St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh
This summer my husband and I spent six days in Edinburgh and today I found a leaflet on St Giles’ Cathedral on the table waiting for being put somewhere.
I remembered that I was drawn to the big church in the middle of the Old Town, and even though we went in twice to see it, I realise that I missed seeing a lot. It’s often so you go in and you don’t know what to chose to see. It is an incredible thought that people have been in such an old building for nearly a thousand years! A lot of knowledge can be found at the St Giles’ webpage. It is also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh! In English, the word for church is “Kirke”. The outstanding stained glass windows are from the 19th and 20th centuries. They are difficult to show on photos.
The Cathedral stands on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse
the area just outside takes you back to the old days where quick executions and other punishments were entertainments in everyday life.
From the leaflet
St Giles was a prince born in Athens around 650 AD. He went to France and became a hermit in the forests around Nimes. Legend says that one day King Wamba of the Goths was hunting and shot an arrow at a deer St Giles had tamed. To save his companion, st Giles blocked the shaft with his hand, hence depictions of St Giles with an arrow through his hand. Later, he became the patron saint of lepers and cripples.
More information on the leaflet:
The Cathedral dates from 12th century (Norman architecture) but was rebuilt in a Gothic style in the 14th to 16th century.
Built as a Catholic Church, the cathedral became Presbyterian after the Scottish Reformation (c.1560), with John Knox being the first Protestant minister.
Behind the Cathedral, at a parking lot, there is a stone that tells us that the grave of the famous John Knox is here. The typical English sense of humour.
Edinburgh is renowned for their poets and writers, and you can see a relief bronze portrait of the writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) He was sick all his short life but managed to travel a lot despite that.
We got the idea to visit Edinburgh because of one painting by Vermeer on an exhibition at the Queen’s Palace of Holyroodhouse. We got so much more though that picture really was worth the travel.