Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Monumental

Returning to Calton Hill, we were somewhat startled to find the area far more busy than on our previous visits. The whole of Edinburgh was far busier than before with an abundance of American, Japanese and German tourists. The Germans will never get out of the way, the Japanese are always taking 'selfies' in front of everything and the Americans are loud and know it all! Xenophobia? Never heard of it!
Among the beautiful buildings on the hill is the Old Observatory House. Designed in the 18th century and originally inhabited by architect James Craig and his family, it was taken over for a short time by astronomers until the 'proper' observatory was built nearby.
 The building is currently rented out and not open to the public.
Close by, the Dugald Stewart Monument looks out over the vista of Edinburgh. Dugald Stewart was a Scottish Philosopher and mathematician who was a leading light in the Scottish Enlightenment - that 18th century outpouring of scientific and cultural accomplishments. The inscription reads:
DUGALD STEWART
Born November 22 1753
Died June 11 1828
Overlooked by the monuments on Calton Hill, another monument is to be found a little further down the hillside, by the side of the A1 road - the Robert Burns Monument.
The monument once contained a life-size statue of Burns by John Flaxman R. A. who was commissioned in 1824. The statue was later removed because of damage caused by smoke from a nearby gasworks, which was attacking the marble. It is now in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street.
Lastly for today, another picture of the National Monument atop Calton Hill. Always worth another picture, it was a little tricky on this occasion, to get a picture without too many tourists getting in on the act.
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