Special effects to mark 250 years of Edinburgh’s New Town

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Special effects are to light up the official residence of Nicola Sturgeon and the former home of Sir Walter Scott as part of a spectacular celebration marking 250 years of Edinburgh’s New Town.

The Assembly Rooms, the Melville Monument, RBS’s historic head office and the vast record depository at General Register House will all be brought to life after dark.

State-of-the-art projections, silhouettes and installations will also transform Bute House, the First Minister’s Charlotte Square base, and the three-storey townhouse on Castle Street where the author lived for most of his married life.

An office block on St Andrew Square, the St Andrew’s and St George’s Church, and the Georgian House attraction on Charlotte Square will be among the other landmarks showcased in a night-time trail. They will be lit up for three hours each evening during the month-long event, Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows, from 25 February .

Among the highlights of the £90,000 event - being staged as part of a year-long celebration of history and heritage instigated by the Scottish Government - will be a digital fly-through offering visitors the chance to see how the New Town looked more than two centuries ago and depictions of key figures like James Craig, the young architect who designed the plan for the New Town.

EventScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Edinburgh City Council and business group Essential Edinburgh are backing what will be the first in a series of special events to mark the 250th anniversary of the New Town, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, along with the city’s Old Town.

Roddy Smith, chief executive of business group Essential Edinburgh, said: “This initiative promises to be both innovative and a wonderful chance to go back in time. Local people and visitors alike will get a chance to sample the unique atmosphere of Edinburgh’s world-renowned New Town in a truly novel way.”

Robin Worsnop, chair of Edinburgh Tourism Action Group said “This new event aims to animate the city in its quietest months, creating yet more reasons to visit our wonderful city. We want to enrich our visitors’ experience by showcasing the history of our New Town in a unique and different way.”

Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows will be followed in April by a “battle of the bands” contest which will see medieval and classical outfits take to the streets of the Old and New Towns.

Manuela Calchini, regional director at VisitScotland, said: “2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a range of exciting experiences and events.

“Scotland’s history & heritage is defined by its people, both past and present, so it is fitting that Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows will commemorate the 250th anniversary of James Craig’s plan for the New Town, and indeed many of the wonderfully elegant buildings that still continue to hold a place in the heart of both locals and visitors to Edinburgh.”

Richard Lewis, culture leader at the city council, said: “Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows will provide a bespoke light-show in keeping with the original architectural features designed by James Craig 250 years ago.

“The installation is sure to be an impressive and appropriate celebration of the New Town, which will complement Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology, our 230th anniversary of the Assembly Rooms, and the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh as the world’s festival capital.”