A visit to Rosslyn Chapel
Edinburgh is a tourist hotspot but students can enjoy its attractions all year round. Ossana, a Student Ambassador, went to Rosslyn Chapel.
The end of exams put me into a touristy mood. It is during these times, even more than usual, that I feel immensely glad that I chose to study in Edinburgh. The city offers endless beautiful spots and close proximity to other unbelievable sites.
I decided to take a trip to Rosslyn Chapel, only an hour bus ride outside of the city. It received many great reviews, and is renowned for its intricate carvings, and is considered one of the finest churches in Scotland. Built in 1446, the chapel has played critical roles in Scottish history, and continues to be a place of worship and an important site in Scotland.
The chapel was everything one could expect and more. Unfortunately, photographs were not allowed within the building, so you can be assured that the following is spoiler free. The church is rather small, but every wall, ceiling, and column is covered in intricate carvings and sculptures. The themes carved include Christian themes, as one would expect, such as the Seven Sins, angels playing instruments (including the bagpipe!), and the face of the Christ (hidden among the stars on the ceiling). But there are also more obscure themes which even experts are still baffled about. Among the decorations are ‘Green Men’ faces, that may have to do with paganism. Also among the carvings are ears of corn, monkeys, and the face of a frustrated master-smith staring angrily upon the superior work of his apprentice (there is a humorous story that goes with it, but I shall not ruin if for you).
My experience in the church consisted of repeatedly saying “Wow!” and playing a game of Medieval ‘Where’s Wally?’ (“Where’s the angel with the bagpipe? No. Not that one, that one is holding a harp! How many Green Men have you found? I’ve only found three. Oh wait, there’s a fourth!”).
In 2003, Rosslyn Chapel was featured in the bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code. Subsequently, the 2006 movie adaption, starring Tom Hanks, was filmed in part in the chapel.
Perhaps slightly to my disappointment, the local guide told us that the Star of David which was featured in the movie was nothing more than a prop, a sticker stuck on the wall. The sticker has since been removed, but it left a green mark which you can still easily find if you know where to look. Some think it damages the church, but it is undeniable that that mark has attracted many keen Hollywood worshippers there.
If you are still not convinced to make the trip, let me assure you that just outside the chapel is a beautiful visitors’ center and a café that overlooks the best of nature. Coffee, views, and Medieval treasures: What more can one ask for?
While one cannot necessarily trust what one reads in books (especially one written by Dan Brown), you can be assured that Rosslyn Chapel is truly as beautiful as they claim, if not more. And while it may not contain the Holy Grail, there are secrets and unsolved mysteries hidden on every wall, column, and in its mysterious crypt, just waiting for someone to solve them…
Address: Rosslyn Chapel, Chapel Loan, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9PU
Opening times: Seasonal differences (please refer to website – https://www.rosslynchapel.com/)