The New Town is a central area of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. It is often considered to be a masterpiece ofcity planning, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in stages between 1765 and around 1850, and retains much of the original neo-classical and Georgianperiod architecture.Its most famous street is Princes Street, facing Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town across the geographical depression of the former Nor Loch. The Old and New Towns were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
The principal street was named George Street, after the king at the time, George III. Queen Street was to be located to the north, named after his wife, and St. Giles Street to the south, after the city’s patron saint. St. Andrew’s Square and St. George’s Square were the names chosen to represent the union of Scotland and England. The idea was continued with the smaller Thistle Street (for Scotland’s national emblem) between George Street and Queen Street, and Rose Street (for England’s emblem) between George Street and Princes Street.
King George rejected the name St. Giles Street, St Gilesbeing the patron saint of lepers and also the name of a slum area or ‘rookery’ on the edge of the City of London.
It was therefore renamed Princes Street after his sons. The name of St. George’s Square was changed toCharlotte Square, after the Queen, to avoid confusion with the existing George Square on the South Side of the Old Town. The westernmost blocks of Thistle Street were renamed Hill Street and Young Street, making Thistle Street half the length of Rose Street. The three streets completing the grid, Castle, Frederick and Hanover Streets, were named for the view of the castle, King George’s father Frederick, and the name of the royal family respectively.