April 18th marks annual World Heritage Day across the globe. This special day serves to raise public awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage around the world, and the efforts that go into preserving this heritage.
Each year has a different theme, and the theme of World Heritage Day 2016 is “The Heritage of Sport,” to signify the upcoming Olympics in Brazil. You can find out more about World Heritage Day on the International Council of Monuments and Sites website.
‘The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation‘ recognizes World Heritage Sites as international locations of significant cultural or natural heritage which should be celebrated and preserved for generations to come. Scotland currently has six World Heritage Sites on the World Heritage List. Although World Heritage Day exists to celebrate all cultural sites and monuments, World Heritage Sites are especially honored.
Scotland’s six World Heritage Sites are as follows:
1. Forth Bridge
The Forth Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge that runs over the Firth of Forth. An iconic symbol of Scotland, the bridge was designed by English engineers Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker. The bridge was opened on March 4th, 1890 by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII.
The Heart of Neolithic Orkney is a group of surviving Neolithic monuments in Orkney, Scotland. The domestic and ritual monuments are not only amazing pieces of Neolithic design, but they also give us insights into the society and spiritual beliefs of the people who once inhabited Scotland.
3. New Lanark
New Lanark is a restored 18th century cotton mill village found in the narrow gorge of the River Clyde. The village became famous for its success under the leadership of Welsh social reformer Robert Owen, who turned New Lanark into a thriving business village run through utopian socialism.
The Antonine Wall once marked the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire. Running across central Scotland, it was built by Roman soldiers under the direction of Emperor Antoninus Pius around AD 142. The builders commemorated the construction and their struggles with the Caledonians in decorative slabs along the site. Twenty of these slabs still survive.
Together, the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh form what is arguably the one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The medieval structure of the Old Town gives Edinburgh its fairytale essence, the 18th century New Town is a beautifully preserved example of Georgian town planning and architecture.
6. St Kilda
St Kilda is an is an isolated archipelago about 100 miles off of the west coast of Scotland. The group of remote islands is famous for hosting the largest colony of seabirds in all of Europe, as well as unique populations of sheep, field-mice and wrens. The human heritage of the islands includes various unique architectural features from the historic and prehistoric periods, as well as written records dating back to the Middle Ages.
Scotland’s six treasured historic sites were celebrated today with a day of free, fun activities at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. The day brought the six World Heritage Sites to life with fun activities and informational presentations for the whole family.
Each of the six Scottish World Heritage Sites had its own stall to teach visitors more about the unique sites. Visitors were able to handle replica Neolithic and Roman artefacts, dress up as 19th century mill workers from New Lanark, and build their own Roman swords and St. Kilda Mailboats.
Find out more about celebrating World Heritage Day in Scotland here.
VisitScotland, a partner of the American-Scottish Foundation, has launched a new tourism campaign aimed at promoting the “spirit of Scotland.”
The campaign will celebrate the seven traits it believes can be found within the characters of the people and landscapes of the country: warmth, humour, guts, spark, soul, determination and fun.
The official hashtag of the movement, #ScotSpirit, is being used to unite and encourage people across the world in sharing what Scotland means to them.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the campaign, along with stunt bike athlete and viral sensation Danny MacAskill, Social Bite entrepreneur, Josh Littlejohn and Olympic athlete, Laura Muir.
This is one of a series of initiatives changing the way in which VisitScotland markets Scotland around the world, the key markets being across the UK, France, Germany and New York City.
A new TV advert has been created, featuring time-lapse imagery directed by Edinburgh-based filmmaker Ben Craig, and a soundtrack composed by Giles Lamb and performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In Scotland, the advert will feature a voiceover by Scottish actor and Game of Thrones star Iain Glen. In the USA, it will be narrated by Perthshire-born star of the US hit The Good Wife, Alan Cumming.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said:
“The new advertising visuals are breathtaking and I’m sure they will inspire many to make the journey to Scotland, but this is about so much more than stunning imagery. It’s about harnessing a nation behind tourism.
“We want everyone who cares for Scotland to get behind this campaign by using #ScotSpirit and in doing so become ambassadors for the country and create this very special movement.”
He added: “Scotland is a unique place inhabited by a unique people – a combination that creates an inimitable spirit.
