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The Royal Mile comprises four, linear, conjoined streets: Castle Hill; Lawnmarket; High Street; and Canongate. Closes are listed below from west to east, divided between the south and north sides of the street. This list names closes currently in existence. Since the Council encourages recreation of closes in new developments the list is not static. New buildings traditionally incorporate the name of the close that historically existed on the same site. This steep and narrow close, believed to date from 1544, offers attractive views to Princes Street and the Scott's Monument. John Scougall, painter to William III and Queen Mary, was an early resident here, as was Bishop Bothwell (Abbot of Holyrood House 1570). It takes its name from Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, the last Advocate of Scotland in office during the time of the Restoration, Revolution and Union. Advocate's Close leads to Cockburn Street. The Royal Mile  is the name given to a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. The name was first used in W M Gilbert's Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century (1901), and was further popularised as the title of a guidebook, published in 1920. The thoroughfare, as the name suggests, is approximately one Scots mile long and runs downhill between two significant locations in the history of Scotland, namely Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. The streets which make up the Royal Mile are (west to east) Castlehill, the Lawnmarket, the High Street, the Canongate and Abbey Strand. The Royal Mile is the busiest tourist street in the Old Town, rivalled only by Princes Street in the New Town.

The Castle Esplanade was laid out as a parade ground, in 1753, using spoil from the building of the Royal Exchange (now the City Chambers). It was formalised in 1816 when it was widened and provided with decorative railings and walls. The Esplanade with its several monuments has been A-listed by Historic Scotland. It is the venue of the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo at which time specially designed temporary grandstands are erected. Cannonball House is notable for a cannonball lodged in the wall, often said to have been accidentally fired from the Castle but which actually marks the elevation of Comiston springs, three miles to the south of the Castle, which fed a cistern on Castlehill, one of the first piped water supplies in Scotland. From the Castle Esplanade, the short section of road entitled Castlehill is dominated by the former Tolbooth-Highland-St John's Church (on the south side at the foot of this section), now the headquarters of the Edinburgh International Festival society - The Hub, and on the north side by the Outlook Tower and Camera Obscura. The Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland and New College are further down on the same side, in an architecturally somewhat understated building as seen from this side. The Scottish Parliament met in the Assembly Hall between 1999 and 2004.

Today, the Royal Mile is an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, pubs and visitor attractions. During the annual Edinburgh Festival, the High Street becomes crowded with tourists, entertainers and buskers. Parliament Square is at the heart of Scotland's legal system, being the home of both the High Court of Justiciary and the Court of Session. In January 2012, the City of Edinburgh Council held a summit with residents, traders and other interested parties to discuss the issue of tourist merchandise, described by some as 'Tartan Tat', taking over the street, and how the Royal Mile can be made into a five-star visitor attraction.

Ref: DP478

Gallery: Other

Advocates Close

Edinburgh.

Scotland.

United Kingdom


Advocates Close

The Old Town of Edinburgh, Scotland, consisted originally of the main street, now known as the Royal Mile, and the small alleyways and courtyards that led off it to the north and south. These were usually named after a memorable occupant of one of the apartments reached by the common entrance, or a trade plied by one or more residents. Generically such an alleyway is termed a close, a Scots term for alleyway, although it may be individually named close, entry, court, or wynd. A close is private property, hence gated and closed to the public, whereas a wynd is an open thoroughfare, usually wide enough for a horse and cart. Most slope steeply down from the Royal Mile creating the impression of a herring-bone pattern formed by the main street and side streets when viewed on a map. Many have steps and long flights of stairs. Because of the need for security within its town walls against English attacks in past wars, Edinburgh experienced a pronounced density in housing. Closes tend to be narrow with tall buildings on both sides, giving them a canyon-like appearance and atmosphere.

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