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ST Giles Cathedral from the top of the mound
  ST Giles Cathedral from the mound
© 1998-04 Firstcity Publications

ST Giles is the home of the High Kirk of Edinburgh. The site has contained a church since the mid 850’s AD with the current building originating from the fifteenth century. One of the impressive features of the building is its handsome open crown steeple which is supported by eight flying buttresses.

The exterior was controversially refaced in 1829 and as a result appears a little sanitised for such an old building. The interior however has kept its rugged appeal which can be observed in the Thistle Chapel which is noted for its wood carving.

Among the famous Scott’s commemorated within the Kirk is the writer Robert Louis Stevenson. His most famous works including Kidnapped and Dr Jeckle and Mr Hyde. The author's father was an even more prolific engineer responsible for the invention of the steam engine (Stevenson's Rocket), the first lighthouses in Scotland and Regent Road which was blasted through Carlton Hill in the 1800’s. MAP

National Monument on top of Carlton Hill
     National Monument
© 1998-04 Firstcity Publications

Calton Hill is situated in the east end of Edinburgh’s centre. The view from one side looks back down the length of Princes Street towards the castle, the view in the other directions look out over the New Town, the Firth of Forth and Holyrood Palace at the foot of Arthur’s Seat.

The night time view is superb and comes alive even more in April when the Beltane Festival, with its fire procession welcomes the coming of summer in true pagan style. Festivities begin with a fire and drum display on the National monument.

The monument was begun in 1816 to commemorate the dead of the Napolionic wars. It was modelled on the Parthenon of Athens, but money ran out so the monument now stands uncompleted.

The hill is also home to the Old Observatory (1792) and the City Observatory (1818) both of which have been responsible for Edinburgh’s tradition in astronomy. The site is still used by the Edinburgh Astronomical Society but major research is now carried out at the city's Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill.

For more information on their current work
visit the
Royal Observatory web site.


Situated in the East side of Princes Street Gardens the two hundred foot tall monument is a tribute to the Scottish author Walter Scott (1771-1832). The monument contains a statue of the author seated with his dog Maida at his feet. Carvings of characters from Scottish history and the authors books adorn the outside of the monument.

The monument is open to the public for a small fee and the two hundred and eighty seven steps can be climbed to give an impressive view of the city.

The author himself is a major part of the Writers Museum’s on going exhibition on Scottish writers. His life being one of great output and tragedy, the author writing approximately twenty four books in twelve years in an effort to clear his buisness debts.


Information © 1998-04 Firstcity Publications. Design © 2000 Douglas Mutch.