Edinburgh is Scotland's compact, hilly capital. It has a medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town with gardens and neoclassical buildings. Looming over the city is Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish rulers. Arthur’s Seat is an imposing peak in Holyrood Park with sweeping views, and Calton Hill is topped with monuments and memorials.
Edinburgh is a physically small city of only 500,000 people. It lies on the east coast of Scotland, on the south bank of the Firth of Forth (the estuary that opens into the North Sea). Geologically, the Firth of Forth is a fjord, carved by the Forth glacier at the Last Glacial Maximum. The famous Edinburgh Castle is situated on the top of a volcanic rock intrusion which was resistant to erosion by the ice sheet, and so stands above the surrounding area; a perfect defensive site! The volcanic rock sheltered an area of softer bedrock from the erosive forces of advancing glaciers, creating a “crag and tail” feature where the tail is a tapering strip of the softer rock. The Old Town runs down the “tail” and the castle stands on the “crag”. The site of the city of Edinburgh was first named as “Castle Rock”.
Physically, Edinburgh is a city of sombre theatricality, with much of this quality deriving from its setting among crags and hills and from its tall buildings and spires of dark stone. This makes it the perfect setting for the dark deeds that occur in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries.
Edinburgh has been a military stronghold, the capital of the independent country of Scotland, and a centre of intellectual activity. Although it has repeatedly experienced the vicissitudes of fortune, the city has always renewed itself. Today it is the seat of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive, and it remains a major centre for finance, law, tourism, education, and cultural affairs.