Scotland is a small country that is part of the United Kingdom (made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales). It is located at the top of the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the south and has the North Sea to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to north and west. There are also an additional 790 islands that make up the country of Scotland. Scotland is home to approximately 5,254,800 people with 495,360 residing it is capital city of Edinburgh and 598,830 living in the largest city Glasgow. It occupies and area of 78,387 km2 (30,414 sq mi) which is approximately one third of the island of Great Britain.
Interesting facts about Scotland
- Edinburgh is not only the capital of the country, but also one of Europe’s largest financial centers.
- Scottish Waters (sections of the North Atlantic and the North Sea) contains the largest oil reserves in the European Union.
- The motto of Scotland is “In My Defens God Me Defend”
- Despite a political union between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, Scotland has its own separate legal system, education system and religious system. This had allowed for the preserving and evolution of the Scottish culture.
- The official language of Scotland is English, but the languages of Scottish Gaelic and Scots are also recognized.
- The highest point in Scotland is Ben Nevis at 1,344 meters (4,409 ft), which is located at Lochaber.
- The longest river in Scotland is the River Tay, it flows for a distance of 190 kilometers (118 mi).
- Scotland has a very changeable climate and it can be classified as temperate and oceanic. It records cooler temperatures than the rest of the United Kingdom with cold winters and wet summers. During the winter the average maximum temperatures is 6 °C (42.8 °F) in the lowlands which temperatures dropping much lower in mountainous regions. During summer average temperatures reach 18 °C (64.4 °F).
- The Golden eagle is a national icon and frequently nests in areas of Scotland.
- Scotland’s national flag, the Saltire or St. Andrew’s Cross, is the oldest national flag still is use and it dates back to the 9th century.
- The thistle is Scotland’s national floral emblem. Other important symbols include the tartan pattern and the Lions Rampart flag
- Scotland has no official national anthem, but during special sporting events and ceremonies “Flower of Scotland” is played.
- Scotland is well known for its use of the bagpipe in traditional folk music, but the fiddle, accordion and clàrsach (harp) are also traditional Scottish instruments. Scotland holds many Celtic festivals to celebrate and enjoy the culture and heritage of the country.
- Haggis is a traditional Scottish meal that is well known around the world. It is made from the organs of the sheep and is boiled in the stomach for an hour prior to serving.
- Scotland is largely Christian with 65% reporting to affiliated with the religion.
- Glasgow Tower which was completed in 2001 is the tallest tower in the world (127 m / 417 ft) that is able to rotate 360 degrees.
- The Falkirk Wheel, which is a rotating boat lift to connect the Forth and Clyde canal with the Union canal, is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world.
- The oldest building in Britain is located on the island of Orkney at Skara Brae. It is thought to date back to 3100 BCE.
- Scotland is also home to the world’s oldest transport company the “Shores Porters Society” established in 1498.
- Scotland has long been a country of educational feats; it was the first to allow female scholars in 1862, the first to have a student’s union in 1882, and the first to open an infant’s school in 1618 and was where the Encyclopedia Britannica was first published in 1768.
- Popular sports in Scotland include golf, rugby, football (soccer) and cricket.
- Scotland is recognized as the birthplace of modern day golf with The Open Championship, the oldest of the four major golf championships, played in Ayrshire at the Prestwick Golf Club in 1860. St Andrews is dubbed the “home of golf” and exercises legislative authority over the game worldwide.
- The first international rugby match was played at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh on 27 March 1871 between Scotland and England.