Edinburgh, Scotland

The Old and New Towns of Scotland’s capital city have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in their entirety. A contributing factor is the gorgeous architectural landmarks, some dating back to the early 12th century. Enjoy your visit to “The Athens of the North.”

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1 Edinburgh Castle Attraction in Edinburgh, Scotland

The number one tourist attraction in Scotland is the Edinburgh Castle. Inside are over twenty structures. Some date to the 16th century such as the Great Hall built in 1510. The oldest building is from the early 12th century. You will discover several museums including three focused on the military. Equally exciting is the display of the Scottish Crown Jewels within the Honours of Scotland. This photo is a small section of the northwest wall showing The Hospital and the Western Defenses. Just to the left off camera are a series of cannons along the Argyle Battery. This is also where the One O’clock Gun Salute is fired six days a week.

Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, UK
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2 The Hub in Edinburgh, Scotland

This classic gothic architecture with the city’s highest bell tower is steps away from Edinburgh Castle on Esplanade Castlehill, part of The Royal Mile. Victoria Hall was designed by James Graham and Augustus Pugin to be the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. After that venue moved to New College in 1929, the building served a few different congregations. From 1956 until the 1980s, it was the Highland Tolbooth St. John’s Church. Starting in 1999, the Edinburgh International Festival converted it into their offices and event center called The Hub.

537 The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1, UK
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3 David Hume Statue in Edinburgh, Scotland

David Hume was an 18th century philosopher who attempted to explain human thought, morality and behavior. He was also the author of the best-selling, six-volume books called The History of England published from 1754 through 1761. This nine foot, bronze statue by sculptor Sandy Stoddart stands near the High Court Building on the Royal Mile. In the background is the famous crown spire of St. Giles’ Cathedral.

381 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1PW, UK
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4 St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland

The first church on this site in central Old Town was from the 12th century. After an extensive fire in 1385, it was rebuilt and then expanded and restored through the 19th century. The High Kirk of Edinburgh is dedicated to Saint Giles, a 7th century Greek hermit. St. Giles’ Cathedral is considered to be the Mother Church of Presbyterianism. On the right is a statue of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. This Queensberry Memorial honoring Walter Montagu Douglas Scott was created by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm in 1888. It adorns the West Parliament Square, a plaza constructed in 1632.

High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RE, UK
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5 City Chambers’ Arcade in Edinburgh, Scotland

This stone arch along High Street is part of an arcade leading to the former Royal Exchange. The building opened in 1761 as a marketplace. From 1811 until 1893, it was increasingly occupied as the Edinburgh City Chambers. At the top of the arch, which was added in 1901, is a coat of arms. At the base is The Great War Stone remembering fallen soldiers from World War I and II.

253 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1YJ, UK
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6 Alexander the Great Taming Bucephalus Statue in Edinburgh, Scotland

Although only 32 when he died, Alexander the Great was one of the most successful military leaders in history. He built a massive empire and was the king of Macedon, Egypt, Persia and Asia when it is suspected he was assassinated by poison in 323 BC. Alexander is shown here taming a legendary horse named Bucephalus. The enormous steed died shortly after Alexander’s decisive victory at the Battle of Hydaspes in 326 BC. This bronze statue by John Steell in front of the Edinburgh City Chambers was created in 1884.

253 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1YJ, UK
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7 Cockburn Street in Edinburgh, Scotland

These elegant, four-level buildings were constructed during the 1850s. The S-shaped street created a link between the North British Railway’s Waverley Station and High Street. Its namesake is Lord Henry Cockburn (1179 – 1854). He had a distinguished career as a lawyer, judge for the Court of Session, Solicitor General for Scotland, a leader of the Whig Party and frequent writer for the Edinburgh Review.

73 Cockburn St, Edinburgh EH1 1BU, UK
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8 Bank of Scotland Headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland

Since it was formed by Scottish Parliament in 1695, The Bank of Scotland has had a history of innovation. It began issuing paper currency in 1696, created branches in 1774, used computers as early as 1959, started mobile banking in 1963, launched Scotcash in 1968 (a forerunner of the ATM), and introduced Home and Office Banking Service (HOBS) in 1985. Scotland’s oldest bank merged with Halifax in 2001 and was acquired by Lloyds Banking Group in 2009.

