Sitting on The Mound in the heart of Edinburgh is a Grecian style temple dedicated to the arts. If it sounds out of place don’t be fooled. Physically this ramped road links the two halves of historic Edinburgh, the cramped and jumbled Old Town and the elegant spacious New Town. The temple itself links the historic art of the past with modern contemporary and emerging Scottish art. It is a beautiful building in an iconic and unmissable site, and I think it looks best by lamplight, as was planned when it was opened in 1835.
The Doric columns which adorn the temple, are typical of the Greek Revival style of architecture which you can see all around Edinburgh’s New Town. The Scottish enlightenment led to a love of all things classic, and William Henry Playfair, who designed the building had planned for a statue of Pallas Athena to sit on top of this eye catching site. She was considered the patron Goddess of architecture, as her temple in Athens was considered the touchstone of perfection for enlightenment architects. It never happened, but in 1844 a huge statue of Queen Victoria was placed here instead.
The whole site underwent a redesign in 2004, and a huge underground connecting space between this temple, the Royal Scottish Academy, and it’s next door neighbour the National Gallery of Scotland, expanded the exhibition space enormously. The traditional style lamps and wrought iron railings were replaced at this time, and I love the lighting effects these old fashioned lamps produce at night. You can almost imagine the clop of hooves as carriages drive past, and the swish of long silk skirts up the stone steps.
See more nighttime shots at this weeks WP challenge.