Edinburgh It is the second largest Scottish city, after Glasgow.The City of Edinburgh Council is one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. Located in the south-east of Scotland, Edinburgh lies on the east coast of the Central Belt, along the Firth of Forth, near the North Sea. Owing to its rugged setting and vast collection of Medieval and Georgian architecture, including numerous stone tenements, it is often considered one of the most picturesque cities in Europe. The city forms part of the City of Edinburgh council area; the city council area includes urban Edinburgh and a 30-square-mile (78 km2) rural area. Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Parliament. The city was one of the major centres of the Enlightenment, led by the University of Edinburgh, earning it the nickname Athens of the North. The Old Town and New Town districts of Edinburgh were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city.In the 2008 mid year population estimates, Edinburgh had a total resident population of 471,650.Edinburgh is well-known for the annual Edinburgh Festival, a collection of official and independent festivals held annually over about four weeks from early August. The number of visitors attracted to Edinburgh for the Festival is roughly equal to the settled population of the city. The most famous of these events are the Edinburgh Fringe (the largest performing arts festival in the world), the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Other notable events include the Hogmanay street party (31 December), Burns Night (25 January), St. Andrew's Day (30 November), and the Beltane Fire Festival (30 April). The city attracts 1 million overseas visitors a year, making it the second most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom, after London. Edinburgh today Panorama of the Old Town and Southside of Edinburgh from the Nelson monument. The term panorama was originally coined by the painter Robert Barker to describe his panoramic paintings of Edinburgh. Areas Old and New Towns of Edinburgh* UNESCO World Heritage Site Type Cultural Criteria ii, iv Reference 728 Region** Europe and North America Inscription history Inscription 1995 (19th Session) * Name as inscribed on World Heritage List. ** Region as classified by UNESCO. Map of the city, showing New and Old Towns Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is divided into areas that generally encompass a park a main local street (i.e. street of local retail shops), a high street (the historic main street, not always the same as the main local street, such as in Corstorphine) and residential buildings. In Edinburgh many residences are tenements, although the more southern and western parts of the city have traditionally been more affluent and have a greater number of detached and semi-detached villas. The historic centre of Edinburgh is divided into two by the broad green swath of Princes Street Gardens. To the south the view is dominated by Edinburgh Castle, perched atop the extinct volcanic crag, and the long sweep of the Old Town trailing after it along the ridge. To the north lies Princes Street and the New Town. The gardens were begun in 1816 on bogland which had once been the Nor Loch. To the immediate west of the castle lies the financial district, housing insurance and banking buildings. Probably the most noticeable building here is the circular sandstone building that is the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Old Town looking up The Royal Mile The Old Town has preserved its medieval plan and many Reformation-era buildings. One end is closed by the castle and the main artery, the Royal Mile, leads away from it; minor streets (called closes or wynds) lead downhill on either side of the main spine in a herringbone pattern. Large squares mark the location of markets or surround public buildings such as St. Giles' Cathedral and the Law Courts. Other notable places nearby include the Royal Museum of Scotland, Surgeons' Hall and McEwan Hall. The street layout is typical of the old quarters of many northern European cities, and where the castle perches on top of a rocky crag (the remnants of an extinct volcano) the Royal Mile runs down the crest of a ridge from it. Due to space restrictions imposed by the narrowness of the "tail", the Old Town became home to some of the earliest "high rise" residential buildings. Multi-storey dwellings known as lands were the norm from the 1500s onwards with ten and eleven stories being typical and one even reaching fourteen stories. Additionally, numerous vaults below street level were inhabited to accommodate the influx of (mainly Irish) immigrants during the Industrial Revolution. These continue to fuel legends of an underground city to this day. Today there are tours of Edinburgh which take you into the underground city, Edinburgh Vaults. New Town View of the New Town The New Town was