The most beautiful country in the world – Scotland
Every country has its own unique kind of beauty, and just because a country is not one of the most popular tourist destinations does not mean that it is not a gem in its own right. Rough Guides, based on reader votes, has figured out what the most beautiful country in the world is, and it is none other than Scotland.
The northernmost of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom, Scotland’s dominance of the list should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever been there.
Why Scotland is the most beautiful country in the world
Gorgeous castles and quaint fairy tale-like villages, relatively unspoiled beaches and gorgeous lakes characterize this magnificent country. There are also many fascinating things to do on a trip through the country, from discovering ancient history and tasting Scotch whiskey, to taking advantage of great opportunities to explore by car, bike or on foot.
With so much to do and so many places to see, it’s no wonder Scotland is the most beautiful country in the world.
1. the Isle of Skye
The largest island in the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Skye has some of the most incredible scenery in the world. Historic castles dot the island against a backdrop of mountainous scenery, and famous landmarks include Old Man Storr – a rocky cliff rising from grassy slopes – and charming fairy pools made up of beautiful blue and green waterfalls and natural pools in which you can swim.
Rannoch Moor is in the middle of a 50-kilometer marshy heathland that is home to all sorts of interesting and unique wildlife. You can see beautiful deer in this relatively barren space.
3. Loch Lomond.
Located in the southern part of the country, Loch Lomond is the largest inland body of water in Great Britain. Both mountainous terrain and lowland surround the freshwater lake, which lies right on the shore between them. Here you’ll find tranquil landscapes filled with oaks and deer, and hiking and biking trails on the eastern side of the lake for you to explore.
4. Dunnottar Castle.
Along the northeast shore is Dunnottar Castle, a ruined medieval fortress consisting of remains from the 15th and 16th centuries. It is important in Scottish history because of its advantageous location. Although the castle fell into disrepair after playing a major role in the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion, it was rebuilt in the 20th century and is now open to tourists who want to see this piece of history and the breathtaking scenery surrounding it.
5. Aiona Island
Aiona Island is one of the smaller islands of the Inner Hebrides, and a tranquil place where many people go for spiritual retreat. Its quaint abbey is now a church, but remains a feat of medieval architecture of interest to visitors interested in both history and religion.
Glencoe, a village of fewer than 400 people in the Scottish Highlands, is full of gorgeous green scenery and mountainous landscapes. Located in the northwestern part of Glencoe, the village is nestled along the Coe River where it flows into Loch Leaven. Get a breathtaking view of the entire area from the summit of Glencoe Pap, a scenic enough spot to visit.
7. Bilach on the Ba.
Bilach on Ba is a mountain pass that was built in 1822. It connects the towns of Applecross and Torridon. It is known for its hairpin bends and the steepest gradient of any road in the United Kingdom. It’s not for amateur drivers, but still a great experience for those who want to take an exhilarating drive.
8. Orkney Islands.
The Orkney Islands, a group of islands off the northeast coast of Scotland, are home to majestic whales and ancient history. Here you can find Neolithic sites, particularly a group of sites on its largest island that is more than 5,000 years old, such as Meshaw, a cemetery with Viking carvings from the 1300s and Skara Brae, a preserved ancient village where you’ll find a reconstructed house from the era.
The picturesque county of Crail on Scotland’s west coast is known for its architecture and picturesque location. A historic fishing village with many 17th-century buildings, many of which have been restored thanks to the National Trust for Scotland, it’s ideal for strolling through the cobblestone streets.
10. Finnich Glen.
Finnich Glen is a 20-foot high valley located in Stirlingshire, near Craigat Wood. The round rock in the valley is known as “The Devil’s Stand,” and the steep staircase, built in 1860, is known as “The Devil’s Steps.” Hidden under a small stone bridge that people cross to enter the neighboring village, Croftamie is a mysterious gorge made of sandstone that sometimes makes the water look red, making a striking contrast to the moss-covered walls.
The Scottish capital is an interesting mix of tradition and modernity, with modern architecture standing alongside Gothic churches and medieval palaces. Both the new and old cities of Edinburgh are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the latter being home to the famous Edinburgh Castle, which towers over the city from one of its highest points.
12. the Isle of Mull
The main attraction of the Isle of Mull is its capital, Tobermory. It is a coastal town that is home to the island’s only single malt Scotch whiskey distillery and a main street filled with brightly colored buildings with some great stores and restaurants.
Mallet also has great beaches, beautiful hills, and fascinating wildlife, and it is there that you will find the beautiful Griboon Cliffs.
