Scots have a proud history and a fierce nationalistic streak, and as both the traditional epicenter of Scottish culture and modern national capital, Edinburgh reflects both the proud past and vibrant present of the people.

Finding its roots both in Scotland’s ancient and more recent history, the annual Hogmanay celebration, which harkens back to pagan commemoration of the winter solstice, has in the past few decades evolved from a relatively tame street party held on the day before New Years into a four-day extravaganza consuming the entire city. As many as 300,000 Scots and tourists now turn out for days of parades, fireworks, concerts, food and fun.

Less spectacular, but equally significant and open year-round, the National Museum of Scotland in the picturesque Old Town chronicles the history and culture of Scotland from the Ice Age to the present, with a particular emphasis on the nation’s rapid industrial and commercial growth.

Edinburgh is also home to the National Galleries of Scotland , five art museums in the city’s center. Each gallery has a slightly different focus: The National Gallery, for instance, has a broad collection of European paintings and sculptures from the Renaissance to Post-Impressionism, while the National Gallery of Modern Art, as one would expect, primarily shows more contemporary works.

Throughout the year, Edinburgh plays host to a series of festivals including the Edinburgh Film Festival in June, the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) & Fringe Festival in August, as well as various other music, art, book & science festivals.