an 18th century solution to the problem of an increasingly crowded Old Town. The city had remained incredibly compact, confined to the ridge running down from the castle. In 1766 a competition to design the New Town was won by James Craig, a 22-year-old architect. The plan that was built created a rigid, ordered grid, which fitted well with enlightenment ideas of rationality. The principal street was to be George Street, which follows the natural ridge to the north of the Old Town. Either side of it are the other main streets of Princes Street and Queen Street. Princes Street has since become the main shopping street in Edinburgh, and few Georgian buildings survive on it. Linking these streets were a series of perpendicular streets. At the east and west ends are St. Andrew Square and Charlotte Square respectively. The latter was designed by Robert Adam and is often considered one of the finest Georgian squares in the world. Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland, is on the north side of Charlotte Square. Sitting in the glen between the Old and New Towns was the Nor' Loch, which had been both the city's water supply and place for dumping sewage. By the 1820s it was drained. Some plans show that a canal was intended, but Princes Street Gardens were created instead. Excess soil from the construction of the buildings was dumped into the loch, creating what is now The Mound. In the mid-19th century the National Gallery of Scotland and Royal Scottish Academy Building were built on The Mound, and tunnels to Waverley Station driven through it. The New Town was so successful that it was extended greatly. The grid pattern was not maintained, but rather a more picturesque layout was created. Today the New Town is considered by many to be one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture and planning in the world. Edinburgh New Town viewed from Edinburgh Castle South side A popular residential part of the city is its south side, comprising a number of areas including St Leonards, Marchmont, Newington, Sciennes, The Grange, Edinburgh "South side" is broadly analogous to the area covered by the Burgh Muir, and grew in popularity as a residential area following the opening of the South Bridge. These areas are particularly popular with families (many well- regarded state and private schools are located here), students (the central University of Edinburgh campus is based around George Square just north of Marchmont and the Meadows, and Napier University has major campuses around Merchiston & Morningside), and with festival-goers. These areas are also the subject of fictional work: Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus lives in Marchmont and worked in St Leonards; and Morningside is the home of Muriel Spark's Miss Jean Brodie. Today, the literary connection continues, with the area being home to the authors J. K. Rowling, Ian Rankin, and Alexander McCall Smith. Geography and climate Arthur's Seat viewed across southern parts of Edinburgh from Blackford Hill. Bounded by the Firth of Forth to the north and the Pentland Hills, which skirt the periphery of Edinburgh Climate chart J F M A M J J A S O N D 64 45 52 43 49 53 58 53 62 70 61 67 6 7 9 11 14 17 19 19 16 13 9 7 1 1 2 3 6 9 11 10 9 6 3 1 average max. and min. temperatures in °C precipitation totals in mm source: Met Office Imperial conversion[show] J F M A M J J A S O N D 2.5 1.8 2.1 1.7 1.9 2.1 2.3 2.1 2.5 2.7 2.4 2.6 44 44 48 52 58 63 66 66 61 55 48 45 33 34 36 38 42 47 51 51 47 43 37 34 average max. and min. temperatures in °F precipitation totals in inches Edinburgh is drained by the Water of Leith, which finds its source at the Harperrig Reservoir in the Pentland Hills and runs for 29 km (18 miles) through the south and west of the city, emptying into the Firth of Forth at Leith. The nearest the river gets to the city centre is at Dean Village on the edge of the New Town, where a deep gorge is spanned by the Dean Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford and built in 1832 for the road to Queensferry.The Water of Leith Walkway is a mixed use trail that follows the river for 19.6 km (12.2 miles) from Balerno to Leith. The Water of Leith at Juniper Green. The cramped tenements of the Royal Mile were once home to most of Edinburgh's population. Culture Festivals Pipers emerging from Edinburgh Castle during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo Culturally, Edinburgh is best known for the Edinburgh Festival, although this is in fact a series of separate events, which run from the end of July until early September each year. The longest established festival is the Edinburgh International Festival, which first ran in 1947. The International Festival centres on a programme of high-profile theatre productions and classical music performances, featuring international directors, conductors, theatre companies and orchestras. The