13 3F1 Bank Street, Edinburgh EH1 2LN, UK
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9 Waverley Court in Edinburgh, Scotland

Since 2007, Waverley Court near the Waverly Station has been the City of Edinburgh Council Headquarters. The sandstone, glass and steel building is the office for about 1,800 employees. Standing 25 feet tall on a colorful tower near the entrance is the statue called Everyman. This curious art was created in 2006 by Stephan Balkenhol from Karisruhe, Germany.

4 East Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8FR, UK
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10 Tron Kirk Now Royal Mile Market in Edinburgh, Scotland

Tron Kirk is a beautiful historic relic of Old Town. The church was opened in 1647 and then closed in 1952. For nearly half a century it remained empty except for an occasional special venue. This was despite its prime location at High Street and South Bridge. This is now a major tourist area in the epicenter of The Royal Mile between the castle and the palace. So as a service to help tourists spend their money, the Royal Mile Market opened inside the former church in 2015. You will find stalls offering crafts, arts, souvenirs and food plus an information center.

175 The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1PD, UK
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11 Canongate Tolbooth Clock in Edinburgh, Scotland

Beginning around the 12th century, Scotland was divided into burghs. Most of these autonomous towns had a tolbooth, a building housing the council chambers, courthouse, prison and tax collector. In 1143, King David I established the burgh of Canongate. Today this is the center of Old Town along the Royal Mile. This Canongate Tolbooth was built in 1591. The stone turret, called a bartizan, is a classic element in Scots Baronial architecture. The People’s Story Museum was established here in 1989. It traces the history of Edinburgh from the late 18th century.

167 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BN, UK
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12 Canongate Church in Edinburgh, Scotland

Canongate was a Scottish burgh outside of Edinburgh. In 1688, King James VII of Scotland approved the building of this town church. Canongate Kirk was complete in 1691. Since then, the congregation was split during the Disruption of 1843 and the town was absorbed into Edinburgh in 1856. The road in front became Canongate, the lower end of The Royal Mile between the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Edinburgh Castle. The neighborhood suffered a serious decline and is now part of an active tourist district. The church building was significantly altered in 1882 but then restored in the 1950s and early 1990s. In short, after over 300 years of surrounding change, this humble church and its adjoining graveyard have remained remarkably unscathed.

153 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BN, UK
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13 Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland

At 822 feet, Arthur’s Seat is the highest elevation in Edinburgh. It was formed by an ancient and now dormant volcano. The cliff is named after King Arthur, the legendary British hero who fought the Saxons until his death in battle in the early 6th century. This is also the site where King David I of Scotland fell from his horse during the 12th century. He was about to be killed by a stag when he envisioned a cross between the animal’s antlers. In gratitude for being spared, he founded the nearby Holyrood Abbey in 1128.

Queen’s Dr and Horse Wynd, Edinburgh EH8, 8HG, UK
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14 Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is blessed with many wonderful, historical buildings but the Scottish Parliament Building is not one of them. The post-modern design by architect Enric Miralles was intended to reflect the people’s connection with nature. The first impression is awkward at best. At worst, the cost of 400 million pounds was ten times the high end of the original budget. The four acre complex was completed in 2004. Located in the Holyrood area, the campus is home for the Parliament’s 129 members and approximately 1,000 staff.

The Royal Mile and Horse Wynd, Edinburgh EH99 1SP, UK
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15 Queen’s Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland

The British Royal Family owns an extensive collection of over one million pieces of art, books and prints known as the Royal Collection. Many of them are displayed at Buckingham Palace in London, at Windsor Castle and about a dozen royal residences including this one adjacent to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. They are housed in the former Holyrood Free Church built in the 1840s. This art gallery was opened in 2002 by Queen Elizabeth. Above the lettering for the Queen’s Gallery is a red lion designed by Jill Watson. This heraldic symbol is patterned after the one on the tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Horse Wynd, Edinburgh EH8, UK
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16 Unicorn From King James V Heraldic Panel in Edinburgh, Scotland

William I, also known as William the Lion, was the first King of the Scots to use a unicorn as part of his coat of arms during the 12th century. It still is Scotland’s national animal. In Celtic mythology, this fictitious horse with a spiral horn represents purity and innocence plus rule by harmony. This heraldic panel is attached to a walled-in gatehouse at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It is the royal arms of James V, the king who commissioned the palace in the early 16th century.

