The romantic beauty of Edinburgh today is not due to her varied site alone; it owes at least as much to the cliff-like masses of building with which her people have here masked, adding contrast to her strongly defined hills and valleys.
The influence of the site has been dominant, however, in causing separation of the structures due to successive waves of expansion into fairly well defined localities, in accordance with the changing needs of defence, comfort, or industry.
The people of Edinburgh have always made cultural contacts far afield. Their buildings, old and new, form a record of the architectural fashions of Europe through the centuries, no less interesting than that of their associations with famous men and women.
A short walk will reveal typical examples of the architecture of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance early and late, the beginnings of the industrial age, the romantic and Greek revivals, monuments of education and finance, down to interesting experiments in modern architecture and design.
All, apart from the last, owe much to the enduring sandstone with which Nature has plentifully endowed the locality.
The tints of this stone range from grey to cream or pale mauve, which, seen in the light of the pale northern sun, give to the city that characteristic appearance, pearl-like yet massive, unique to Edinburgh.
It is this subtle harmony which makes not only brickwork but even the imported red stone, used in some of the more modern buildings, seem out of place.
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