City

CITY/VENUE:

Edinburgh is a beauty with a beating heart…

Edinburgh is a city that begs to be discovered, filled with quirky, come-hither nooks that tempt you to explore just that little bit further.

Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, draped across a series of rocky hills overlooking the sea. It’s a town intimately entwined with its landscape, with buildings and monuments perched atop crags and overshadowed by cliffs. From the Old Town’s picturesque jumble of medieval tenements piled high along the Royal Mile, its turreted skyline strung between the black, bull-nosed Castle Rock and the russet palisade of Salisbury Crags, to the New Town’s neat grid of neoclassical respectability, the city offers a constantly changing perspective.

The Athens of the North, an 18th-century Edinburgh nickname dreamed up by the great thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, is a city of high culture and lofty ideals, of art and literature, philosophy and science.

Edinburgh is also known as Auld Reekie, a down-to-earth place that flicks an impudent finger at the pretensions of the literati. Auld Reekie is a city of loud, crowded pubs and decadent restaurants, late-night drinking and all-night parties, beer-fuelled poets and foul-mouthed comedians. It’s the city that tempted Robert Louis Stevenson from his law lectures to explore the drinking dens and lurid street life of the 19th-century Old Town. And it’s the city of Beltane, the resurrected pagan May Day festival, where half-naked revellers dance in the flickering firelight of bonfires beneath the stony indifference of Calton Hill’s pillared monuments.

Like a favourite book, Edinburgh is a city you’ll want to dip into again and again, savouring each time a different experience – the castle silhouetted against a blue spring sky with a yellow haze of daffodils misting the slopes below the esplanade; stumbling out of a late-night club into a summer dawn, with only the yawp of seagulls to break the unexpected silence; heading for a cafe on a chill December morning with the fog snagging the spires of the Old Town; and festival fireworks crackling in the night sky as you stand, transfixed, amid the crowds in Princes Street Gardens.

For more information: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/scotland/edinburgh

 

JEWISH EDINBURGH:

It is not known the exact date Jews arrived in Scotland, but it possible that Jews visited Scotland at the time of the Roman Empire’s conquest of southern Britain. The earliest concrete historical references to Jews in Scotland are from the late 17th century. The vast majority of Scottish Jews today are Ashkenazi who mainly settled in Edinburgh, then in Glasgow in the mid 19th century.

The first recorded Jew in Edinburgh was one David Brown who made a successful application to reside and trade in the city in 1691. Most Jewish immigration appears to have occurred post-industrialisation, and post-1707, meaning that Jews in Scotland were subject to various anti-Jewish laws applied to Britain as a whole. Oliver Cromwell readmitted Jews to the Commonwealth of England in 1656, and would have had influence over whether they could reside north of the border. Scotland was under the jurisdiction of the Jew Bill, enacted in 1753, but repealed the next year.

The first graduate from the University of Glasgow who was openly known to be Jewish was Levi Myers, in 1787. Unlike their English contemporaries, Scottish students were not required to take a religious oath. The first Jewish congregation in Edinburgh was founded in 1817.

Immigration continued into the 20th century, with over 9,000 Jews in 1901 and around 12,000 in 1911. Refugees from Nazism and the Second World War further augmented the Scottish Jewish community, which has been estimated to have reached over 20,000 in the mid-20th century.

According to the 2001 census, 6,448 Jews live in Scotland,[15] most of whom are in Edinburgh (about 934), Glasgow (4,249) and to a lesser extent Dundee.[16] Scotland’s Jewish population continues to be predominantly urban. In March 2008 a Jewish tartan was designed by Brian Wilton[17] for Chabad rabbi Mendel Jacobs of Glasgow and certified by the Scottish Tartans Authority.[18] The tartan’s colors are blue, white, silver, red and gold.