Tuesday 10 September 2013

Edinburgh's Calton Hill - Athens of the North

Scotland as a whole has bountiful natural beauty and within that setting its capital Edinburgh has beautiful buildings and location. I spent two days in Edinburgh recently which actually meant I had very little time to do justice to the city's monuments, buildings, nature walks, gardens and culture to be fully appreciated.

The National Monument of Scotland at Calton Hill, Edinburgh

On my second day I hiked to Calton Hill where several monuments of national importance are located with the National Monument taking the pride of the place. The Calton Hill is just about 20 minutes walk from the railway station.

The National Monument was built from 1822 to 1829 to commemorate the Scottish soldiers who died during the Napoleonic wars of 1803-1815. In 18th century Edinburgh was a known city of intellectual brilliance and beautiful architecture. Many buildings in this city have been built in the Greek neo-classical style. The National monument itself is based on the Parthenon in Athens. The monument could not be completed due to lack of funds. That is why it also has got nicknames like "Edinburgh's Folly" or "Scotland's Disgrace". Architects of this monument were C R Cockerell and William H Playfair. Playfair also designed the Dugald Stewart monument (see below).

The National Monument & the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill as seen from Arthur's Seat

The buildings on Calton Hill gave the city the reputation and the title of the ‘Athens of the North’. The Hill also has the City Observatory, Dugald Stewart Monument and the Nelson's Monument.

Dugald Stewart Monument, Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Dugald Stewart, (1753 to 1828) was a Scottish Philosopher and Mathematician of great repute. The monument in memory of Dugald Stewart was completed in 1831. The monument is modelled on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, Greece and is a circular temple of 9 fluted Corinthian columns around an elevated urn.

The Nelson Monument, Calton Hill, Edinburgh 

Also on the Calton Hill is the Nelson monument, built between 1807 and 1815 in the memory of Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Viscount Nelson and of the great victory of Trafalgar which he achieved over the French and the Spanish. It has a shape of an upturned telescope designed by architect Robert Burn. There is also a monument with his statue in the Trafalgar Square in London.

The Portuguese Cannon, Calton Hill, Edinburgh

On the Calton Hill I also saw a cannon with a lot of history behind it. This Portuguese cannon has travelled the World! Cast in brass in the early 15th century with the Royal Arms of Spain on its barrel the cannon was transported to the Portuguese colonies of South East Asia sometime before 1785. Then the cannon came into possession of King of Arakan in Burma (now Myanmar) and then captured by the British in 1885 during their invasion of Burma. In 1886 the cannon was presented to Edinburgh and placed on the Calton Hill in 1887.

Stewart Monument with Edinburgh City as a backdrop

Calton Hill was formed due to volcanic activity and is now part of the Old and the New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site. The views from here of the city, the Edinburgh fort, the Princess Street and the Arthur’s Seat are spectacular. Besides the monuments the Calton Hill also has a network of paths around the hill for general walking giving the 360 degree view of the city. One of the paths here is name as Hume's Walk after the most famous Scottish philosopher David Hume.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Portuguese cannon was made in Lisbon, in 1624, so in the 17th century.
When british took the cannon in Burma, it was offered to the Queen Victoria and then put in Edinbourg.
The crown, belongs to King Phillip of Spain and also King of Portugal, because between 1580 and 1640 our King was spanish King. Indeed we lost independence.