Architecture in Edinburgh

Architecture in Edinburgh -Anastasia Niforos

We spent the last four days in Edinburgh, Scotland and I spent a lot of time admiring the architecture of the city. Many of the buildings had this old, goth look which gave off this aged and historic feel. This resembled the entire city and I realized that this was a form of mass communication. The history of Edinburgh is kept alive even though we are in a time of modernization. I rarely see this being resembled in the U.S. Many of the old buildings that used to stand to get torn down and new ones are built. While in Edinburgh the buildings stay standing because they shed light on the important events and times within the city.

If you walk down the streets you will notice many apartments built together. These are of all shapes and sizes. Cobblestone roads have remained in tacked as well. Old brick and stone are what keep these buildings standing. As I walked around the city I felt as if I was back in the 17th century. As I strolled through the different neighborhoods I was in awe of everything around me. Sometimes I forgot I was in the 21st century because of the architecture. I think this is a form of mass communication because it draws you into the feeling of being back centuries ago. The city has kept these buildings to show this and I think it allows visitors to experience a new life. Taking them away from the modern time that they’re living in and bringing them back to a place long ago.

There were differences between the buildings throughout Edinburgh and the buildings in the U.S. A lot of what was made in Edinburgh was built by hand and made to last. The stones were strong and sturdy. As I walked around the city I touched many of the buildings and realized how hard they were. These buildings have been standing for hundreds of years and even though they look old they are still in great shape. What I have seen in the U.S. are more steel and tempered glass. This communicates more of a modern feel that is moving towards that technological future. They are drifting away from the brick and stone. The architecture in the city of Edinburgh communicates their history. The old buildings have remained as well as the cobblestone roads.

Another thing I noticed about the architecture was the old lamp posts that are still scattered along the city. Many are tall, black and aren’t electric. The only way to get light was through kerosene. Even though these lamps are in use they remain standing. I contemplated as to why this might be and figured it was because of the old rich history that the entire city presented itself with. The old buildings and cobblestone roads. The lamps also went with this feel. I realized I hadn’t seen a lamp like that anywhere in the U.S. For me, this communicated that feeling of being back in the 17 centuries. People wearing long cloaks, carriages being pulled by horses and children playing on the streets. I was walking through the city in modern time though and it was crazy to me that architecture had the power to communicate something like this.


I also noticed the statues that were presented within the neighborhoods. Many were stood tall on a large stone below them. The actual figure was made out of limestone and wore a long cloak. Many of these statues were historical figures that were proudly known in Edinburgh for their status or well done for the city. I liked the statues that were presented everywhere because it acknowledges the history. I haven’t seen many of these in the U.S. except for monumental figures that have become a national enterprise. I think the statues within Edinburgh communicate the honoring of these figures and what they meant to the city. Not only does it continue to go along with that old, both look and feel, but literally brings the history to life. We are able to see these figures as a statue for the way they looked and dressed which brings us back to those times. It takes away from the present and brings us back to the past.


I think the most interesting aspect of Edinburgh was Greyfriars Kirkyard. I went there with my study abroad group because this actually where J.K. Rowling walked through to find the names of characters in the Harry Potter series. As I wandered through the graveyard I was in awe. I had never been to one that was so old and rustic. The stones were worn and distressed. I was surprised tombstones were still standing. There were many where the words couldn’t be made out anymore because they looked so weathered. When I think about it, the graveyards in the U.S. don’t look nearly anything like the one in Edinburgh. Many of the tombstones are made out of marble and are spread out evenly. They are very simple and easy for maintenance because the tombs are built flat.


To me, the graveyard in Edinburgh communicates a dark and scary feeling. I felt like spirts were lurking around me as I walked through. It took me away from the 21st century for a bit. I forgot about the modern times that were around me and took in what I was seeing in front of me. When I walk through a graveyard in the U.S. I feel almost peaceful and serene because of the upkeep of the place. The tombstones are marble and cleaned every so often. People leave flowers for their loved ones that have passed.

As I look back at my time in Edinburgh I feel like I stepped out of 21st century and into a place of rich and dark history. The architecture presented throughout the city was old, rustic and gothic. It was nice to be within a place that didn’t feel like a modern-day city. It communicated the past while being in the present and I think that’s what made the architecture of Edinburgh so powerful.


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