International Festival has since been taken over in both size and popularity by the Edinburgh Fringe. What began as a programme of marginal acts has become the largest arts festival in the world, with 1867 different shows being staged in 2006, in 261 venues. Comedy is now one of the mainstays of the Fringe, with numerous notable comedians getting their 'break' here, often through receipt of the Perrier Award. In 2008 the largest comedy venues on the Edinburgh Fringe launched as a festival within a festival, labelled the Edinburgh Comedy Festival. Already at its inception it was the largest comedy festival in the world.Alongside these major festivals, there is also the Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival (moved to June from 2008), the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The Edge Festival (formerly known as T on the Fringe), a popular music offshoot of the Fringe, began in 2000, replacing the smaller Flux and Planet Pop series of shows. Tigerfest is an independent music festival which ran concurrently with the Fringe in 2004 and 2005 before moving to a May slot in 2006. Running concurrently with the summer festivals, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo occupies the Castle Esplanade every night, with massed pipers and fireworks. The Edinburgh International Science Festival is held annually in April and is one of the most popular science festivals in the world. Celebrations A Viking longship being burnt during Edinburgh's annual Hogmanay celebrations. Equally famous is the annual Hogmanay celebration. Originally simply a street party held on Princes Street and the Royal Mile, the Hogmanay event has been officially organised since 1993. In 1996, over 300,000 people attended, leading to ticketing of the main street party in later years, with a limit of 100,000 tickets. Hogmanay now covers four days of processions, concerts and fireworks, with the actual street party commencing on New Year's Eve. During the street party Princes Street is accessible by ticket only, allowing access into Princes Street where there are live bands playing, food and drink stalls, and a clear view of the castle and fireworks. Alternative tickets are available for entrance into the Princes Street Gardens concert and Ceilidh, where well known artists perform and ticket holders are invited to participate in traditional Scottish Ceilidh dancing. The event attracts thousands of people from all over the world. On the night of 30 April, the Beltane Fire Festival takes place on Edinburgh's Calton Hill. The festival involves a procession followed by the re-enactment of scenes inspired by pagan spring fertility celebrations. Museum of Scotland Museums and libraries Edinburgh is home to a large number of museums and libraries, many of which are national institutions. These include the Museum of Scotland, the Royal Museum, the National Library of Scotland, National War Museum of Scotland, the Museum of Edinburgh, Museum of Childhood and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Literature and philosophy Edinburgh has a long literary tradition, going back to the Scottish Enlightenment. Edinburgh's Enlightenment produced philosopher David Hume and the pioneer of political economy, Adam Smith. Writers such as James Boswell, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Sir Walter Scott all lived and worked in Edinburgh. J K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter novels, is a resident of Edinburgh. Edinburgh has also become associated with the crime novels of Ian Rankin; and the work of Leith native Irvine Welsh, whose novels are mostly set in the city and are often written in colloquial Scots. Edinburgh is also home to Alexander McCall Smith and a number of his book series. Edinburgh has also been declared the first UNESCO City of Literature. Music, theatre and film The Edinburgh Festival Theatre Outside festival season, Edinburgh continues to support a number of theatres and production companies. The Royal Lyceum Theatre has its own company, while the King's Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, and Edinburgh Playhouse stage large touring shows. The Traverse Theatre presents a more contemporary programme of plays. Amateur theatre companies productions are staged at the Bedlam Theatre, Church Hill Theatre, and the King's Theatre amongst others. Youth Music Theatre: UK has a regional office in the city. The Usher Hall is Edinburgh's premier venue for classical music, as well as the occasional prestige popular music gig. Other halls staging music and theatre include The Hub, the Assembly Rooms and the Queen's Hall. