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Report 136: Edinburgh in Two

By Alice Twain from Italy, Summer 2003

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Page 6 of 10: Chapter V. What we have seen: out of town, Rosslyn and the Chapel

On one of our very last days (all right, we were there for but one week we had early days, last days and nothing in between!) we took a bus to Rosslyn to see the chapel.

Roslin or Rosslyn is a small country village 50 minutes by bus (Lothians' 15a departing from Princes Street, 1 pound) south of Edinburgh. The ride there leads across the outskirts of the city and than across a nice landscape of hills, and it is somewhat funny that less than one hour since leaving the center of Edinburgh, one might find himself or herself in the middle of a countryside inhabited by sheep and cows. Rosslyn is small, pretty, full of flowers and offers some nice, non-tiring walks (we took the direction of a monument, a mound to some battle fought in the area, and walked for an hour).

The Chapel itself was built in the XIV century, in multicolored marble and in a very ornate gothic style. The outside shows signs of decay, the pinnacles eroded by rain. Recently, the structure has been topped with a large structure and the roofing removed, so to allow the stones to dry out and some conservative works to take place. In 2010 it is planned to place a new roofing and remove the protective structure. The insides of the chapel are also undergoing some restoration, but in this case the works are much less invasive. Also, the insides of the chapel are almost textured with sculptures that invade any surface. It is impossible to say how much work might have been needed to produce this gem, and I find it impossible to describe the inside of the chapel in anyother way than a very generic "stunning" or "magnificent".

A bit of history and legend. The chapel was bound to be but a part of a very large church, which is said to have been founded by a journier to America, that occurred one century before Columbus discovered the New World. A few of the sculptures in the chappel are also said to portray American plants (corn and cactus). I took a long look at them: if you know that they are supposed to be corn and cactus, you may see a resemblance... Sadly, the building was stopped when the two transepts were just starting to be built, so what should have been a huge church ended up as a simple chapel. Also, the chapel has been connected to Masonic groups and even to Ufo landings. RATING: *****

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