Edinburgh: a Historic Scottish Capital with Irene Mariani - Context Travel

Edinburgh: a Historic Scottish Capital with Irene Mariani

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Edinburgh, with its historical sites, puzzling architecture and folkloristic tales, is one of the most fascinating cities of Europe. Divided into two parts, the Old Town and the New Town, it presents us with intriguing questions: why is the New Town older than the Old Town? What was the End of the World gate? Why is Edinburgh believed to be haunted? There are indeed many secrets to unveil. This conversation will introduce Edinburgh, Scotland’s historical capital. Through photographs, videos, maps and paintings, we will trace Edinburgh's development and see how the city transformed across the centuries, from a medieval spot to a modern and sophisticated city.

After a brief overview of what the city looks like today, we will take a step back in time and dive into the history of the Old Town, which will form the core part of our interactive seminar. Once the buzzling heart of the medieval city, the Old Town will serve as a backdrop to explore Edinburgh's rich history and architecture. We will discuss some of the most important historical events and introduce to the major royal and religious players of the Medieval and Renaissance times. We will look at sites associated with ghost and witch stories, now entangled with Edinburgh identity. Towards the end of the conversation, we will examine the formation of the New Town and discuss how its neoclassical architecture, visible in its succession of streets, crescents, and terraces, heavily re-shaped Edinburgh, and contributed to the city being labeled the ‘Athens of the North’. Our journey through Edinburgh history will stop around 1850.

Led by an expert on Renaissance art and history, Irene Mariani, this interactive seminar will introduce to the history of Edinburgh. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the history, architecture and tales that contributed to make Edinburgh one of the most fascinating and intriguing cities of Europe.

Irene specialised in Italian Renaissance Art and her doctoral thesis looked at the artistic patronage of the Vespucci family in fifteenth-century Florence. She was an intern at the Queen’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and collaborated with the Education Department of the National Galleries of Scotland. Irene currently teaches History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh stole her heart and it is now her second home.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.