Friday, January 06, 2012

Royal Mile

From the 30th November to the 2nd December we (BA3 students ) went to Edinburgh. We spent most of the time on the Royal Mile. It is a succession of streets which form the main street (roughly one mile long) of the Old Town of Edinburgh. Geographically speaking, it is located on the ridge of an extinct volcano. The steep street runs between Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle. Down the street, opposite Holyrood Palace (where Elizabeth II stays when she comes to Edinburgh) the Scottish Parliament lies. A little bit further there is Saint Giles’ Cathedral. That is the High Kirk of Scotland. According to some legends Giles’ only friend was a deer. The animal was once pursued by the royal hunters and the arrow shot, hurt Giles and not the deer. Seeing this, the King was touched and decided to build a monastery to honour him. Saint Giles is now the patron saint of Edinburgh. Inside the cathedral stands the massive organ which is one of the main striking features of the building. It has not less than 4,000 pipes: absolutely stunning! Next to the cathedral there is the Heart of Midlothian on which many people spit. There are two reasons: a historical one and a sportive one. Until the 19th century the Old Tolbooth, the administrative centre of Edinburgh, stood there. This was also the place where executions took place. At that time crimes had to be solved very quickly and many innocent people were hung. Therefore people spit on the door of the Old Tolbooth in order to show their contempt for the local authorities. The second reason is the following one: the Heart is also the symbol of an Edinburgh football club. The supporters of the other Edinburgh football team are used to spit on the heart as a sign of rivalry. Next to the cathedral stands the Parliament House which, originally, housed the Parliament of Scotland until the early 18th century. It is now home to the Supreme Courts of Scotland. Its parking lot lies on the former graveyard of the Cathedral. What is very special about it, it is the parking space no 23 under which John Knox, one of the leading figures of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, is believed to be buried. On the top of the Royal Mile stands Edinburgh Castle on its Castle Rock. From the outside, it is very amazing and impressive to look at the massive Castle on its rock and the view, from the Castle, on Edinburgh is simply breathtaking. Visiting the Edinburgh Castle is a must if you go to the capital of Scotland.

To sum up the Royal Mile is the historical heart of Edinburgh with Holyrood Palace, Saint Giles’ Cathedral, and Edinburgh Castle.

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