Abbey Strand, Edinburgh EH8 8DU, UK
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17 Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British monarch when in Scotland, is an architectural time capsule. On the far left are the ruins of the Augustinian Abbey commissioned by King David I in 1128. Next to it is the dominant north-west tower. King James V ordered its construction in 1528 and William Aytoun finished this first phase in 1532. Inside the James’ Tower was the royal apartment of Mary, Queen of Scots. After being partially destroyed in 1544, the palace was extensively renovated and expanded beginning in 1672. Above the main entrance from the outer courtyard is a relief of the Royal Arms of Scotland, a clock manufactured in 1680 and a cupola shaped as a crown.

Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, UK
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18 Courtyard Fountain at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland

Prior to the construction of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the main residence for Scottish monarchs during the 15th and 16th centuries was Linlithgow Palace. King James V, who was born there, added an ornate fountain to the courtyard. This fountain at Holyrood Palace is a 19th century replica. It was commissioned by Queen Victoria. Among the carvings of lions and soldiers are historic figures in Scotland’s history.

Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, UK
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19 Burns Monument in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Burns Monument celebrates the contributions made by Robert Burns. Despite being only 37 when he died in 1796, he is considered to be Scotland’s national poet and an inspirational leader of Romanticism in the country. Think of him the next time you sing his poem “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve. The architect for the project was Thomas Hamilton, the same man who designed the Old Royal High School across Regent Road. His inspiration for this Greek Revival design was the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates constructed in Athens in 334 BC.

1759 Regent Rd, Edinburgh EH7, UK
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20 Old Royal High School in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh’s Royal High School began as a seminary established in 1128 by King David I. From 1829 until 1968, the non-denominational Christian school resided in this impressive, neo-classical building designed by Thomas Hamilton. Since then, the building has been considered for many purposes including government offices, a music school and a luxury hotel. None of those proposals have come to fruition. As a result, this magnificent, Greek Revival structure remains vacant as of 2016.

5-7 Regent Rd, Edinburgh EH7 5BL, UK
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21 St. Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, Scotland

Most of the Calton Jail was torn down to accommodate the construction of the St. Andrew’s House. The art deco building designed by Thomas Tait was completed in 1939 and renovated in 2001. It serves as a government office for about 1,400 people including the First and Deputy First Ministers of Scotland. The former position is the primary leader of the Scottish Government. The tower on the right is the Nelson Monument in honor of the naval war hero Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson.

2 Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG, UK
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22 Nelson Monument in Edinburgh, Scotland

Horatio Lord Nelson was a vice admiral in the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy. His fame and admiration grew extensively with his leadership during the early years of Napoleonic Wars against the French. He was killed during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, considered one of the most decisive British naval victories. Nelson was such a hero that even his adversary in battle, French Admiral Villeneuve, attended the funeral. The Nelson Monument was erected on Claton Hill in 1815. The tower is shaped like an upside-down telescope and stands 105 feet tall.

32 Calton Hill, Edinburgh EH7 5AA, UK
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23 National Monument in Edinburgh, Scotland

Calton Hill is a large greenspace overlooking the city of Edinburgh. It has several monuments and the observatory. This unfinished colonnade resembling the Parthenon is the most prominent structure. Work on the National Monument began in 1826 and stopped within three years when the funds were depleted. The structure was meant to be a tribute to Scottish soldiers who died during the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815). Across several European countries, an estimated 2.5 million military lives were lost plus an additional one million civilians.

Calton Hill, Edinburgh EH7 3DG, UK
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24 City Observatory Playfair Building in Edinburgh, Scotland

Thomas Short was the first person to want to establish an observatory on Calton Hill in the late 18th century. For decades, progress would be made, telescopes and buildings added, then stopped again for lack of funds. The Playfair Building, designed to look like a Greek temple, was the core of the observatory beginning in the 1830’s. It was named after its architect William Henry Playfair. The green City Dome on the right was added in the late 19th century and decommissioned in 1926. When the Astronomical Society moved out in 2009, most of the City Observatory complex was closed.

City Observatory, Calton Hill, Edinburgh EH1 3DG, UK
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25 John Playfair Monument in Edinburgh, Scotland

John Playfair (1748 – 1819) was the Chair of Mathematics and later Philosophy at the Edinburgh University. In the early 19th century, he was also the first President of the Astronomical Institution of Edinburgh. That role earned him this monument next to the City Observatory on Calton Hill. Perhaps his equally important contribution to Edinburgh was adopting his orphaned nephew. That six-year-old child became the most influential architect in the city’s history: William Henry Playfair. He had the honor of designing this Greek Doric tribute for his uncle. It was erected in 1826.

