Princes Street Gardens

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Princes Street Gardens is a public park in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland, in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. The Gardens were created in two phases in the 1770s and 1820s following the long draining of the Nor Loch and building of the New Town, beginning in the 1760s.

Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens

The loch, situated on the north side of the town, was originally an artificial creation forming part of its medieval defences and made expansion northwards difficult. The water was habitually polluted from sewage draining downhill from the Old Town. In 1846 the railway was built in the valley to connect the Edinburgh-Glasgow line at Haymarket with the new northern terminus of the North British line from Berwick-upon-Tweed at Waverley Station.

Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens

The gardens run along the south side of Princes Street and are divided by The Mound. East Princes Street Gardens run from The Mound to Waverley Bridge, and cover 8.5 acres (34,000 m²). The larger West Princes Street Gardens cover 29 acres (120,000 m²) and extend to the adjacent churches of St. John's and St. Cuthbert's, near Lothian Road in the west.

Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens

The Gardens are the best known park in Edinburgh, having the highest awareness and visitor figures for both residents and visitors to the city. Various concerts and other events are held at the Ross Bandstand including the Festival Fireworks Concert and during the city's Hogmanay celebrations.

Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens

In the East Gardens most prominent is the Scott Monument, a Gothic spire built in 1844 to honour Sir Walter Scott. Within East Princes Street Gardens there are statues of the explorer David Livingstone, the publisher and Lord Provost Adam Black and the essayist Professor John Wilson, who wrote under the pseudonym Christopher North. There is also a small commemorative stone honouring the volunteers from the Lothians and Fife who fought in the Spanish Civil War.

Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens

Every year, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the East Gardens are transformed into 'Winter Wonderland'. This includes a variety of amusement park rides and the Christmas Market; which has food and gifts from all around the world. The most notable attractions are the ice rink and the 33 metre (108 feet) high Ferris wheel, often dubbed 'The Edinburgh Eye'.

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