13. Loch Ness
You may not be able to discover the famous monster of Scottish legend, but a trip to Loch Ness is still full of mystery and wonder at the beauty of this large and deep freshwater lake surrounded by beautiful scenery in the Scottish Highlands.
Visit the ruins of 13th-century Urquhart Castle, which overlooks Loch Ness on its western shore, to learn a little about Scottish medieval history.
The New Zealand cabbage trees in the village of Ullapool are often mistaken for palm trees, and the moderate temperatures of the North Atlantic drift here make this tiny destination somewhat of an oasis. The Ullapool River runs through the village, and the surrounding countryside is surrounded by rugged mountains that offer breathtaking views for brave travelers.
The town of Pitlochry, which is located right along the Tammel River, stands out for its Victorian atmosphere. A tourist resort since Queen Victoria visited the area in 1842 and the construction of the railroad in 1863, it is known both for its historic architecture and the surrounding hills and mountains, perfect for a great hike.
All these beautiful landscapes, castles and other and architectural masterpieces confidently declare that Scotland is the most beautiful country in the world, indisputably.
Countries of Great Britain: composition, culture, state structure
This state – a combination of nations – is located in Northwest Europe. Great Britain is a country that attracts attention with its rich history, cultural features, magnificent landscapes and medieval architecture. Visa to “Foggy Albion” is quite difficult to obtain and the trip will cost a lot of money, but this does not reduce the demand to visit Britain.
Before you go to the United Kingdom, you need to learn about the history, culture, religion and geographical division of the island nation. It currently connects four countries.
A brief history of the formation of the United Kingdom
This state is rich in history and culture, intertwining the traditions of four historical and geographical areas, which differ in their religious peculiarities.
The history of the creation of Great Britain is quite extensive, it began several hundred years ago. Islands have a very advantageous position from a geographical point of view, and also boast direct access to the Atlantic Ocean, so they have always been a tidbit for many countries.
History dates back to the 1st century B.C. The island was invaded and dominated by the Romans: they took over almost the entire territory of the country. The reign of ancient Rome did not pass without a trace. The construction of cities began, and Christianity came to the shores. In the 5th century A.D. the government passed to the Germanic tribes, who drove out the armies of Rome. It was then that the country acquired the name England.
From the ninth century until the eleventh century, the kingdom was often attacked by the Vikings. William I had already conquered Britain in 1066, and a little later was crowned as the chief monarch of England. It was in the eleventh century, according to many sources, that the English language began to form. Its origins were taken from many European dialects: French, German and Scandinavian.
For the next five centuries, the country has been steadily developing commercially and economically. Already in the sixteenth century, international trade became the most dynamic industry and the main source of income for England. The main competitor in many industries was Spain. The country allocated many resources to conquer new territories in America, Asia, and Africa.
In 1707 the United Kingdom included three countries: England, Scotland and Wales. About a century later, Ireland (and Northumbria even earlier) was included. However this territory became independent again in the twentieth century, and today only Northern Ireland is part of Britain.
The beginning of the 18th century was marked by rapid economic growth. Britain became a great naval state, developing trade and industry with renewed vigor. In the XX century came the terrible ordeal of two world wars, in which the state took an active part and emerged victorious. However, it was in this century that it had to deal with decolonization and the loss of the overseas territories of the British Commonwealth.
Another momentous event occurred in 1973, when Britain became part of the European Union: English acquired the status of an international language. In the following years, the state struggled with a downturn in the economy and the flow of migrants. However, in recent years, it is again raising its status, actively developing science, education and industry. Now the area of Great Britain is 244 square kilometers.
Composition of Great Britain today
“Foggy Albion” is surrounded on all sides by seas and oceans. Great Britain is located in the north-west of Europe, washed by the waters of the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Irish Sea. It is separated from Europe and the border with France by the English Channel. At the present time, Great Britain consists of:
- Northern Ireland.
These “historic countries” are called the United Kingdom.
The largest country in Great Britain, the cradle of the monarchy and home of the major international language. English soil is home to many landmarks, known to everyone since the schoolroom. Side by side with ancient castles meet fashionable boutiques, modern art galleries and large stadiums.
At the heart of the city is London, the capital of the United Kingdom. Don’t miss a chance to stroll through famous historic sites: Piccadilly Street and Trafalgar Square. Visit several of London’s museums, which are free to all visitors. You can’t miss Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, which are symbols of the capital and top the list of attractions.
