Tour of Edinburgh’s Underground World

My pals and I in St Giles Cathedral taking selfies before the concert.

Hello Everyone,

So my time here in Scotland is fleetingly coming to a close. So I’ve tried to pack in as many things as I can with the time I have left. Last weekend my friends and flat mates Oscar Newlands, Pierre Park, Benjamin Moody, Amir Botros, and I all went out to take a tour to see Edinburgh’s old Underground world. The name of the place is Mary King’s Close, and it is a warren of underground streets and spaces.  It can be a strange concept to understand – back in the 1600’s, Mary King’s Close and neighbouring Closes were at the heart of Edinburgh’s busiest and most vibrant streets, open to the skies and bustling with traders selling their wares to the Old Town’s residents. Why would this street find itself underground 400 years later?

The entrance

For years, the hidden Closes of Old Town Edinburgh have been shrouded in myths and mysteries, with blood curdling tales of ghosts and murders, and of plague victims being walled up and left to die.  Research and archaeological evidence have revealed a truer story, rooted in fact and – as is so often the case – more fascinating than any amount of fiction.

With a costumed character tour guide based on a one time resident, we were led through the underground site, and heard so many fascinating stories. When we went down in there it was like entering another world. My lads and I had an awesome time and we’d recommend it fully to anyone planning to visit the city of Edinburgh. It is very dark and dank but it all adds to the ghostly feeling of the place, and there is even supposed to be a ghost of a young girl who was a plague victim in the 1600s. That could definitely be possible because Edinburgh is known as one of the most haunted cities in the world. But all in all, is was an excellent time and we really enjoyed ourselves.

A miniature recreation of what Mary King’s Close looked like before it was built on top of.

The ye olden folk ready to give us a tour of there old homes.

Ancient dark rooms underneath the city

A picture of the street underground from a balcony.

My friends and I wearing plague doctor masks

Picture of all of us underground using a UV light so see if ghosts would appear haha!

Afterward we went out and stumbled upon a concert in St. Giles’ Cathedral (which is the main cathedral in the Church of Scotland also known as the Presbyterian Church). There we heard the Edinburgh Quartet play very relaxing and beautiful music for about an hour. Then our last stop for the night was a chicken wings place to get some grub. I ordered a garlic parmesan sauce on my wings and it immediately reminded me of The Goose bar back in Pennsylvania, close Albright College. My friends and I used to go to The Goose every Friday to get wings, so when I had that same sauce here in Edinburgh I hit a real nostalgic moment. Haha nothing like getting nostalgic over a wings sauce. But with my return to Albright quickly nearing perhaps when I head back to The Goose it will remind me of times here in Edinburgh.

St. Giles’ Cathedral

In St. Giles’ Cathedral awaiting the concert to begin

The Wings place with my pals!

Tip for all those studying abroad: don’t waste any time because time does go very quickly, so try to get in as much as you can. Even though you may feel tired and exhausted from seeing so much, push yourself to see more and you will surely thank yourself in the end.

Cheers Everyone, Alexio

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