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The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The site covers an area of approximately 4.5km2 and contains nearly 4,500 individual buildings as well as ancient monuments, designed landscapes, and conservation areas.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognises World Heritage Sites as places of outstanding cultural, historical or scientific value. For each inscription, the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the site is described. These are the attributes which make it exceptional from a global perspective.
Continue reading for more about UNESCO and other UNESCO sites in Scotland.
in the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh WHS
in the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh - 5 times the number of the Resident PopulationBusiness Register and Employment Survey (NOMIS) 2014
of the total of Edinburgh’s population (507,000) resides in the Old and New Towns of EdinburghEdinburgh by numbers 2017
Attendance at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015Edinburgh by numbers 2017
Edinburgh has long been celebrated as a city of international importance: an ancient royal burgh, the medieval Old Town alongside the world renowned eighteenth and nineteenth century classical New Town, all situated in a spectacular landscape of hills and valleys beside the wide estuary of the Firth of Forth.
What makes Edinburgh exceptional in an international context? These are the qualities that led to it becoming a World Heritage Site:
The survival of two contrasting styles of urban development: the organic multiple layers of the medieval Old Town and the enlightened, spacious, ordered elegance of the New Town.
The city’s fine collection of neo-classical monuments that reflect its status as Scotland’s capital. These monuments contribute to the richness and diversity of the townscape and their subjects represent a variety of personalities who were significant in their time.
The dramatic hills and green spaces of the landscape, plus key buildings of the Old and New Towns give Edinburgh its iconic skyline that has inspired generations of artists, writers, visitors and residents.
The survival and condition of Edinburgh’s historic buildings, many being authentic examples of their time – a noteworthy and rare quality.
The Old and New Towns embody the changes in European urban planning from inward looking, defensive walled medieval cities, through 18th and 19th centuries formal Enlightenment planning, to the 19th century revival of the Old Town with its adaptation of a Baronial style of architecture in an urban setting.
UNESCO requires those responsible for a World Heritage Site have a way to manage it. In the UK, this takes the form of a management plan. This should:
Here are some of the key achievements under the previous plans: