For Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness Challenge this week I have decided to submit this photo I took last month in Edinburgh of the Canongate Wall of the Scottish Parliament.
Click on the photo to see a larger version of that photo.
Scotland and England merged together in 1707 and from then until 1999 Scotland was ruled by the Parliament in London. But in 1999 a devolved Scottish parliament was established and in 2004 the new Scottish Parliament buildings at the bottom of the Royal Mile near the Palace of Holyroodhouse opened with a spectacular ceremony that included a parade from the old Parliament building down the Royal Mile to the new. In the old days the parade was called The Riding and it commenced at the Palace and went up the Royal Mile to the old Parliament. This Riding was in reverse: from the old Parliament building to the new buildings across from the palace.
The Parliament buildings were designed by Catalan architect Enric Miralles and the Canongate Wall was designed by Sora Smithson. The lower wall contains a sketch of Edinburgh by Miralles plus a set of 26 Scottish stones each with a famous Scottish quotation. Most of the quotes are from famous Scots such as Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. There’s even one from Andrew Carnegie (“Put all of your eggs in one basket — and then watch that basket”). See here for a list of all 26 quotes and their corresponding stones.
The upper wall displays several panels with a motif that is also on many of the other Parliament buildings. They are supposed to represent a curtain drawn back to reveal a window but critics have likened them to hair-dryers or question-marks or even toilet bowls. Anyone who has ever set foot on the Pacific island of Guam may see the resemblance to the latte stones that the ancient Chamorro people used as foundations for their houses.
Old Town Edinburgh is a medieval city. New Town Edinburgh was built mostly in the 18th century. Then there are the ultra-modern Scottish Parliament buildings. Locals either hate them or love them. The biggest controversy has been the cost. The original budget was around £40 million. The final cost was more than £400 million.
Click here to see and hear Eddi Reader sing Auld Lang Syne at the October 2004 opening ceremony in the debating chamber of the new Parliament building. By the end of the video all of the members of Parliament (including Sean Connery) and their guests are holding hands and singing with Eddi. I don’t think the Queen sang, though. But she did applaud at the end.
And don’t forget to drop by Leanne’s website to see what other photographers are doing in monochrome this week.