Unique events to celebrate Scotland's past in 2017

Smiling boys with forth bridges painted on their faces Image copyright VisitScotland
Image caption The Forth Bridge will be the focus of festivities on World Heritage Day in April

Scotland's past will be celebrated in a series of unique events to mark the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in 2017.

World heritage sites, ancient monuments, cultural traditions, myths and legends will be the focus of the 12 month long programme.

VisitScotland said it would throw the spotlight on some of Scotland's greatest assets and its hidden gems.

The line-up was unveiled by Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop in Edinburgh.

It includes:

  • Edinburgh's Georgian Shadows: The story of Edinburgh's New Town will be revealed using lighting in inventive, creative ways in February and March.
  • Scotland in Six: Scotland's six world heritage sites will be celebrated with dawn-to-dusk events to mark World Heritage Day on 18 April.
  • TradFest: This feast of of folk arts will kick-start the summer season at venues across Edinburgh during April and May.
  • Paisley's International Festival of Weaving: Cultural activities and performances will celebrate Paisley's roots, beginning on 1 July.
  • Purvai: A festival celebrating Scotland's historical links with south-east Asia, at An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway.
  • Follow the Vikings roadshow and festival: Shetland will host two weekends of Viking performances and re-enactments in September.
  • HorsePower: A celebration of Scotland's equine heritage at Falkirk's Helix Park - home of the Kelpies, on 9 September.
  • The Mary Queen of Scots Festival: The Kinross area will be home to a festival involving living history encampments, music, food and drink in September.
  • Shining Lives: A sound and light projection event in New Lanark world heritage site in the autumn.

Ms Hyslop said the programme of nine events were being supported by £300,000 in funding.

She added: "As well as our history of many well-known stories and famous, indeed some infamous, historical characters, next year will also give us an excellent opportunity to focus on Scotland's world-renowned archaeology, enticing visitors and locals alike to visit not only our known iconic landmarks with their thousands of years of history, but also our many hidden gems."

Image copyright VisitScotland
Image caption Models' faces were painted with some of Scotland world heritage sites as the 2017 line-up was launched

More than a third of Scotland's tourists visit the country for its history, according to VisitScotland.

It said ancestral tourism is worth around £101m to the Scottish economy.

Malcolm Roughead, the chief executive of Scotland's tourism agency said: "Scotland is the land where great legends were made throughout history, and so it is only apt that we should have such a unique line-up of events and activities for the 2017 Year of History Heritage and Archaeology.

"We know for a fact that visitors come to Scotland in their droves to experience its heritage whether that's visiting a castle, exploring a battlefield or tracing ancestral roots.

"From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends - the year-long programme will spotlight some of our greatest assets and icons as well as our hidden gems.

"We look forward to delving into Scotland's past with visitors and locals alike and coming face to face with history, heritage and archaeology across the country."

In addition to the nine events unveiled on Wednesday, a much wider programme will fall under the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology banner.

Image copyright VisitScotland
Image caption Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the line-up for the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

They include Scot:Lands, an adventurous journey across Edinburgh on New Years Day; Celtic Connections; various Burns Night celebrations; and family friendly "moments in time" installation at Edinburgh's International Science Festival in April.

A £500,000 fund from the Heritage Lottery Fund will also be used to encourage people across Scotland uncover and celebrate their local history, customs and traditions.

The fund's head, Lucy Casot, said: "Our ambition next year is that everyone, young and old, will have the chance to discover something new about the rich tapestry that makes Scotland, Scotland.

"The door to fun, discovery and learning will be opened wide welcoming in locals and visitors alike.

"Whether its enjoying one of these incredible Signature celebrations, or getting involved in one of the many community-level projects, funded through the National Lottery, 2017 is up shaping up to be an exciting celebration of our shared identity and we are delighted to be a key part of that."

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