The Royal Mile

If you enjoy historical novels about medieval cities, where galloping horses carry brave knights to their magnificent castles, Edinburgh’s Old Town will take your breath away. Coming here for the first time suddenly brings to life every place and scene from the favorite stories.

Scotts call the oldest part of their city the Royal Mile. It starts at the gates of the Edinburgh Castle that occupies the top of the extinct volcano. This was the highest and the most defensible place in the area that became a perfect spot for the legendary fortress. Even today, its spires still dominate the city’s stylish skyline.

From the castle, the winding streets of the Old Town run past gothic cathedrals towering over the crowds, noisy taverns where ale flows out of giant oak barrels and merchant stores owned by generations of family craftsmen making local handicraft. The Royal Mile ends at the Holyrood Palace where the British Queen stays during her visits. While preserving its ancient charm, the place isn’t afraid to experiment with architectural design. The newly constructed Scottish Parliament Building looks like a futuristic space habitat that somehow manages to blend in with the nearby palace and abbey.

Still, Edinburgh’s Old Town looks much like it did hundreds of years ago. Its lifelong residents sometimes reminisce that while their lives have often dramatically changed, they still look at the same cityscape that their parents and grandparents did every day. The place is like the favorite historical novel that even after many years remains a great read.

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