Athens of the North
At least 22 cities claim to be the "Athens of the ______." Edinburgh's claim to
the title "Athens of the North" stems from the late-18th century when the city was
noted for its intellectual vibrancy and neo-classical architecture. Its topography
is also similar to that of Athens, with a castle on a hill, fertile flatlands below,
and a nearby seaport. The title became ironic a century later, when city leaders
decided to build a monument to the fallen heroes of the Napoleonic Wars atop Calton
Hill, overlooking Edinburgh.
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