Edinburgh - Renaissance City
- The Festival City
The Largest Arts Festival in the World
This year (2001) the 55th Edinburgh International Festival of music, dance and drama (from 12 August to 1 September) will present 161 performances of 121 productions. Key companies and performers include The Vienna Burgtheater, the New York City Ballet, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Andras Schiff. The festival opens with a concert performance of Berlioz Les Troyans and ends with Wagner`s Die Walkure by Scottish Opera. On the closing night thousands of spectators will congregate on Princes Street for a spectacular Fireworks display from the Castle Rock, accompanied by an open air concert in the gardens below.
If that is not enough to whet the appetite, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe offers more than 2,000 productions of drama, comedy, and music together with the acclaimed International Film and Book festivals - the latter taking place in a tented village on Charlotte Square. Then there is the Science Festival and the biggest Hogmanay (New Year) Party in Britain. And there are also the pipes and drums and presentations by army units from around the world at the famous Military Tattoo on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. The climax to this exciting show is a lone piper on the ramparts of the castle, picked out in a searchlight.
Whatever time of year you may visit, the National Gallery of Scotland, on the Mound is a treasure house of paintings from Renaissance masterpieces to French Impressionism. Nearby the Portrait Gallery, with an excellent photographic archive, is in a redbrick building, modelled on the Doge`s Palace in Venice. Free Gallery buses can then take you over to the Gallery of Modern Art for its superb collection of contemporary art and sculpture - and garden café. Over the road, The Dean Gallery, specialisies in Paolozzi, Dada and Surrealist works.
The weather is not quite as bad as Robert Louis Stevenson would have us believe. "Raw and boisterous in the winter, shifty and ungenial in the summer". The preponderance of busy pavement cafes Mediterranean style throughout the city shows otherwise!. There are several parks and gardens for strolls on a warm day or the cool of the evening at dusk, as well as Arthur`s Seat, near the Palace, with wild moorland, steep crags and small lochs , yet still in the heart of the city.
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