11 December 2014

Edinburgh - St. Giles Cathedral

Saint Giles Cathedral is the seat of the Church of Scotland, or more appropriately the "high kirk", in Edinburgh.

Dedicated to Saint Giles, the patron saint of Edinburgh (or the greatest Watcher ever!), the present church was built in the 14th century but the oldest sections are said to date to the 12th. Given its age it was likely a Roman Catholic church prior to the 16th century Reformation; we do make a mean church.

I love buildings like this; the combination of exposed stonework, light, and high ceilings make me feel like I'm somehow outside while still enjoying the protection of being inside. We saw several churches like this in Venice and they were my favorites there are well. From the class in Roman Architecture I did I know just enough to make knowing voices and say a word here and there that sounds architectural. One of the things I do remember clearly are groin vaults which Saint Giles has in spades so I was able to wax semi intelligently about them to L.

Luckily for me L was happy to wait on one of the benches at the entrance of the church and soak up its beauty while I scampered about taking pictures from every and any aspect I thought might be interesting. Including doing several back bends so I could get a shot of those very groin vaults. Which, now that I think about it, could possibly, maybe be what lead to my back problems. I really need to start doing yoga again.

While it shouldn't surprise anyone to know that, were it up to me, I'd turn Saint Giles (back) into a Roman Catholic church. However Catholic, COS, or anything in between, any service worshiped here could not do anything but glorify God. It's too beautiful and inspirational to do anything else.

This is a must see in Edinburgh. Unlike a lot of churches visited by tourists, Saint Giles does not charge an entrance fee, per say. They do ask for a voluntary donation which goes to the building's upkeep (I'm always willing to contribute to those things) but if you want to take pictures there is a fee of 2 GBP. Which is fascinating; I've never encountered something like that. You pay your 2 GBP, get a sticker to wear inside to show you've paid, and then you're free to take as many pictures as you like. I kind of think that's a great idea especially when you compare it to places like Rosslyn Chapel (coming soon!) and Saint Paul's in London that charge really high entrance fee and forbid photography completely.

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