City Observatory, Calton Hill, Edinburgh EH1 3DG, UK
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26 Dugald Stewart Monument in Edinburgh, Scotland

Dugald Stewart was the chair of moral philosophy at the University of Edinburgh and a key driver of the Scottish Enlightenment. This was a period during the 18th century when intellectuals drove the expansion of diverse areas of learning in engineering, medicine, law and many other professional fields. This monument was commissioned by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, designed by William Henry Playfair and erected on Calton Hill in 1831.

Calton Hill, Edinburgh EH1 3BJ, UK
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27 Martyrs’ Monument and Governor’s House in Edinburgh, Scotland

Here are two Edinburgh landmarks on Calton Hill. The 90 foot sandstone obelisk on the left is the Political Martyrs’ Monument. It is a tribute to five men who were imprisoned for 14 years beginning in 1793 for strongly advocating parliamentary reform. The monument was erected in 1844 in the Old Calton Burial Ground. This graveyard was established in 1718. It is the final resting place for many of Edinburgh’s famous residents through 1869 when the cemetery was closed. The castle on the right is the Governor’s House. When it was built in 1817, it was a fraction of the Calton Gaol. The balance of the enormous prison was demolished in 1937.

16 Waterloo Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3EG, UK
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28 The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland

It was common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for railroads to build lavish hotels next to their main stations. North British Railway followed this trend in Edinburgh. William Beattie’s Victorian design opened as the North British Hotel in 1902. The Forte Group purchased it in 1983 and then closed it during a £23 million renovation. The Scottish actor Sean Connery presided over the reopening of The Balmoral in 1991. The five-star hotel has welcomed countless famous people, including J. K. Rowling. The author completed the last Harry Potter book in room 552.

1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, UK
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29 Balmoral Clock in Edinburgh, Scotland

You are immediately impressed by the tower on the Balmoral Hotel. But don’t set your watch by its time. The Balmoral Clock has been purposely three minutes fast since 1902 prompting commuters to hustle towards their train at the Waverley Rail Station. The major hub’s namesake is the Waverley Novels by Sir Walter Scott.

1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, UK
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30 Royal Scottish Academy Building in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Royal Scottish Academy was established in 1826 with the mission to promote art and architecture. It also houses a historic collection of related work spanning back nearly 200 years. In 1911, it moved into this neo-classical building on The Mound. The Academy is managed by prominent Scottish artists and architects. The over 100 Academicians are nominated and elected by their community of professionals.

23 The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL, UK
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31 Royal Scottish Academy Sculptures in Edinburgh, Scotland

The façade of the Royal Scottish Academy Building deserves a close inspection. In addition to the delicate frieze featuring a repeating pattern of laurel wreaths, there are ornate reliefs in the pediments and prominent sphinxes along the roofline. The statue of Queen Victoria was sculptured by John Steell. Her reign as the monarch of the United Kingdom lasted almost 64 years until her death in 1901.

23 The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL, UK
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32 Landmarks on The Mound in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Mound is an artificial hill within Old Town. It was created from 1781 until 1830 as 1.5 million cartloads of excavated dirt were dumped here during the creation of New Town. Three of its famous landmarks are the Royal Scottish Academy (left), the Scottish National Gallery (center) and New College (right). All three were designed by William Henry Playfair. He was Edinburgh’s most prolific architect of major landmarks during the first half of the 19th century.

23 The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL, UK
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33 Ramsay Garden Row Houses in Edinburgh, Scotland

Overlooking Princes Street Gardens on The Mound is this stunning row of sixteen houses collectively called Ramsay Garden. They are named in honor of Allan Ramsay the Elder, a local wigmaker and poet who also established Britain’s first circulating library in 1726. He built the Ramsey Lodge on this site in 1733. By the late 19th century, the neighborhood had fallen into disrepair. So urban planner Sir Patrick Geddes hired architect Stewart Capper to create these magnificent apartments. They were completed in 1893.

