Old and New Towns of
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Edinburgh, capital of Scotland since the 15th century, presents the dual face of an old city dominated by a medieval fortress and a new neoclassic city whose development from the 18th century onwards exerted a far-reaching influence on European urban planning. The harmonious juxtaposition of these two highly contrasting historic areas, each containing many buildings of great significance, is what gives the city its unique character.
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is located on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. Edinburgh is the second largest city in Scotland, after the industrial center of Glasgow. It is, however, Scotland's financial, cultural, educational, and service-industry hub. Among the city's manufactures are paper, whisky, electrical and electronic equipment, food products, and chemicals. The printing and publishing industry was well established here by the 16th century. Edinburgh's port, at the communities of Leith and Granton, is a major service point for vessels associated with the North Sea petroleum industry. The principal imports are petroleum products, grain, ores, and wood; exports include whisky, steel, and fertilizer. The city is also one of Britain’s major tourist centers.
Edinburgh Castle, historically the principal royal fortress of Scotland, is perched on Castle Rock, a massive volcanic rock that towers dramatically over the city of Edinburgh. Overlooking the North Sea, the rock has long occupied a key strategic position on the North Sea inlet called the Firth of Forth. It has consequently been fortified from very early times. Saint Margaret's Chapel, built in the 12th century in memory of Margaret, queen of Malcolm III, is almost certainly the oldest structure on the rock. Because of continuous remodeling and alteration of the fortifications on the rock over the centuries, little remains of the medieval fortifications.
Located here is the 11th-century Chapel of Saint Margaret, the city's oldest structure. The Castle Rock is connected to the 16th-century royal Scottish residence of Holyrood Palace by a road known as the Royal Mile, the main thoroughfare of the Old Town district of the city.
The picturesque accumulation of battlements, towers, prisons, and palaces includes elements that date from virtually every stage of Scottish history. The finest buildings date principally from the reign of James IV, during the late 15th and early 16th centuries; the Great Hall, with a superb hammer-beam roof, is perhaps the most significant. James IV was also responsible for improvements made to the 15th-century Royal Palace of James I (King of Scotland 1406-1437), situated on Crown Square, within the Castle, and it was in a room here that James VI of Scotland (who later became James I of England) was born to Mary, Queen of Scots in 1566. Today, the castle, which is open to visitors, is the scene of an annual floodlit performance of military drum and bagpipe music, known as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Royal Mail has issued new series of miniature sheets 'The Four Countries of the United Kingdom' focusing specifically on Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Each sheet will consist of three new stamps and one existing country definitive and will be issued on the respective Saint's Day. The first of these sets, focusing on Scotland, was issued issued on St Andrew's Day 30th November 2006. Below is shown the new stamp from this set, featuring Edinburgh Castle, an impressive sight at night when the castle is illuminated.
Great Britain 2006. Edinburgh Castle, illuminated at night.
| Other notable buildings in Old Town include Saint Giles, the National Church of Scotland (largely 15th century); the Parliament House, seat of the Scottish Parliament from its completion in 1639 until 1707; and the house of the 16th-century Protestant reformer John Knox.
To the north of this district is New Town, which was developed in the late 18th century and contains many fine buildings designed by the Scottish architect Robert Adam. Separating the two districts is Princes Street Gardens, occupying the bed of a loch that was drained in 1816.
The name Edinburgh comes from the Welsh Dynas Eidyn, fort of the Votadani or Goddodin- see the Poem The Goddodin. The Gaelic is similar and is Du\n E\ideann. Symeon of Durham, Saxonised the name to Edwinesburgh.
Source: Microsoft Encarta 2002.
Note about the "Edinburgh Castle"-stamps.
There are many reasons for any stamp to be reprinted with slightly different designs especially in the case of definitives which may have a long run. In the case of the GB Castles with decimal currency the
principle ones are: awarding the printing contract to different firms (Harrison and Enschedé), different engravers (Chris. Matthews of Harrison and Inge Madle of Enschedé), new security measures (elliptical perforations, optically variable ink for the Queen's head which changed in consequence to a non-engraved silhouette that was printed by the silk screen process), and so on.
Incidentally, among the differences between the Harrison and Enschedé printings of the security issues is the fact that Enschedé's ellipses are placed one hole lower than Harrison's. The two engravers also had their own style, notably in the shape of the C of castle
The reproductions of the pre-decimal Castles definitives, with the Dorothy Wilding portrait of the Queen, that was issued on 22 March 2005 in a miniature sheet but with decimal currency do not bear the names of the castles.
Source: Mr. Douglas Myall (Great Britain).
Other World Heritage Sites in Great Britain (on this site). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, United Kingdom Section, for further information about the individual properties.
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Revised 27 mar 2007