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Logo.jpg Edinburgh: Canongate

The lower third of the Royal Mile traces down the volcanic tail through the Canongate up to the Palace of Holyroodhouse’s black iron fences. Described by Daniel Defoe as “largest, longest and finest street for number of buildings and number of inhabitants in the world,” its glorious assortment of medieval skyscrapers enclose the narrow cobblestone path. Augustinian canons from Holyrood Abbey who founded the burgh in 1128 installed a tollbooth and privileged markets for guildsmen and traders, marked out today by inlaid bronze plaques and St. John’s Cross in mosaics. Fishmongers and brewers are long gone, scared off by slum clearances in the 1950s and 60s that altered the character of Canongate from industrial to mixed residential and commercial purposes. Only the old kirk and its haunted medieval cemetery seem immune to the changes.

Tenements loom high overhead and casting long shadows over a thicket of sandwich boards and painted signs meant to catch tourists’ eyes. Ubiquitous Scottish souvenir shops profess to sell an authentic experience at a murderous mark-up, jewelry stores next to tartan and postcard vendors of dubious provenance. Landmarks, like the home of firebrand Presbyterian preacher John Knox and the original Tolbooth, now a bar, struggle to stand out amongst clashing facades and overloaded shopfronts. Hostels and cheap hotels on higher floors cater to backpackers, the occasional high end accommodations advertised by slatted blinds and window planters. Gloomy entrances to closes and wynds burrow down the steep slopes into dark, recessed stairwells that lead who knows where.


Zone: Old Town
Grid: DT D4
Resources: 3
Security: 4

Businesses: Analogue
Bohemian Apothecary
Affiliations: None

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