A HOST of one-off events will be staged in Edinburgh as part of the country’s first year-long celebration of Scotland’s history and heritage.
The 250th anniversary of the beginnings of the New Town will be honoured in 2017 as part of the £1 million campaign.
A string of Georgian buildings in the New Town and the garden at the heart of St Andrew Square will be transformed by special lighting effects. The life and legacy of James Craig, the architect who won the contest to design the New Town, will also be celebrated during the Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows event in February and March.
Groups of classical musicians and “wandering minstrels” will take to the streets in April as part of a nationwide celebration of the country’s six world heritage sites.
Pop-up performances are also being lined up for North and South Queensferry, which are linked by the Forth Bridge, which was awarded the protected status by UNESCO last year.
A mix of new and established events will be promoted by VisitScotland under the banner of the campaign, which will also coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe.
It emerged at the weekend that a special laser and light show would be staged above Edinburgh Castle to herald the start of the 70th birthday celebrations as 75,000 revellers throng the city centre.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay organisers Unique Events will be creating a festival to mark the 450th anniversary of the abdication of Mary Queen of Scots at Lochleven Castle, in Kinross, where she was held captive for 20 years.
The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is the ninth annual themed campaign instigated by the Scottish Government, which is funding the programme along with the Heritage Lottery Fund.
One-off events will be staged on Scotland’s most northerly inhabited island, Unst in Shetland, the birthplace of the Paisley Pattern, and at the home of the Kelpies horse head sculptures in Falkirk.
Highlights are set to include a bid to deploy “yarn-bombers and guerilla knitters” to transform New Lanark’s world heritage site with multi-coloured cotton, a new weaving festival in Paisley, and a special event allowing Minecraft players to explore and excavate its remote archipelago St Kilda.
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop, who unveiled the first programme details at the Mary King’s Close attraction in Edinburgh’s Old Town, said:“We are so fortunate in Scotland to have the most fascinating and inspiring history and heritage on our doorsteps, bringing the spirit of Scotland alive.