Recognised as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and the highest courts in Scotland. The city's Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. The city has long been a centre of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, literature, philosophy, the sciences and engineering. It is the second-largest financial centre in the United Kingdom, and the city's historical and cultural attractions have made it the UK's second-most visited tourist destination attracting 4.9 million visits, including 2.4 million from overseas in 2018.
Likely founded in the 12th century and dedicated to Saint Giles, the church was elevated to collegiate status by Pope Paul II in 1467. In 1559, the church became Protestant with John Knox, the foremost figure of the Scottish Reformation, as its minister. After the Reformation, St Giles' was internally partitioned to serve multiple congregations as well as secular purposes, such as a prison and as a meeting place for the Parliament of Scotland. In 1633, Charles I made St Giles' the cathedral of the newly created Diocese of Edinburgh. Charles' attempt to impose a Scottish Prayer Book in St Giles' on 23 July 1637 caused a riot, which precipitated the formation of the Covenanters and the beginnings of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The church's role in the Scottish Reformation and the Covenanters' Rebellion has led to its being called "the Mother Church of World Presbyterianism".
Construction began in June 2008, and after encountering delays it opened on 31 May 2014. The scheme had an initial estimated cost of £375 million in 2003, but by May 2008, when contracts were signed, the cost had risen to £521 million. The final cost after delays was £776 million. (Full article...)