The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh were inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995. The contrast between the medieval Old Town and the Georgian-planned New Town gives the city its unique character.
The medieval Old Town has retained much of its pattern of narrow passageways which are called closes or wynds. These passageways lead off from the Old Town’s main artery, the Royal Mile, which has Edinburgh Castle at one end and Holyrood Palace at the other.
The New Town was first designed in 1767. Considered a masterpiece of town planning, it was an answer to the problem of overcrowding in the Old Town. New Town buildings are typically neo-classical in style.
The World Heritage Site contains nearly 4,500 buildings and has the highest concentration of listed buildings in Scotland. The site also contains a number of scheduled monuments, notably Edinburgh Castle.