Rosslyn Chapel’s intense beauty and mystery

Rosslyn Chapel emerges from the green hills near Edinburgh
Rosslyn Chapel emerges from the green hills near Edinburgh

We never read the Da Vinci Code but that didn’t stop us from exploring a place that seems suspended in time and space.  Do the floors underneath the chapel house the Holy Grail or only the buried remains of royalty in their armor?  Whatever may be the case the Chapel itself has a presence of holiness within and around its carefully preserved walls.

Rosslyn Chapel was the personal chapel of a family who are well represented in the nearby cemetery
Rosslyn Chapel was the personal chapel of a family who are well represented in the nearby cemetery

There is a lot to admire about Rosslyn Chapel even before one gets into its 570 year history.  That it survived at all during Cromwell’s time and the tendency to destroy all things Catholic is a miracle in itself.  I simply appreciated the delicate beauty of the sandstone carvings that have been saved repeatedly by dedicated people who, even if they did not agree with the exact religious ideas that inspired the carvings, at least spared them for the rest of us.

The ceiling, walls, arch ways and window sills are filled with beautiful, fading works of the artists who were inspired to create them.

The ceiling panels are covered with flowers and stars.
The ceiling panels are covered with flowers and stars.

imageThere is rich symbolism everywhere such as in these carvings where Death on the left is depicted as a continual presence in life.

Rosslyn’s exterior is almost as detailed as the interior, but, of course there is more weathering of the surfaces.  The pale sandstone stands out across the green hills and gives the appearance of the chapel as being solidly on the earth but at the same time as having her head in the clouds.

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Once again there are excellent resources about the Chapel available on line including the official website www.rosslynchapel.com

I particularly liked the comments/ stories written by the local residents in this blog: http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/scotland/mid-lothian/featured-sites/rosslyn-chapel-roslin-castle.html

The blog also mentions Rosslyn Castle which is not far away.  Though the castle grounds themselves are not accessible I took some photos of the bridge to the grounds

View to the ruins of Rosslyn Castle across the castle bridge
View to the ruins of Rosslyn Castle across the castle bridge
Path under the bridge and around the castle
Path under the bridge and around the castle

It was a perfect day for walking along the pathways past stone walls and flowering trees.  It was a reminder that we had experienced imagespring in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and France and spring was catching up to us in Scotland.

We headed back to the chapel where there are excellent interactive displays about Rosslyn as well as a nice cafe.  The tables were full and this couple needed a place to sit so we invited them over.  imageGordon, from England, and his wife Sophia, from Poland, talked about their respective countries and shared a bit about their lives.  As we warmed up in the sun we sipped our tea and talked about retirement and the joys of travel.

Rosslyn Chapel continues to invite people from all over the world.  There are volunteer lectures given every other hour by people who obviously love the chapel deeply and are highly dedicated.  Rosslyn Chapel is only a short bus ride from Edinburgh but it seems entirely removed from the rest of the world.  It’s not what is written about Rosslyn but the place itself, it’s very presence and beauty that is what makes it outstanding.  All things this beautiful contain layers of mystery waiting to be discovered.

 

Author: talks2trees

I'm a recent writer and retired teacher. Married for more than half my life to Ariana I am content now to travel with her to warm places while snow swirls around our home in upstate NY where we live two houses away from my son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Our daughter lives just a block away so our decision to travel is not without a consequence. However we have taken very few vacations in our married life so this journey, that starts in Costa Rica, is very new.

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