Liverpool is known to every Beatles fan as the Capital of Culture. It is home to the Raven Club, where the Beatles performed years ago. Manchester is an industrial northern city. Years later, bars, stores and clubs began to open in the shops and warehouses. There’s vibrant nightlife at night, with lots of English students, but during the daytime you can admire the cathedrals and other architecture.
England is famous for its educational system, private schools and universities. Oxford and Cambridge were the first to compile the rules of the game of soccer, which are familiar to every fan. This country is also the birthplace of theater.
Tower Bridge, London
Primarily known for its stunning nature. Green hills, valleys and forests have become the setting for many movies and TV series. In particular, the popular Game of Thrones was filmed here. Not for nothing this part of Britain is called the “Emerald Isle”.
The composition of the country is mixed and consists not only of Irish Catholics, but also people from England and Scotland. That is why, when the separation of Ireland and Britain occurred, the ethnic population of the province of Ulster mostly voted to remain part of the Kingdom.
The most interesting cities are:
- Belfast. The capital, famous for its many cultural and historical heritage sites. In culture, it is known as the “builder” of the famous Titanic.
- Antrim. A small village, known among residents as a center of ecotourism.
- Derry is a small city with two medieval cathedrals, preserved old city walls and interesting museums. It has a beautiful sea coast.
One of the oldest and best preserved attractions is Carrickfengus Castle, which stands near Loch Ney. Scrabo Tower also attracts tourists. In recent years, the Titanic Museum has become very popular.
Severe nature, despite its monotony, gave a lot of interesting objects. One of them is the Road of Giants, which is more than 40 thousand basalt columns.
“The Bridge of Giants,” or the Road of Giants. Northern Ireland
In the west of the island is the Principality of Wales. It is bordered only by England on land, but is surrounded on three sides by water. There are two main nationalities living in the territory: the Welsh, the original inhabitants, and the English.
A special feature of Wales are the beautiful landscapes. In the area of Snowdonia is situated the highest mountain in the country (its height reaches nearly 1 100 meters), as well as a national reserve. In the region there are several other natural parks, popular among tourists.
Cardiff is the capital. It is a former coal port, nowadays it is a modern cultural city. It will appeal to connoisseurs of architecture and medieval monuments. The main attraction is the Red Castle which many times was “involved” in the shooting of fantastic films. St. John’s Church, Llandaff Cathedral and other medieval monuments will leave a lasting impression.
The Welsh language, one of the surviving languages of the Celtic group, is actively supported by the government and is compulsory. All documents and periodicals are printed exclusively in Welsh. Rugby is considered the national sport, in which the Welsh excel on the world stage.
Nature of Wales
Russians associate Scotland with men in kilts, good whisky and bagpipes. But this country has a lot to tell about itself. In 2012 despite protests for many years and desire of independence the Scottish people voted in referendum to remain a part of United Kingdom.
Scotland has been and remains faithful to the culture that makes it special. It has absorbed the traditions of all the nationalities that inhabited the land of Scotland: the Picts, the Celts and the conquerors from the continent. The mentality of the Scots is familiar to many through the famous movies. They are patriotic and love their country very much, are distinguished by romanticism and quite violent temperament.
Parliament is the main legislative body of the country. 2/3 of the nation are Presbyterians. The most popular sports are soccer and golf. The latter was invented in this country.
The rich history of the region is reflected in the number of interesting places. The most famous attraction is the lake Loch Ness, which has a legend about the monster that exists there. The nearby village of Drumnadrochit features exhibitions about this mysterious creature. There are several notable structures in the vicinity: Alduri Castle and Urhard.
Not far from the lake is Inverness, a small town thought to be the ancestor of all the major Scottish clans. It is said to be the birthplace of oatmeal and whiskey.
The capital of the country is Glasgow. It is a concentration of medieval sites, museums, galleries, and a venue for numerous festivals. There are more than 70 parks and beautiful gardens, you can find many restaurants, pubs and nightlife. The main attraction is considered to be the Cathedral of St. Mungo.
Separately, the Scottish beaches should be mentioned. They are among the most beautiful in the world. Their landscapes are often used for pictures of Caribbean resorts.
The City of Glasgow, Scotland
Capital of Britain
London can be loved at first sight, its sights meet everyone in the English language textbooks. It has every right to be called one of the largest and most beautiful cities on the map of Europe, with a history full of ups and downs. What was the original name of the capital, not everyone knows. The settlement was called Troia Nova. In 1666 there was a major fire, after which the capital of Britain rose and rebuilt.
