Work has begun on reconstructing the road surface of the historic Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
Work has started on the Royal Mile in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town
More than £1.5m will be spent taking up thousands of granite cobbles, cleaning and then relaying them.
The project will see part of the historic street permanently closed to traffic.
The relaying scheme will cost more than installing new cobbles, but officials said the added expense was worth it to preserve the street's character.
The work will concentrate on the area between George IV junction and North Bridge and should last until next year.
Along with the resurfacing work, a section of the mile, between Cockburn Street and Parliament Square, will be made pedestrian only - although delivery vehicles will be allowed some access.
This proposal has proved controversial with local residents but the council insisted it was essential to preserve the historical heart of the capital.
Bollards at each end of the section will be put in place, however sensors will spot oncoming vehicles and lower the bollards into the ground at permitted times.
Emergency vehicles will be able to lower the bollards using a special electronic code.
Councillor Andrew Burns, transport spokesman, said improving the historic cobbled street would give the Royal Mile "the environment that it deserves".
A section of the Royal Mile will be permanently closed to traffic
He added: "The craftsmanship involved will mean that the work will take some time, and we have met with local businesses and residents to discuss ways to minimise the impact.
"There will always be access for deliveries and for people on foot to enjoy the shops and restaurants."
Council leader Donald Anderson said the work had been "too long delayed by legal problems with a previous contractor".
He added: "The Royal Mile is the prestigious focal point of the city and these improvements will bring it up to its rightful world-class standard."