Parliament Square

Parliament Square (West Side)
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Parliament Square (West Side)

Located to the south of Edinburgh's High Street, behind St. Giles Kirk, is Parliament Square. The square was built on the kirkyard of St. Giles, and it was here that the religious reformer John Knox (c.1513-72) lies buried. The square was created in the early 19th C., following the work of Robert Reid (1774 - 1856) on a new frontage for the old Parliament House. It was extended as part of the redevelopment of the old Parliament Close, following a fire in 1824. Parliament House, to the rear, is now home to the High Court and incorporates the 17th Century Parliament Hall. To the east is the Signet Library, noted for its fine interior and behind that the Advocate's Library. Edinburgh's Mercat Cross lies to the northeast and the Heart of Midlothian is emblazoned on the cobbled pavement to the northwest, outside the main entrance to St. Giles.

In the centre of the square is a statue of Charles II mounted on a horse. Unusually, the statue is made from lead and one of the earliest equestrian statues in Britain (c.1685), although was probably made in the Netherlands.

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