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is based in Edinburgh. Edinburgh has two repertory cinemas, the Edinburgh Filmhouse, and the Cameo, and the independent Dominion Cinema, as well as the usual range of multiplexes. Edinburgh has a healthy popular music scene. Occasional large gigs are staged at Murrayfield and Meadowbank, whilst venues such as the Corn Exchange, HMV Picture House and the Liquid Room cater for smaller events. Edinburgh is also home to a flourishing group of contemporary composers such as Nigel Osborne, Peter Nelson, Lyell Cresswell, Haflidi Hallgrimsson, Edward Harper, Robert Crawford, Robert Dow, and John McLeod whose music is also heard regularly on BBC Radio 3 and throughout the UK. Edinburgh is also home to several of Scotland's galleries and organisations dedicated to contemporary visual art. Significant strands of this infrastructure include: The Scottish Arts Council, Inverleith House, Edinburgh College of Art, Talbot Rice Gallery (University of Edinburgh), The Travelling Gallery, Edinburgh Printmakers, WASPS, Artlink, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Doggerfisher, Stills, Collective Gallery, Out of the Blue, The Embassy, Magnifitat, Sleeper, Total Kunst, OneZero, Standby, Portfolio Magazine, MAP magazine, Edinburgh's One O'Clock Gun Periodical and Product magazine and the Edinburgh Annuale. Visual arts The National Gallery of Scotland Edinburgh is home to Scotland's five National Galleries as well as numerous smaller galleries. The national collection is housed in the National Gallery of Scotland, located on the Mound, and now linked to the Royal Scottish Academy, which holds regular major exhibitions of painting. The contemporary collections are shown in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the nearby Dean Gallery. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery focuses on portraits and photography. The council-owned City Arts Centre shows regular art exhibitions. Across the road, The Fruitmarket Gallery offers world class exhibitions of contemporary art, featuring work by British and international artists with both emerging and established international reputations. The St.Stephens Street area of Stockbridge (EH3 5AL)is quickly becoming well known for its numerous art galleries and design led shops. Some of these include the Crystal Chandelier Company, Scotlandart.com and The Laurel Gallery. Nightlife and Shopping Princes Street Edinburgh has a large number of pubs, clubs and restaurants. The traditional areas were the Grassmarket, Lothian Road and surrounding streets, Rose Street and its surrounds and the Bridges. In recent years George Street in the New Town has grown in prominence, with a large number of new, upmarket public houses and nightclubs opening, along with a number on the parallel Queen Street. Stockbridge and the waterfront at Leith are also increasingly fashionable areas, with a number of pubs, clubs and restaurants. Like many other cities in the UK, Edinburgh has numerous nightclubs that play popular and chart music. The largest of these venues are Lava & Ignite (formerly Cavendish) and City Nightclub, as well as Edinburgh University's student union, Potterow. Smaller commercial venues include Base, Faith, Stereo, and Subway Westend. In recent year night clubs on George Street such as Opal Lounge, Lulu's, Why Not and Shanghai have become popular. The main alternative, indie and rock nights are hosted at The Hive, Opium and Studio 24. The Liquid Room is currently undergoing a full re-fit after being damaged by the fire that destroyed an Indian Restaurant which was situated behind it in December 2008. It is expected to reopen within the year. The underground nightclub scene playing music such as Techno, House, Electronica, Drum & Bass and Dubstep however has suffered in recent years with the closure of Wilkie House, The Honeycomb, The Venue, La Belle Angele (destroyed in the Cowgate fire) and Luna (formerly eGo). Cabaret Voltaire, The Bongo Club, and The Caves now host the majority of underground events held in Edinburgh. Jenners Department Store There are two dedicated gay clubs in Edinburgh, CC Blooms and GHQ; several other club venues have LGBT nights. A fortnightly publication, The List, is dedicated to life in Edinburgh and around, and contains listings of all nightclubs, as well as music, theatrical and other events. The List also regularly produces specialist guides such as its Food and Drink guide and its guide to the Edinburgh Festivals. There are also many competing magazines that can be found for free such as Flash Edinburgh, Gig Guide and The Skinny. Edinburgh has a wide variety of shops, from upmarket department stores to a large number of souvenir shops. Princes Street is the main shopping area in the city centre, playing host to an extremely wide range of stores from souvenir shops, from chains such as Boots and H&M and institutions like Jenners. George Street, lying north of Princes Street, is home to a number of upmarket chains and independent stores. The St. James Centre, at the eastern end of George Street and Princes Street, hosts a substantial number of national chains including a large John