3 Ramsay Garden, Edinburgh EH1 2NA, UK
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34 New College in Edinburgh, Scotland

The majestic, neo-gothic New College building was constructed in 1846 as a religious training institution for the Free Church of Scotland, a group who broke away from the established Church of Scotland in 1843. Now part of the University of Edinburgh, it continues to offer religious and theological graduate and undergraduate programs. It also serves as the General Assembly Hall for the Church of Scotland, the Presbyterian church’s highest governing body and court.

1846 Mound Pl, Edinburgh EH1 2LX, UK
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35 Museum on the Mound in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Bank of Scotland commissioned Robert Reid and Richard Crichton to design a headquarters on Edinburgh’s man-made hill called The Mound. The Georgian-style structure was finished in 1806. It was significantly expanded by 1879 with a Roman Baroque façade. A statue by John Rhind of the Roman goddess Victoria was placed on top of the new dome. It was a tribute to Queen Victoria. In 2009, the Bank of Scotland became a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group and this is their Scottish Headquarters. Three years prior, the Museum on the Mound opened here. Admission is free to see displays including Scotland’s oldest banknote, a million pounds plus other exhibits on coins and currency.

The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ, UK
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36 Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland

Prior to the late 18th century, the center of Edinburgh was a lake called Nor Loch. During the construction of New Town in the 1770s and 1820s – an urban expansion project for the city – the water was drained and filled with excavated dirt. In 1876, the land became Princes Street Gardens. This public park is divided into two sections. The west end has 29 acres and the smaller east end has 8.5 acres. Surrounding this lovely greenspace are many of the city’s most historic landmarks.

Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2HG, UK
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37 Scott Monument in Edinburgh, Scotland

Native son Sir Walter Scott was first famous for his poetry and later his historical fiction during his writing career in the late 18th century and early 19th century. After his death in 1832, Edinburgh began planning for an elaborate memorial. This 200 foot, Victorian Gothic monument was finished in Princes Street Garden in 1844. The architect was George Kemp and the sculptor of the white marble statue of Scott was John Steell. Most impressive are the 93 figures displayed within the niches. 64 of them are characters from Scott’s literature plus other Scottish poets and writers.

50 Princes St Gardens, Edinburgh EH2 2EJ, UK
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38 Ross Fountain in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland

There are several statues and monuments in the Princes Street Gardens. The most beautiful is the golden Ross Fountain. It was sculpted by Jean-Baptiste Klagmann near Paris, France for London’s 1862 International Exhibition. The cast-iron work of art was then purchased by Edinburgh resident Daniel Ross who gifted it to the city. Because of the naked female forms – allegories for poetry, industry, art and science – it took ten years of heated debate before installing the fountain.

Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2HG, UK
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39 Memorial Day Scottish Color Guard in Edinburgh, Scotland

In 1927, a monument designed by Robert Tait McKenzie named “The Call” was erected in West Princes Gardens. Funds were donated by Americans in remembrance to Scottish soldiers who died during World War I. Each year since 1927 on America’s Memorial Day, a ceremony is performed with Scottish and American color guards.

West Gardens Cottage, Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2HG, UK
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40 St. John the Evangelist Church in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scottish Episcopal Church was formed in 1582. This magnificent structure, at the intersection of Princess Street and Lothian Road, was consecrated in 1818. The gothic design was the work of William Burn. He was only 25 when he became the architect for St. John’s. His enormously successful career spanned 60 years. The church was expanded several times during the 19th and 20th centuries including the addition of stunning, locally-crafted stained glass windows. St. John the Evangelist Church is one of three churches in the center of Edinburgh collectively called “Together.” The others are St. Cuthbert’s and St. Andrew’s & St. George’s West.

Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 4BJ, UK
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41 Dean Ramsay’s Iona Cross in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edward Bannerman Ramsay was the author of “Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Charter” in 1858. For thirty years, he was also a minister at St. John the Evangelist Church and later the Dean of the Edinburgh Diocese. In addition, he was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and helped found Trinity College. Seven years after his death in 1872, this 26.25 foot Iona Cross memorial was placed over his grave in the cemetery behind St. John’s. The exquisite reliefs depict Christ’s Passion, Resurrection and Ascension as well as Celtic designs.

Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 4BJ, UK
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42 St. Cuthbert’s Church in Edinburgh, Scotland

This church’s namesake and founder is Saint Cuthbert, a monk and bishop from the 7th century and the patron saint of Northern England. A chapel to the saint stood on this spot in 850 AD. In 1127, the church was granted the marshy land below the Edinburgh Castle (seen in the background in this photo) and a new building was constructed. The current, Italian Renaissance structure was dedicated in 1894 and serves the Presbyterian denomination. Saint Cuthbert’s Church is one of three called “Edinburgh Churches Together.” They collaborate on common causes while maintaining their unique identities.

5 Lothian Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2EP, UK
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43 Edinburgh Castle History in Edinburgh, Scotland

Evidence suggests this former volcanic plug was inhabited back in the Bronze Age. The oldest structure within the current fortress was commissioned by King David I of Scotland, who reigned from 1124 until 1153. He built St. Margaret’s Chapel in 1130 as a tribute to his mother. It still stands within this enormous fortress. The castle was expanded and rebuilt numerous times while serving as the residence for monarchs until 1633. During its history, it was attacked over 25 times and occasionally succumbed during battle. Portions of the fort were a prison until 1814. It also was as a military garrison until 1923 yet remains an active military base. This southwestern view shows (from left to right) the Hospital, Butts Battery, National War Museum and the New Barracks which also contains the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Regimental Museum.

Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, UK
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44 Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland

In between the Traverse Theater and the Royal Lyceum Theater is The Usher Hall, named after its benefactor, Andrew Usher. The copper-domed concert auditorium was built along Lothian Road in 1914. An extensive renovation was completed in 2009. The hall regularly hosts performances by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

2 Cambridge St, Edinburgh EH1, UK
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45 George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh, Scotland

George Heriot was a goldsmith who became rich selling jewelry to Queen Anne of Denmark. He was also her banker. At the turn of the 17th century, he served a similar capacity for James VI, the King of Scotland. When he died without legitimate heirs in 1624, the bulk of his estate funded the formation of Heriot’s Hospital for the city’s orphans. Four years later, the first wing of this school was built but seized by Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers. The school finally opened in 1659. This stunning Renaissance architecture evolved over the next 250 years. Today it is a co-educational, primary and secondary school.

Lauriston Pl, Edinburgh EH3 9EQ, UK
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46 St. Andrew’s and St. George’s West Church in Edinburgh, Scotland

St. Andrew’s Church was built in 1784 for a congregation belonging to the Church of Scotland. It was the first religious structure in Edinburgh’s New Town. This 167 foot bell tower was added three years later. In 1814, St. George’s Church was finished in nearby Charlotte Square. In 1964, they were forced to move when they could not fund repairs. Their building became the National Records of Scotland and the two churches merged.

13 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2PA, UK
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47 Clock of St. Andrew’s and St. George’s West Church in Edinburgh, Scotland

I could not resist a close up of the clock and ornate base to the spire at St. Andrew’s and St. George’s West Church. I later learned the historic event that occurred under this roofline. This was the site of the Disruption of 1843 when a heated debate over church and state broke out among 450 ministers attending the General Assembly. The resulting polarization led to a schism and the formation of the Free Church of Scotland. This separate denomination existed until 1900 when they merged with the United Presbyterian Church and collectively became the United Free Church of Scotland.

13 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2PA, UK
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48 West Register House Dome in Edinburgh, Scotland

This classic green dome crowned St. George’s Church when it opened on Charlotte Square in 1814. After an extensive renovation during the 1960s, it became the West Register House, one of three buildings for the National Records of Scotland. The West Search Room maintains court records generated by the Scottish Government.

17 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4DF, UK
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49 Heart of Midlothian War Memorial in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Heart of Midlothian, commonly called the Hearts, is a professional football club. The team was formed in 1874. At the outbreak of World War I, many of the players and up to 500 fans joined the 16th Royal Scots. This Heart of Midlothian War Memorial in Haymarket is a tribute to the seven players who were killed. The clock tower was erected in 1922. After a five year absence, it was returned in 2013 to one of the busiest intersections of the city.

1 Clifton Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5DR, UK
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50 St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland

This Scottish Episcopal Church has three spires. The middle one (295 feet) was finished when the cathedral opened in 1879. The twin towers (196 feet) shown here on the west side were added in 1917. They are affectionately nicknamed Barbara and Mary in honor of the Walker sisters. They donated money for the construction of St. Mary’s Cathedral. This is the mother church for the Diocese of Edinburgh.

23 Palmerston Pl, Edinburgh EH12 5AL, UK
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