Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Where All These Atoms Are

I've seen lots of new things on my first day in Scotland, but my trip to St. Giles Cathedral was particularly fascinating, and I figured it was worth sharing here. The official website explains that:

"St Giles' Cathedral is the historic City Church of Edinburgh. With its famed crown spire it stands on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, it is the Mother Church of Presbyterianism and contains the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland's chivalric company of knights headed by the Queen)."

It really has everything - beauty, grandeur, history... plus monsters and grotesques. I came across this place via my usual strategy: getting lost. Works every time.

I love the gargoyles around the front entrance.

Especially these little guys, who merge with the foliage atop the columns.

 This one looked so worried.


 Inside the building are high arched ceilings, stained glass windows, marble memorials, and intricate wooden carvings. It really reminded me of the opulent style of decoration I saw in Westminster Abbey, albeit on a smaller scale.

Some very ornate memorials. This one is for James Stewart, Earl of Moray, who apparently holds the dubious title of 'first person ever to be assassinated via firearm.'

This next one is for Archibald Campbell Marovess of Argyll. The headstone explains that he was beheaded near the cathedral in 1661. Why? Read more here.

Very nice mosaic on the floor of this one.

While the cathedral is beautiful, the thing that literally took my breath away was the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle. Situated inside the larger building, this small room is full of densely packed wooden carvings.

The pics are a little blurry, but you get the idea. Everything is ornamented, even the doorknob and keyhole.

Should be visiting Edinburgh Castle in the next few days, before the conference starts, so will hopefully have more interesting pics to share very soon.

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