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Edinburgh Central

Point D - Old College Quad

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Location: South Bridge

William Playfair designed the Edinburgh University Quadrangle (Quad) along Greek classical lines. Edinburgh Council opened the University in 1583. Whereas the three other Scottish universities were run under religious principles, Edinburgh was based on democratic principles, Edinburgh was at the heart of the European Enlightenment. 

Edinburgh followed Paris and Leiden universities’ liberal curricular models. First year students were called ‘bajans’ or ‘bec-jaune’ the term used in Paris. The Faculty of Medicine was founded in 1726 with 4 out of the 6 professors trained in Leiden. Alumni like the philosopher David Hume and the economist Adam Smith influenced European thinking and the Enlightenment.

In 1869, seven female students matriculated at Edinburgh, the first at any UK university.

Edinburgh university had over 4,800 students from the EU in the Erasmus+ programme before leaving the European Union in 2021. Edinburgh has agreements with 250 universities across Europe. The Scottish government is developing a scheme to re-join Erasmus+ which benefits not only university students but young workers and apprentices and their teachers and trainers as well.

Find out more at this link (pdf download).

Exit from the Old Quad and turn left along the South Bridge. Walk for 300 metres to the crossroads with the High Street. Turn right down the High Street and walk 200 metres down the hill. John Knox’s House is on the left and is well signposted.

Picture Credits: CC-BY-SA.2.0 Kay Williams