Elgin is the capital of Moray and the surrounding villages include New Elgin, Alves, Miltonduff, Pluscarden, Birnie, Fogwatt, Longmorn and Dallas.
Elgin has a population of just over 23,100 (Census 2011). Historically it was protected from strife-torn central Scotland by the Cairngorms to the south and, until the 19th century, by two unbridged rivers, the Spey to the east and the Findhorn to the west.
Although the name Helgyn on the town's seal may imply Norse links, recorded history only begins with King David I in 1150. Pope Honorarius agreed to the removal of the Cathedral of Moray from its third resting place at Spynie to its final site by the Holy Trinity Church, which lay just outside the burgh's eastern boundary on the haughs of the river Lossie. A walled city grew up around the Cathedral and this was know as the Chanonry; it linked with the town at the Little Cross.
The late 18th century was a period of decline, yet improvements were on their way. Between 1820 and 1840, Elgin was transformed into a stately neo-classical town, much of which survives today. By 1838, the town had become more prosperous, as its new buildings reflected, including an excellent Academy, an extensive public library, a weekly newspaper and an institution for older people.
Today, due to Elgin's expanding population, new areas have been developed including New Elgin and Bishopmill.
Close to Elgin are the villages of Birnie, Fogwatt and Longmorn. Birnie is home to one of the oldest kirks that has been in continuous use in Scotland.
Pluscarden Abbey lies in the tranquil, sheltered valley of the Black Burn some six miles southwest of Elgin.