July 1, Wednesday
The Old Town of Edinburgh is nestled at the foot of a the hill on which a castle stands. The castle is more than a building, but a cluster of buildings within the thick walls that seem to grow from the cliff-side rock to protect them.
This view [left] supports the illusion of a unified castle fortress. The stone gives spine to the boast that the castle has never been taken by force, though today it was overrun with we wee tourists.
In the panorama above, the castle would be off to the right and just out of sight.
Each building demonstrates a Scottish talent for remarkable stonework. If you enlarge this image [click on it] you will see that the upper sections of the tower, together with columns that support the corners of the tower, and the crenelated parapet across the top are all set with large, rectangular, smooth blocks, presumably for strength. The walls are fashioned with irregular stones and pebbles that give the surface between the windows a soft, tweed look. One might first think that the masons got lazy, but it is hard to believe that the building would be as beautiful it the surface were all flat stone.
We happened to be there at the changing of the guard, but IMAX entertainment this ain’t:
At the gates of the castle lies a large open space into which a temporary arena is constructed annually, partially overhanging the cliffside. These newest stands cost about $25 million and can be erected in one month. From August 7 to the 29th, the military tattoo and other musical spectacles will entertain over 200,000 people. Already erected, the Scots would rather be early than late. Cantilevered or not, what the Scots build does not fall down. For more information about the seating, Tattoo seating