Lewis. Multrees Walk, adjacent to the St. James Centre, is a recent addition to the city centre, hosting brands such as Louis Vuitton, Emporio Armani, Mulberry and Calvin Klein, with Harvey Nichols anchoring the development. Edinburgh also has substantial retail developments outside the city centre. These include The Gyle and Hermiston Gait in the west of the city, Straiton Retail Park and Fort Kinnaird in the south and east, and Ocean Terminal to the north, on the Leith waterfront. The Royal Yacht Britannia lies in dock here next to the centre. Edinburgh Zoo Edinburgh Zoo is a non-profit zoological park located in Corstorphine. The land lies on Corstorphine Hill and provides extensive views of the city. Built in 1913, and owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, it receives over 600,000 visitors a year, which makes it Scotland's second most popular paid-for tourist attraction, after Edinburgh Castle. As well as catering to tourists and locals, the Zoo is involved in many scientific pursuits, such as captive breeding of endangered animals, researching into animal behaviour, and active participation in various conservation programs around the world. The Zoo is the only zoo in Britain to house polar bears and koalas, as well as being the first zoo in the world to house and to breed penguins. Sport Football Easter Road Stadium Tynecastle Stadium Edinburgh has two professional football clubs - Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian. They are known locally as Hearts and Hibs and both teams currently play in the Scottish Premier League. Hibs play at Easter Road Stadium, which straddles the former boundary between Edinburgh and Leith, while Hearts play at Tynecastle Stadium in Gorgie. Edinburgh was also home to senior sides St Bernard's, Ferranti Thistle and Leith Athletic. Most recently, Meadowbank Thistle played at Meadowbank Stadium until 1995, when the club moved to Livingston, shedding their old name and becoming Livingston F.C.. The Scottish national team has sometimes played at Easter Road and Tynecastle. Non-league sides include Spartans and Edinburgh City, who play in the East of Scotland League along with Civil Service Strollers F.C., Lothian Thistle F.C., Edinburgh University A.F.C., Edinburgh Athletic F.C., Tynecastle F.C., Craigroyston F.C. and Heriot-Watt University F.C.. Edinburgh United F.C. plays in the Scottish Junior Football Association, East Region. Rugby Union & Rugby League The Scotland national rugby union team plays at Murrayfield Stadium, which is owned by the Scottish Rugby Union and is also used as a venue for other events, including music concerts. Edinburgh's professional rugby team, Edinburgh Rugby, play in the Celtic League at Murrayfield. It is the largest capacity stadium in Scotland. Raeburn Place is notable for holding the first rugby international game between Scotland and England. Edinburgh is also home to numerous smaller rugby teams including The Edinburgh Academicals (who play at Raeburn Place), The Murrayfield Wanderers and several teams from the universities in Edinburgh. Murrayfield Stadium, due to its size, the surrounding green space, and its reasonable proximity to the city centre, was chosen as the host of the 2009 Super League Magic Weekend ahead of the previous host, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Other sports The Scottish cricket team, who represent Scotland at cricket internationally and in the Friends Provident Trophy, play their home matches at The Grange. The Edinburgh Capitals are the latest of a succession of ice hockey clubs to represent the Scottish capital. Previously Edinburgh was represented by the Murrayfield Racers and the Edinburgh Racers. The club play their home games at the Murrayfield Ice Rink and are the sole Scottish representative in the Elite Ice Hockey League. The Heart of Midlothian The Edinburgh Diamond Devils is a baseball club claiming its first Scottish Championship in 1991 as the "Reivers." 1992 saw the team repeat as national champions, becoming the first team to do so in league history and saw the start of the club's first youth team, the Blue Jays. The name of the club was changed in 1999. Edinburgh has also hosted various national and international sports events including the World Student Games, the 1970 British Commonwealth Games, the 1986 Commonwealth Games and the inaugural 2000 Commonwealth Youth Games. For the Games in 1970 the city built major Olympic standard venues and facilities including the Royal Commonwealth Pool and the Meadowbank Stadium. In American football, the Scottish Claymores played WLAF/NFL Europe games at Murrayfield, including their World Bowl 96 victory. From 1995 to 1997 they played all their games there, from 1998 to 2000 they split their home matches between Murrayfield and Glasgow's Hampden Park, then moved to Glasgow full-time, with one final Murrayfield appearance in 2002. The city's