
The Old Town features the tourist hub of the Royal Mile, a long street exactly one Scots mile long, featuring a medieval castle, narrow closes, Reformation buildings, kirks, turrets and plenty of nooks and crannies. Head over to the New Town and you will find the grand Georgian Terraces, more suited to the figures of the Scottish Enlightenment who wished to escape the over-crowded Old Town.
Discover for yourself the fascinating history and stories behind many of the public spaces of the Old and New Towns by downloading the Heritage Trail and listening to the podcast for each location. You can uncover the fascinating layers of history that lie hidden behind the stone façades of Edinburgh’s historic building by listening to the Edinburgh's House Histories podcast.
For more information visit the Edinburgh World Heritage website. You can also download the free Edinburgh World Heritage iPhone app to help you explore the best of Edinburgh's extensive hertiage.