5 free things to do in Edinburgh, from museums to a volcano with a 2,000-year-old fort; Paul Kelbie; The Chronicle Herald

UK – Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

EDINBURGH, Scotland — Scotland has made headlines lately with voters rejecting independence and choosing instead to remain part of the United Kingdom. Visitors will naturally be curious about the centuries of history that led to Scotland’s distinct culture. And a visit to the country’s capital, Edinburgh, with its historic 16th century tenements and grandiose 19th century town houses, is a tale of two cities in one.

More than 600 years of history seep from every pore of Edinburgh’s volcanic foundations. Tales of genius and enlightenment are mingled with those of body-snatchers, witches and revolutionaries.

The Old Town, dominated by the imposing medieval battlements of Edinburgh Castle, runs downhill along the Royal Mile stretching from the castle to the Queen’s official Scottish residence of Holyrood Palace.

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