Launch of Edinburgh Old and New Town treasure hunts
We at Treasuredays are delighted to be launching our two new Edinburgh treasure hunts. Replacing our previous Edinburgh hunt, we now offer a choice of an Edinburgh: Old Town and an Edinburgh: New Town treasure hunt.
Edinburgh: Old Town treasure hunt
The Old Town is the popular name for the oldest part of Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh. Its origins can be traced to the early Middle Ages when a hillfort was established on the castle rock. From the 7th to the 10th centuries it was part of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria, the city taking its name from King Edwin. The area has preserved much of its medieval street plan and many Reformation-era buildings.
One of the first stops on our Old Town treasure hunt route is Makars' Court, which commemorates great Scottish writers like Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. After looping round past two famous Edinburgh landmarks, Greyfriars Bobby and the Toon Coo, the central part of the Old Town route heads up the Royal Mile along High Street and Lawnmarket. On the way we pass John Knox's House, the Tron Church, the old Parliament House and St. Giles' Cathedral. Outside the West Door of the Cathedral, the site of the Old Tolbooth is marked by 'the Heart of Midlothian' pavement mosaic. We look into several of the closes or 'wynds' that run off the main street at regular intervals, each with its own fascinating history. And we learn about Deacon Brodie, a city big-wig by day and a master criminal at night, and the man on whom Stevenson based Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
The treasure hunt ends in front of Edinburgh Castle in the Esplanade which is the site of the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until 1633. Flanking the Gatehouse, you can see statues of the Scottish heroes William Wallace and Robert Bruce that were added in 1929.
Edinburgh: New Town treasure hunt
Originally designed by James Craig, Edinburgh's New Town retains much of the original neo-classical and Georgian period architecture. Its most famous street is Princes Street, facing Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town across the geographical depression of the former Nor Loch. Our treasure hunt starts in Princes Street by the Scott Memorial. The route then heads for St Andrew Square. Begun in 1772, this was the first part of the New Town to be built, and quickly became one of the most desirable and most fashionable residential areas in the city. Dominated by the Melville Monument in the central gardens, it is also the home of RBS. We then head along George Street, which runs through the centre of the New Town to Charlotte Square. Then it's back along Rose Street, a narrower pedestrianised street full of street art, pubs and restaurants, which runs parallel and between George and Princes Street.
The final part of the route heads back to Princes Street and into Princes Street Gardens, which were created after Nor Loch was drained. This beautiful park contains numerous memorials to Scottish regiments and allied forces based here during the World Wars. One of the most recent and unusual depicts Wojtek, the Syrian brown bear adopted by troops of the Polish II Corps in 1942. He was officially drafted into the Polish army as a private so he could be shipped to the Italian campaign, and helped to carry ammunition at the Battle of Monte Cassino.
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