Edinburgh (Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Èideann) is the capital city of Scotland, situated on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. With a population of 541,949 in 2012, it is the largest settlement in Lothian and lies at the centre of a metropolitan area with a population of 1,473,318.
From its prehistoric beginning as a hillfort, following periods of Celtic and Germanic influence, Edinburgh became part of the Kingdom of Scotland during the 10th century. With burgh charters granted by David I and Robert the Bruce, Edinburgh grew through the Middle Ages as Scotland’s largest town. By the time of the European Renaissance and the reign of James IV it was well established as Scotland's capital. The 16th century Scottish Reformation and 18th century Scottish Enlightenment were formative periods in the history of the city, which played a central role in both. While political power shifted to London following the Treaty of Union in 1707, devolution in 1997 has resulted in the return of a semi-autonomous Parliament to the capital.
Edinburgh has a high proportion of independent schools, one college and four universities. The University of Edinburgh (which now includes Edinburgh College of Art) is the biggest university in Scotland and ranked 17th in the world. These institutions help provide a highly educated population and drive a dynamic economy: Edinburgh generates a high GVA per capita (the highest of any UK city in 2012), was the UK's most competitive city in 2010 and was named European Best Large City of the Future for Foreign Direct Investment by fDi Magazine in 2012/13.
Each August the city hosts the biggest annual international arts festival in the world. This includes the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Other festivals are held throughout the year, such as the Science Festival, Film Festival and Jazz and Blues Festival. Other annual events include the Hogmanay street party and Beltane. Edinburgh is the world's first City of Literature and the city's Old Town and New Town are listed as a World Heritage Site.
Edinburgh regularly polls as one of the best places to live, having won more than 12 UK Best City Awards in 8 years to 2013 and, attracting over one million overseas visitors a year, is the second most popular tourist destination in the UK and was voted European Destination of the Year at the World Travel Awards 2012.