most successful non-professional team are the Edinburgh Wolves who currently play at Meadowbank Stadium. The Edinburgh Marathon has been held in the city since 2003 with more than 13,000 taking part annually. Edinburgh also plays host to Scotland's 2nd largest Handball team. Formed in the southside in 2002, Gracemount Edinburgh Handball Club have a very quickly growing youth setup as well as a large senior mens team. The club is a member of the Scottish Handball Association and competes regularly in domestic competition, with the aim to compete in lower level European tournaments in the coming years. As Handball is still very much a growing sport in the UK, there are no professional teams as of yet. Edinburgh has a speedway team, the Edinburgh Monarchs, which currently is based at the Lothian Arena in Armadale, West Lothian. They have operated there since 1997. Speedway was introduced to Edinburgh at the Marine Gardens Stadium in Seafield Road and it operated 1928–31 and 1938–39. The Edinburgh team of 1930 operated in the Northern League. In 1939 Edinburgh hoped to enter the then Second Divison but The Thistles were refused entry. They did, however, take part in an unfinished League known as the ACU Cup. In 1948 speedway returned to the city at Old Meadowbank taking the name Monarchs. The Monarchs operated there 1948–54 as members of the National League Division Two. Training events were staged at Old Meadowbank occasionally from 1957–59. Two Students Charities events were staged one in 1959 and the other in 1960. Between 1960–64 the Monarchs were members of the Provincial League and from 1965 to 1967 members of the British League. In 1968 and 1969 The Monarchs were based at Coatbridge. Following a 10-year gap the Monarchs returned to Powderhall Stadium and raced there 1977–95. A training track operated at the Gyle in the late 1960s. Between 1949 and 1951 Edinburgh was the home track of Australian rider Jack Young who won the World Championship in 1951. The Honourable Society of Edinburgh Boaters, Scotland's only punting society, used to ply the waters of the Union Canal from a base at Hermiston House. The Society staged several regattas and engaged in the annual Scottish Boat Race against Cambridge University Dampers Club with mixed success. Edinburgh Park Edinburgh Financial District Bank of Scotland HQ Scottish Parliament Edinburgh City Chambers is the headquarters of the City of Edinburgh Council. Transport Edinburgh Airport One of Lothian Buses fleet on Princes Street. train entering the Edinburgh Waverley railway station Edinburgh Airport is the principal international gateway to the city, handling almost 9 million passengers in 2008. In anticipation of rising passenger numbers, the airport operator BAA outlined a draft masterplan in 2006 to provide for the expansion of the airfield and terminal building.The possibility of building a second runway to cope with an increased number of aircraft movements has also been mooted. As an important hub on the East Coast Main Line, Edinburgh Waverley is the primary railway station serving the city. With more than 14 million passengers per year, the station is the second busiest in Scotland behind Glasgow Central. Waverley serves as the terminus for trains arriving from London King's Cross and is the departure point for many rail services within Scotland operated by First ScotRail. To the west of the city centre lies Haymarket railway station which is an important commuter stop. Opened in 2003, Edinburgh Park station serves the adjacent business park located in the west of the city and the nearby Gogarburn headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Edinburgh Crossrail connects Edinburgh Park with Haymarket, Waverley and the suburban stations of Brunstane and Newcraighall in the east of the city. Lothian Buses operate the majority of city bus services within the City and to surrounding suburbs, with the majority or routes running via Princes Street. Services further afield operate from the Edinburgh Bus Station off St. Andrew Square. Lothian, as the successor company to the City's Corporation Trams, also operates all of the City's branded public tour bus services, the night bus network and airport buses. Lothian's Mac Tours subsidiary has one of the largest remaining fleets of ex-London Routemaster buses in the UK, many converted to open top tour buses. In 2007, the average daily ridership of Lothian Buses was over 312,000 - a 6% rise on the previous year. In order to tackle traffic congestion, Edinburgh is now served by six park and ride sites on the periphery of the city at Sheriffhall, Ingliston, Riccarton, Inverkeithing (in Fife) and Newcraighall. A new facility at Straiton opened in October 2008. A referendum of Edinburgh residents in February 2005 rejected a proposal to introduce congestion charging in the city. Edinburgh has been without a tram system since 16 November 