The first rise came in the fifteenth century after the discovery of America, the time when England became a great country. The fortunate geography played a major role in the development of trade and economic relations, and the city grew in numbers by leaps and bounds. The nineteenth century was marked by another breakthrough, the time of the Industrial Revolution.
However, like most European countries, in the twentieth century London faced adversity. World War II brought many setbacks, including bombings. It was followed by the collapse of the British Empire, with many colonies declaring independence. Prime Minister Thatcher’s radical regime was a hard time for many working families, and towards the end of the century, the divorce of Princess Diana and Prince Charles nearly destroyed the centuries-old reputation of the royal family.
In modern times, London has regained its former glory. The economy is booming, and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s lavish wedding has lifted British spirits and restored love of the crown. The capital’s rich history can be traced back to its landmarks.
The parliamentary complex, whose jewel is Big Ben Tower, can be considered the city’s calling card. It was built in the 19th century and was initially regarded with scepticism by the inhabitants of London. Nearby is Westminster Abbey, the site of the coronation of British monarchs.
The most famous ferris wheel in the world is called the London Eye, and from its top you can enjoy a picturesque view of the main sights. Unless, of course, the famous London fog prevents the view. Buckingham Palace, where the Queen rules, is open for tours. Here every day at 11:30 there is a changing of the guard.
All year round London welcomes tourists. Come here both in summer and at Christmas. It’s a city that’s hard not to be admired.
The official language
The United Kingdom has one official language – English. But in some regions of the state (due to the diversity of nationalities) along with it there are local dialects.
In 1967, the Welsh language was officially granted equal rights with traditional English. It is used for official documentation and periodicals. All signs and names of places of interest in Wales are in Welsh with an English translation at the bottom.
There are local languages in Scotland – Anglo-Scottish and Gaelic. They are more common in the mountainous regions of the country, where English is spoken by a small percentage of people.
English was formed from the dialects that were common on the island. Its basis was taken from West Germanic, which appeared there in the 6th century after frequent attacks from northern Europe. Gradually it mixed with Norman and Anglo-Friesian dialects. Even now you can see how many French words remain in English.
When Britain began to conquer overseas territories and became a major colonizer, the language began to spread to many countries. Nowadays, English remains an official language in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many African countries. The number of its speakers is over 350 million people. There are more than 1 billion people in the world who speak English, and this number is increasing every day.
The Great Britain combines several religions. Officially there are two churches in the state: Anglican and Presbyterian. The first belongs to England, and the second is most popular in Scotland. The remaining two regions of Britain, Wales and Northern Ireland have no state religion.
In the United Kingdom it is also possible to find citizens professing Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. There are also many Roman Catholics. There are also about 200 religious sects.
According to official legislation, every British citizen has the right to choose his or her own religion. This applies even if he or she is the only representative of a faith in the whole country.
70% of Britons are Christians, 15% of the population consider themselves atheists, there are more than 2 million Muslims.
Religion is taught in many secondary educational institutions and the school day begins and ends with prayers. Children are introduced to the basic concepts of world religions and taught to be tolerant of other faiths. Parents can exempt their children from daily prayers if it goes against their ideology.
There are schools for children of certain religions (e.g. Protestant or Catholic). There are Sunday religious institutions throughout the country, and it is up to the parents to decide whether or not to send their children there.
The church is not in the care of the country. However, Britain annually allocates funding for the construction or restoration of historical monuments. It is not only about Christian buildings, money is also allocated for Roman Catholic churches and synagogues. Religion plays a major role in the lives of many Britons.
St. Paul’s Cathedral, London
Constitution of the United Kingdom
A parliamentary monarchy is a way of describing the modern state system. There is no President in the country. The head of state is Elizabeth II, who has been in power since 1952. Her reign began at the age of 25, and the title passed from her father George VI. She heads the three basic branches of government. She is also the head monarch in 15 other territories.
Parliament is divided into two main houses:
The government is headed by the prime minister, who is chosen from Parliament. There is no single constitution in the country. It is not a document, but a whole collection of summaries and precedents.
Britain is about to leave the European Union. This step could affect the economy of the state and put many Britons out of work. However, the country has always been distinguished by its well-established traditions and power, so its decision is too early to be questioned. Every part of the United Kingdom is unique and beautiful in its own way.
Great Britain is an island nation in northwestern Europe. The state consists of four “historic provinces.” England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. All these territories have their own traditions, culture and religion.