Scotland / Шотландия
Scotland is a beautiful country with dramatic mountains, lochs and many offshore islands. The Cheviot Hills is a natural boundary between England and Scotland. This part of the UK is divided into three regions: Lowlands, Highlands and Southern Upland.
Scotland is not densely populated. Most part of the Scottish population lives in Lowlands.
Scotland's biggest city, Glasgow, is situated on the bank of the river Clyde. Though this city is the biggest port and the most industrially developed, still it is not the capital.
Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since the 15th century. It is known as "the Athens of the North" and is one of the United Kingdom's nicest cities. There is the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh, the Queen's official residence in Scotland.
In the Highlands the Scots speak English with their own accent. Besides English they also speak Gaelic, the ancient Scottish language. Many Scottish surnames start with Mac or Mc (e. g. MacDonald, McCalister). "Mac" means "son of". MacDonald and Campbell were once two main clans.
Highland region is famous for the clan system, which was the basis of the Highland life in the early days. The word "clan" comes from the Gaelic and means "children" and clan's members were united by kinship from the common ancestor. Each clan had its own tartan. Though tartan was worn in other parts of Scotland, it was in the Highlands, where it became the symbol of clan kinship. Tartan was a kind of checked cloth and was worn by both men and women. But the kilt (a kind of skirt made of tartan) was worn only by men.
Even though the clan system has lost its power it had over the years, people still wear the tartan of their clan, either a tie or a kilt to proclaim their pride in their origin.
The Great Glen in the Scottish Highlands is a valley, which contains three famous lochs: Lochy, Oich and Ness. The most famous of these is Loch Ness.
It is deeper than the North Sea and is very long and very, very narrow and has never been known to freeze. Some people believe that a large monster lives in it. There are many stories about this water monster Nessie. Year after year thousands of tourists come to Loch Ness, put up their tents and watch the lake in the hope to see the monster. Since then, Nessie has been seen many times but has never harmed anyone. Interest in Nessie became great and over the years several scientific investigations have taken place.
Scotland is known for its so-called Highland Games. During these games different competitions are held. At the beginning of the games, people march to the game place and the pipers play the bagpipes.
There is an interesting custom in Scotland. It is the world's biggest New Year's Eve party, which takes place for several days. At the end of each year at midnight people together sing the old song of Robert Burns "Auld Lang Syne" what means "For old times' sake".
An old belief says that if the first person who enters the Scottish house after the beginning of a new year is a dark-haired man with a piece of coal, all the members of this family will have good luck.
St. Andrew is the Saint Patron of Scotland. St. Andrew's cross is a "saltire" [səl'taiə], or X-shaped cross. His cross, in white on a blue background, remains the pride symbol of Scotland today and forms a central component of the Flag of the United Kingdom. St. Andrew's Day is on November 30th.
Scotland is associated with the names of such writers and poetsas Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns.
Scotland is also traditionally regarded as the home of golf.
The thistle is the national emblem of Scotland.
► Читайте также другие темы раздела "England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland / Англия, Шотландия, Уэльс и Северная Ирландия":
- Some interesting facts about England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland / Некоторые интересные факты об Англии, Шотландии, Уэльсе и Северной Ирландии
- England / Англия
- The traditional view of the English / Традиционные представления об англичанах
- Scotland / Шотландия
- Wales / Уэльс
- Northern Ireland / Северная Ирландия
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