On my third visit to Edinburgh, a full day exploring the wonderful city center was the least I had to set aside, including several landmark visits and a large walkabout circuit. The skies were dreary in the morning, turned cloudy blue for a short time midday, and then reverted to gray in the afternoon. I still ended up with a passable refresh of my Edinburgh photographic archive.
We’ll start with assorted monument perspectives.
The first is towards Calton Hill, headlined by the Nelson Monument, commemorating the Trafalgar victory, and the National Monument of Scotland, immortalizing soldiers and sailors who perished in Napoleonic Wars.
Also on Calton Hill, there is the Political Martyrs Monument, the obelisk erected in the mid-19th century to commemorate five parliamentary reformers of the late 18th century who were imprisoned for their labors. The nearby Governor’s House is an early 19th-century prison, and lately home to several government agencies.
Sir Walter Scott Monument is the largest monument in honor of an artist anywhere in the world.
Another prominent landmark is the Melville Monument, honoring Henry Dundas, the Viscount of Melville, an important Scottish political figure of the late 18th century.
A perspective towards the Royal Scottish Academy, with the spire of the Hub seemingly growing right out of its neo-classical pediment.
The Hub, historically known as the Tolbooth Kirk, has never been consecrated as a church, even though it housed religious assemblies for a period of time. Nowadays, it is a public events center. And the highest point of central Edinburgh, prominently featuring in many different perspectives. This next angle, centered on the Assembly Hall, the current main meeting place of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, suggests its true location in the center of the Old Town (in fact, the Hub anchors the busiest stretch of the Royal Mile).
Assorted city perspectives.
The last view is along the lower portion of the Royal Mile towards where the Holyroodhouse Palace stands at its bottom. The clock that you see in the perspective belongs to Canongate Tolbooth, the late 16th-century town hall of then-separate Canongate Burgh, which gives its name to this stretch of the road. Here is the opposite view.
The building is a stunner, so here is another angle.
There are quite a few alleyways in the Old Town that are only a few steps away from major tourist routes and yet feel like a different world altogether. One of the most famous ones is the Bakehouse Close.
And this is the perspective towards the New Town from the steps of Milne’s Court passage.
The overall palette of Edinburgh is fairly muted, even under the brightest of skies. For a splash of color, you need to head to Victoria Street.
The rooftop terrace of the National Museum of Scotland is a minor hidden gem.
You should recognize the Hub in the center of the perspective, and on the left is Edinburgh Castle. Two other prominent high points belong to the Edinburgh Central Library and the Augustine United Church.
The National Museum, by the way, is an incredible ensemble of soaring spaces given to a wide range of subjects: natural history, ethnography, archaeology, applied arts, design and fashion, transportation and energy, the evolution of Scotland, etc, etc, etc. Free of charge, too, and impossible to truly appreciate in the hour or so that I allocated to it.
Another defined point of interest was the Holyroodhouse Palace, the historic royal residence at the foot of the Royal Mile. Interior photography is not allowed, so here are a few pictures of the main courtyard and the adjoining Holyrood Abbey remains.
Across the road from the palace, one finds the Scottish Parliament. The striking modern building, completed in 2004, deserves better than I managed to capture.
A bagpiper will always be found somewhere on Royal Mile.
I feel that I can finally claim reasonable familiarity with Edinburgh.
Wonderful photos, Ilya. They bring back a lot of fond memories… I spent three or four days in Edinburgh on my Scotland a few years back and became very fond of the place.
Thanks, Jason! Definitely among my favorite cities in the world, Edinburgh.