Edinburgh Creative City

Scotland’s vibrant capital city has a long history of strong international and European connections, having played a key role in the intellectual, scientific and cultural development of Europe. Uniquely inspirational, it is renowned for its associations, past and present, with innovation, creativity, discovery and progress.

For centuries, Edinburgh has inspired great minds, innovators and artists alike. It was at the centre of the Scottish Enlightenment, the spectacular outpouring of intellectual and scientific achievement during the 18th century. It is the birthplace of modern medicine and inventions such as the telephone and the technology behind the iPod.

The world’s first UNESCO City of Literature and home to the largest arts festival in the world, Edinburgh continues to build on a creative legacy as deep as it is diverse.

Edinburgh’s cultural ecosystem is thriving, fuelled by an increasingly vital, energetic and connected creative community which combines talent and ambition to shape some of the world’s most innovative ideas. The European Commission’s Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor has ranked Edinburgh the top “cultural and creative city” of its size in Europe.

At the heart of a successful metropolitan city region of 1.6 million it is a world influencer in science and technology, financial services, education and the arts. It is a location of choice for research and development and other knowledge-intensive activities and a major hub for the creative industries.

Steeped in history, Edinburgh blends the old with the new. Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns are UNESCO world heritage sites, encompassing the largest concentration of listed buildings in the UK.

It is the world’s festival capital and the most popular tourist destination after London. Ever since Edinburgh took the visionary step of creating the International Festival in 1947, the city has been bringing people together to imagine better futures. Over 5 million visitors are attracted to Edinburgh’s festivals throughout the year. The Festivals play a key role in the life of our city, encouraging and widening access to the arts and providing an inspirational platform to showcase a wealth of creative talent from around the world. The Festivals now generate over £313m for the Scottish economy and create the equivalent of 6,021 full-time jobs each year.

Edinburgh was the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature and its Old and New Towns have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Edinburgh is an active member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s annual statistical overview of Edinburgh.