“The emotional pull of this spirit can’t be duplicated by other destinations. You have to come to Scotland to experience it.”
Have you #ScotSpirit? Get involved by using the official #ScotSpirit hashtag and sharing what Scotland means to you.
All images via visitscotland.com.
Award winning and celebrated Scottish sculptor Andy Scott has announced that he will hold his first major gallery show in New York this coming June at the Glasgow Caledonian University Campus.
Scott received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters this past November from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) “in recognition of his renowned talent and creativity as a sculptor and his specialisms in the field of steel structures.”
Scott, who studied at Glasgow School of Art, creates his monumental metal sculptures in his Glasgow workshop. He is most famous for his landmark Kelpies monument at Helix Park in Falkirk. He spent eight years working on the Kelpies, which are a pair of steel horse heads 30 meters high. They are the largest works of art in Scotland and the largest equine sculptures in the world. In their first year alone, the Kelpies attracted 1.4 million visitors.
In 2014, the ASF worked with Scott to bring the Kelpies to New York. The 20ft Kelpie macquettes were on display during Scotland Week 2014 on the Fountain Terrace of Bryant Park. The Kelpies attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the Plaza bringing a focus to the 100ft Kelpies which were being installed at the Helix Falkirk at that time.
As Andy Scott says of the Kelpies, “They stand testament to the achievements of the past, a tribute to artisanship and engineering and a proud declaration of intent for the future of Scotland.”
The Kelpies will feature in the upcoming New York gallery, depicted with the full bodies that one might imagine to be hiding ‘beneath the ground’ at their Falkirk site. The gallery, which will last two months from June, will also feature a show of small sculptures, photographs and other images. Scott is currently working on a series of small clay maquettes, which will be cast in bronze for the show. “The process for me now is different,” he explains, “I am working on intricate clay models when I am usually hitting something with a five pound hammer.”
Although Scott admits that the vast amount of work threatens to “do his head in,” he is thankful for the chance to share his work with an American audience. “When an opportunity like this comes along you would be foolish not to seize it with both hands,” he said.
The American-Scottish Foundation looks forward to attending Andy Scott’s gallery show this June and will share further updates on the upcoming GCU Exhibit as they are announced.
ASF is a proud partner of the Archie Foundation, a charity supporting sick children in the North of Scotland. Help show your support today and with a minimum donation of $50, give a ZAINI hat to an ARCHIE child — and receive one for yourself, too!
Based in the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, The ARCHIE Foundation supports the healthcare of over 100,000 sick children every year. With Children’s healthcare being delivered in the Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Children’s Wards in Inverness and Elgin and numerous community hospitals throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, the ARCHIE Foundation ‘Makes the Difference’ for these children by providing state of the art equipment, highly specialist staff posts, cutting edge research and, of course, lots and lots of toys!
Zaini hats, the brand, was launched by Scottish ski instructor Miranda Harper in 2010 as a result of an impossibility to find a comfy, colourful and stylish enough beanie hat. Based in a small village in the highlands of Scotland, people wear beanies all year round and once friends and family saw her hats they all wanted one. So she got back to her crochet hook and put together more colorful designs. Zaini hats use 100% super soft acrylic yarn, which ensures a non-itch, cashmere feel and is durable in all weather.
Pay via our secure facility at Paypal, or make a separate donation to the ARCHIE foundation on our site. Minimum requested donation is $50, but please feel free to be more generous!
2015 is the Year of Food and Drink in Scotland, and from the look of this recently released VisitScotland video, it’s sure to be a mouthwatering twelve months.
A Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland and Scotland’s Food and Drink, the Year of Food and Drink will spotlight some of Scotland’s finest cuisine and beverages, as well as the gorgeous locations where they are found.
“The Year of Food and Drink is a fantastic opportunity to show off at home and abroad the delicious local produce we have right on our doorstep and to build on the already phenomenal success of our food and drink sector,” commented Food Secretary Richard Lochhead. VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: “The Year of Food and Drink will see visitors far and wide come and sample our enticing natural larder and Scots enjoying the delicious cuisine that is right on their doorstep.
Take a look at the video and preview some of the incredible places and tastes the Year of Food and Drink Scotland will be featuring:
To learn more about the events and featured dishes of the initiative, visit the Year of Food and Drink 2015 homepage.