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The Old and New Town districts are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting some thirteen million visitors a year. As a centre of the 18th century Age of Enlightment Edinburgh was nicknamed "Athens of the North", also earning the soubriquet Auld Reekie for its belching chimneys and insanitary living conditions. Historic Edinburgh is divided by Princes Street Gardens, reclaimed in the early 19th century from boggy land that was once a finger of the loch. To one side Edinburgh Castle perches on its volcanic crag, with the Old Town trailing down the ridge. The medieval plan is preserved and many buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. The Royal Mile leads away from the castle. There are market squares and squares surrounding major structures such as St.Giles Cathedral, begun in the 12th century. The Law Courts, Mc Ewan Hall, Surgeons Hall and Royal Museum of Scotland are also noteworthy. The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the Monarch of the United Kingdom in Scotland. The palace stands at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle. Holyrood Palace is the setting for state ceremonies and official entertaining. Holyrood Abbey was founded by David I, King of Scots, in 1128, and Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 15th century. Queen Elizabeth II spends one week in residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer, where she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies.
|Edinborough, a Unesco city|
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