Population and Demography

An Overview of Edinburgh: The Greenest City From Scotland

Since 1437, Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland. The city is situated near the Firth of Forth’s southern bank in Lothian. Bordered by East Lothian, Midlothian, and West Lothian, hills, and the coast, the geographic area of the city is hilly.

Besides hills, the Green belt also surrounds almost all of Edinburgh’s border areas. Green belt refers to the naturally preserved areas under the policy that separates each town and Edinburgh itself with other cities. The policy makes Edinburgh as the greenest city in the U.K. The number of green spaces reaches 49.2% of the city. It makes tress numbers in Edinburgh surpass the population.

overview of edinburgh
overview of edinburgh

The population has reached 536.775 people in 2020 making the city the second-most populous city in Scotland. Citizens of Edinburgh are called ‘Edinburghers’. Their ethnicities mostly are Scottish. The earliest human habitation in Edinburgh was in 8.500 BC specifically in the Cramond suburb.

Edinburgh’s recorded history was started in the first century AD when the Romans first came to Lothian and built a fort at Cramond. At the time, there had been a tribe called Votadini. The tribe controlled Edinburgh until 638 AD when the Northumbria king defeated Votadini and included Edinburgh under Northumbria rules.

It was only until the late ninth century when Viking raids on Britain happened taking Edinburgh back to Scotland. Ever since the Kingdom of Scotland was established, Edinburgh was part of it. Battles between Scotland and England occurred several times. The battles were ended in 1707 when the two Kingdoms were united making Great Britain.

Due to its long history, there are many ancient buildings and sites such as the medieval Old and Neoclassical New towns. The towns are classified as World heritage site by UNESCO in 1995. Most buildings also have a gothic revival architectural style with arched windows and several stories.


Iconic buildings worth visiting are the Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, Scottish national gallery, Calton Hill and Scott Monument, Melrose Abbey, and others. Other than sightseeing the town view, shopping in Princess street is another tourist attraction in Edinburgh. Jenner, the oldest department store in Scotland, lies on the street since 1838.

Another famous street in the city is Royal Mile. This street has been the main location of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for many years. The festival cover street performing arts like circus, musicals, comedy, cabaret, theatre, and more. The open festival is first held in 1947.

Indeed, Edinburgh is the city of festivals. There are more than twenty-five festivals in a year. Some popular festivals are the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Jazz & Blues Festivals, and International Book Festival. The book festival is attended by thousands of authors all over the world.

Talking about books and literature, many masterpieces were born in this city. As for the example, the overseas-success Harry Potter story is mostly written by J.K. Rowling in the Elephant House Cafe. Another famous writer is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes story. The story was inspired by Prof. Joseph Bell who could diagnose so fast when Doyle was at the University of Edinburgh’s medical school.

Edinburg, Scotland
Edinburg, Scotland

The University of Edinburgh is the best uni in this city. Besides, there are other universities such as Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University, Leith School of Art, and others. Universities, colleges, academies, secondary and junior high schools are part of Edinburgh’s education. State-funded secondary and high school education is free.

The number of international students is increasing. They could reach Edinburgh via planes, trains, or buses. From London, flights only take 1.5 hours and trains take 5 hours. In Edinburgh, people usually use public transports that are buses, trams, and taxis.

As the Green city, most citizens of Edinburgh use bikes or walking. It is another way to reduce carbons for clean air. This city was used to be called ‘the Old Smokey’ due to excessive coal burning to heat houses. The effect that remains can be seen in the old buildings which are mostly blackened.

Related to smoke, Edinburgh has another story about fire. In 1824, the Great Fire of Edinburgh happened. James Braidwood as the leader of the first organized fire brigades fought the fire with his team for six days. Nowadays, every area of Edinburgh belongs to the smoke control area.