1956.However, following parliamentary approval in 2007, construction began on a new Edinburgh tram network in early 2008, which has lead to major disruption to transport services. The first stage of the project was expected to be operational by July 2011 but is unlikely to be working before the beginning of 2012 The first phase will see trams running from the airport in the west of the city, through the centre of Edinburgh and down Leith Walk to Ocean Terminal and Newhaven. The next phase of the project will see trams run from Haymarket through Ravelston and Craigleith to Granton on the waterfront.Future proposals include; a line going west from the airport to Ratho and Newbridge and a line running along the length of the waterfront. Education University of Edinburgh The former Craiglockhart Hydropathic Building now forms part of the Napier University campus. There are four universities in Edinburgh with over 100,000 students studying in the city.Established by Royal Charter in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is one of Scotland's ancient universities and is the fourth oldest in the country after St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen.Originally centred around Old College the university expanded to premises on The Mound, the Royal Mile and George Square.Today, the King's Buildings in the south of the city contain most of the schools within the College of Science and Engineering. In 2002, the medical school moved to purpose built accommodation adjacent to the new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary at Little France. Edinburgh University has strengths in medicine, law, engineering, chemistry, physics, English, veterinary science and informatics. In the 1960s Heriot-Watt University and Napier Technical College were established.Heriot-Watt traces its origins to 1821, when a school for technical education of the working classes was opened.Based in Riccarton to the west of the city, Heriot-Watt specialises in the disciplines of engineering, business and mathematics.Napier College was renamed Napier Polytechnic in 1986 and gained university status in 1992.Edinburgh Napier University has campuses in the south and west of the city, including the former Craiglockhart Hydropathic and Merchiston Tower.It is home to the Screen Academy Scotland. Further education colleges in the city include Telford College, opened in 1968, and Stevenson College, opened in 1970. The Scottish Agricultural College also has a campus in south Edinburgh. Awarded university status in January 2007, Queen Margaret University was founded in 1875, as The Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy, by Christian Guthrie Wright and Louisa Stevenson. Other notable institutions include the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh which were established by Royal Charter, in 1506 and 1681 respectively. The Trustees Drawing Academy of Edinburgh was founded in 1760 - an institution that became the Edinburgh College of Art in 1907. There are 18 nursery, 94 primary and 23 secondary schools in Edinburgh administered by the city council.In addition, the city is home to a large number of independent, fee-paying schools including George Heriot's School, Fettes College, Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh Academy and Stewart's Melville College. Hospitals The Edinburgh Royal Infirmary is the main public hospital for the city. See also: List of hospitals in Edinburgh Hospitals in Edinburgh include the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, which includes Edinburgh University Medical School, and the Western General Hospital, which includes a large cancer treatment centre. There is one private hospital, Murrayfield Hospital, owned by Spire Healthcare. The Royal Infirmary is the main Accident & Emergency hospital not just for Edinburgh but also Midlothian and East Lothian, and is the headquarters of NHS Lothian, making it a centric focus for Edinburgh and its hinterland. The Royal Edinburgh Hospital specialises in mental health, it is situated in Morningside. The Royal Hospital for Sick Children is located in Sciennes Road; it is popularly known as the 'Sick Kids'. Religious communities The fan vaulted ceiling dominates the interior of St John's Church in central Edinburgh. Christianity The Church of Scotland claims the largest membership of any religious denomination in Edinburgh. Its most important and historical church is St Giles' Cathedral; others include Greyfriars Kirk, Barclay Church, Canongate Kirk and St Andrew's and St George's Church. In the south east of the city is the 12th century Duddingston Kirk. The Church of Scotland Offices are located in Edinburgh, as is the Assembly Hall and New College on The Mound. The Roman Catholic Church also has a sizeable presence in the city. Its notable structures include St Mary's Cathedral at the top of Leith Walk, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St