St Andrews has long been recognised as one of the great historical cities of Europe. Lying within the Pictish Kingdom and said to be the resting place of the relics of Saint Andrew, it became a major centre of pilgrimage. By the close of the Middle Ages it was the ecclesiastical and intellectual capital of Scotland, the seat of Scotland's oldest university and a major centre of political and economic life.
The street plan of the historic heart of the town dates from the foundation of the burgh in the twelfth century and is still the functional centre of the modern city. Town and University flourish side by side, and, despite the sacking of the Cathedral and Castle during the Scottish Reformation, St. Andrews maintains the character of a mediaeval city to the present day. Outstanding examples of Georgian and Victorian buildings have been added to its great mediaeval monuments and its remarkable sixteenth and seventeenth century architecture. To many, St. Andrews is now revered as a world renowned centre for golf, where this game developed around 1400 on the links to the north west of the town. The Old Course regularly host the Open Championship, organised by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.