Front door view of Edinburgh Castle

Why is Edinburgh the capital of Scotland?

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The capital of any country is its centre of power and administration. Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland because it is the regional administrative base for Scotland. And also home to the Scottish Parliament.

Scotland’s First Capital

Scone, near Perth, was Scotland’s first capital. It was the seat of the monarchy from the 9th century and the Parliament of Scotland was based there from its formation in 1235. However, the throne moved to Edinburgh Castle after assassins murdered King James I of Scotland in Perth in 1437. Edinburgh officially became the new capital of Scotland in 1452.

Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

The parliament remained in Edinburgh until 1707, when the kingdoms and parliaments of Scotland and England merged, creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Edinburgh was still the recognised capital of Scotland, but the new UK parliament sat at Westminster in London, England. In 1997, the Scottish people voted for devolution, meaning that Scotland regained some political powers, while remaining part of the UK. Scotland set up a new parliament in 1999, and moved into a purpose built parliament building by Holyrood Park in 2004.

Today’s Capital of Scotland

Today Edinburgh is the second largest city in Scotland. It remains home to the devolved Scottish Parliament and the seat of the monarchy in Scotland. Outside of London, it is the largest financial centre and the most popular tourist destination in the UK. It is famous for its arts festivals, national museums and galleries, plus many historic buildings and landmarks. The Old Town and New Town areas of the city are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Edinburgh takes its place among the most beautiful and historic capital cities in the world.