There are wonderful juxtapositions of layers of history, all around the ancient heart of Edinburgh. The famous castle, so emblematic of the city, sits on the core of an ancient long extinct volcano. Formed 340 million years ago, this rocky foundation sets the scene for wonderful tales which ripple out across the ages. Around 1000 years before Christ was born, the ancient inhabitants of this land built upon this towering rock, and people have looked out across the landscape from here ever since. The tales of King Arthur and his family are woven deeply into the landscape, and they still echo in our minds today. Known as the Castle of the Maidens, this was an ancient holy site, sacred to the cult of the nine maidens, and Arthur’s mother Igraine was initiated here at the heart of the land of her birth.
Far below these sacred rocks lies the wonderful golden fountain of the maidens, in Princes Street gardens. Forged in France, the Ross fountain was erected here over 140 years ago, to much public outcry at the indecent nature of the voluptuous maidens. In many ways it is perfectly fitting, following in the long tradition of female veneration at the site, and yet the juxtaposition of golden French fantasy next to the robust and rugged rocks and stones of the castle and it’s rock make for an interesting contrast.
In many ways Edinburgh is a city of wonderful contrasts, with its ancient volcanic bedrock still shaping the landscape today. Arthur’s Seat rises uncompromising and unapologetic in the centre of the city, giving us the gift of a wild and rugged mountain scape surrounded by the ever expanding flow of houses, churches and shops. The contrast between natures beauty and mans attempts, are served up side by side, leaving no doubt about the winner. It’s hard to ignore the layers of history when they are revealed so clearly before us. Old and new sit comfortably together, but the enduring qualities of natures creations are a humbling reminder about our place in the world. The collective endeavors of our ancestors are the layers which last, and that’s worth remembering in these self focused times. History rolls on, leaving stories and clues in her wake.
See more juxtapositions at the DP weekly photo challenge