Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and a cosmopolitan, cultured city with a stunning setting of old stone houses, fairytale-like castle, and old buildings perched on a rocky crag right in the middle of the city. The center of the city has two parts, the old town and the new town. The cobblestone Royal Mile is the central street in the old town and it runs to the Castle, a formidable structure perched on volcanic rock. Inside you can find St. Margaret’s Chapel, which houses the ancient crown jewels of Scotland and the coronation stone of the kings of Scotland. There is also a large military museum here where every day a cannon shot is fired at precisely 1 in the afternoon. Further down is the Museum of Scotland, which is home to many of the nation’s historical treasures, ranging from Celtic artifacts to 20th century icons. The High Kirk of St. Giles is an Edinburgh landmark with its beautiful crown-shaped spire. Inside, the Thistle Chapel showcases an amazing display of Gothic wood carvings. Next door the Parliament House is where the Scottish parliament met until the 1707 unification with the United Kingdom. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the Royal Family’s official Scottish residence which dates from the 17th century. The Queen’s Gallery displays works of art from the queen’s private collection. The new town contains the main shopping area of Edinburgh as well as the notable National Gallery of Scotland, which is believed to house one of the best small collections of pre-20th century art in Europe, including works by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Degas, and Van Gogh. Also in this area is the Scott Monument, a tribute to Sir Walter Scott, where you can climb a tightly wound staircase for great views of the city from on high. George Street is quickly become the domain of luxury design houses, and Charlotte Square is already the most elegant square in the new town.