Patrick's, St. Columba's, St. Peter's and Star of the Sea. The Roman Catholic community in Edinburgh is part of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, which is led by Keith Cardinal O'Brien, considered to be the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland. The Free Church of Scotland (Reformed and Presbyterian) has congregations on the Royal Mile and Crosscauseway; its offices and training college are located on the Mound. The Scottish Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion. Its centre is the resplendent St Mary's Cathedral, Palmerston Place in the west end. St. Giles' Cathedral In addition, there are a number of independent churches situated throughout the city; these churches tend to have a high percentage of student congregants and include Destiny Church, Charlotte Chapel, Carrubbers Christian Centre, Morningside Baptist Church and Bellevue Chapel. Other faiths Edinburgh Central Mosque - Edinburgh's main mosque and Islamic Centre is located on Potterow on the city's southside, near Bristo Square. It was opened in the late 1990s and the construction was largely financed by a gift from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. The first recorded presence of a Jewish community in Edinburgh dates back to the late 17th century. Edinburgh's Orthodox synagogue is located in Salisbury Road, which was opened in 1932 and can accommodate a congregation of 2000. A Liberal congregation also meets in the city. There is also a Sikh Gurdwara and Hindu Mandir in the city which are both located in the Leith district. Notable residents Scotland has a rich history in science and engineering, with Edinburgh contributing its fair share of famous names. James Clerk Maxwell, the founder of the modern theory of electromagnetism, was born here and educated at the Edinburgh Academy and University of Edinburgh, as was the engineer and telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell. Other names connected to the city include Max Born, physicist and Nobel laureate; Charles Darwin, the biologist who discovered natural selection; David Hume, a philosopher, economist and historian; James Hutton, regarded as the "Father of Geology"; John Napier inventor of logarithms; chemist and one of the founders of thermodynamics Joseph Black; pioneering medical researchers Joseph Lister and James Young Simpson; chemist and discoverer of the element nitrogen, Daniel Rutherford; mathematician and developer of the maclaurin series, Colin Maclaurin and Ian Wilmut, the geneticist involved in the cloning of Dolly the sheep just outside Edinburgh. The stuffed carcass of Dolly the sheep is now on display in the National Museum of Scotland. The lighthouse engineering family, the Stevenson family was based in Edinburgh. Famous authors of the city include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Ian Rankin, author of the Inspector Rebus series of crime thrillers, J. K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, who wrote her first book in an Edinburgh coffee shop (Nicolson's Cafe, the Elephant House and Black Medicine), Adam Smith, economist, born in Kirkcaldy, and author of The Wealth of Nations, Walter Scott, the author of famous titles such as Rob Roy and Ivanhoe, Robert Louis Stevenson, creator of Treasure Island and the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Edinburgh has been home to the actor Sir Sean Connery, famed as the first cinematic James Bond;Ronnie Corbett, a comedian and actor, best known as one of The Two Ronnies; and Dylan Moran, the Irish comedian. Famous city artists include the portrait painters Sir Henry Raeburn, Sir David Wilkie and Allan Ramsay. Historians such as Douglas Johnson and Arthur Marwick had roots here. The city has produced or been home to musicians that have been extremely successful in modern times, particularly Ian Anderson, frontman of the band Jethro Tull; Wattie Buchan, lead singer and founding member of punk band The Exploited; Shirley Manson, lead singer for the band Garbage; The Proclaimers, a musical ensemble of two brothers; the Bay City Rollers; Boards of Canada and Idlewild. Edinburgh is the hometown of the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, who was born in the city and attended Fettes College; Robin Harper the co-convener of the Scottish Green Party; and John Witherspoon, the only clergyman to sign the United States Declaration of Independence, and later president of Princeton University. On the more sinister side, famous criminals from Edinburgh's history include Deacon Brodie, pillar of society by day and burglar by night, who is said to have influenced Robert Louis Stevenson's story, the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; the murderers Burke and Hare, who provided fresh corpses for anatomical dissection by the famous surgeon Robert Knox; and Major Weir a notorious warlock.