It would seem that Scotland is known mostly for its mythical monsters these days, but there is more to this beautiful country than lochs and Nessie.
Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland since 1437 is an ancient city full of history, and is nicknamed “Athens of the North” because it was one of the major city centers of the Enlightenment. The city is still well known for its Medieval and Georgian architecture.
There is still a cultural explosion in Edinburgh, which happens every August. Although it is frequently called the Edinburgh Festival, it actually is not just one festival, but nine festivals that take place from the late part of July to the early part of September.
The festival month in Edinburgh kicks off on July 26th, 2007 with the Edinburgh Arts Festival, which runs through September 2nd. The art festival is now in its fourth year and exhibits work from some of the best Scottish national and international artists. 29 individual galleries are taking part this year. Two of the major exhibits of this summer’s program are Picasso: Fired with Passion at the National Museums of Scotland and Picasso on Paper at the Dean Gallery. An Andy Warhol retrospective will be shown at the National Gallery of Scotland. Learn more at the festival’s official website www.edinburghartfestival.org/
Just a day after the opening of the art festival, on July 27th, the Starbucks Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival gets off to a swinging start and goes on until August 5th. This is the longest running jazz festival in the United Kingdom. Taking place in pubs, concert halls, clubs, and open-air theaters, the festival features all styles of jazz and boasts over 50,000 people in attendance. The have a website at www.edinburghjazzfestival.co.uk/
As the Jazz & Blues Festival is ending an outdoor military spectacular is beginning. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo runs from August 3rd through the 25th. The Massed Pipe and Drums, along with the Massed Military Bands and performers from all over the world are featured against the backdrop of ancient Edinburgh Castle in a whirl of music, dance, and display, winding down with the lament of the Lone Piper. The pipes, the drums, the effigies of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, and the tunes of long ago make this a spectacle that must not be missed. A website detailing the military tattoo is at www.edintattoo.co.uk/
Beginning on August 5th The Festival of Spirituality and Peace aspires to reawaken the hearts of people who “want to work together for a peaceful future.” The festival was launched six years ago after the September 11th terror attacks and includes music, workshops, and exhibitions. The festival ends on August 26th.
The 61st Annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe launches on August 5th, 2007. It breaks its own record every year as the “largest art festival on the planet,” according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Fringe 2007 will feature 31,000 performances, 2,050 shows in 250 venues, and 304 of those shows are completely free, compared to 177 shows, which were free in 2006. Did you know that if you attempted to see every performance back to back it would take you 5 years, 11 months, and 16 days? Learn more about Edinburgh Festival Fringe here www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk/fringe/
These are only a few of the many festivals that Edinburgh has to offer visitors in August. Part two of this article will take a look at the other festivals taking place in Edinburgh.