Fodor's Expert Review Greyfriars Kirkyard

Old Town Cemetery
Free Fodor's Choice

This sprawling, hillside graveyard, surely one of the most evocative in Europe (particularly at twilight), is a giddy mess of old, tottering tombstones that mark the graves of some of Scotland's most respected heroes and despised villains. Many of these inspired character names in the Harry Potter book series; fans can seek out Potters, McGonagalls, and Moodies, to name a few. Among the larger tombs arranged in avenues and the seemingly random assortment of grave markers, lie two rare surviving mortsafes: iron cages erected around graves in the early 1800s to prevent the theft of corpses for sale to medical schools.

At the southern end of the graveyard stands Greyfriars Kirk, the church where the National Covenant—a document declaring the Presbyterian Church in Scotland independent of the monarchy, and which plunged Scotland into decades of civil war—was signed in 1638. Nearby, at the corner of George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row, stands one of Scotland's most photographed... READ MORE

This sprawling, hillside graveyard, surely one of the most evocative in Europe (particularly at twilight), is a giddy mess of old, tottering tombstones that mark the graves of some of Scotland's most respected heroes and despised villains. Many of these inspired character names in the Harry Potter book series; fans can seek out Potters, McGonagalls, and Moodies, to name a few. Among the larger tombs arranged in avenues and the seemingly random assortment of grave markers, lie two rare surviving mortsafes: iron cages erected around graves in the early 1800s to prevent the theft of corpses for sale to medical schools.

At the southern end of the graveyard stands Greyfriars Kirk, the church where the National Covenant—a document declaring the Presbyterian Church in Scotland independent of the monarchy, and which plunged Scotland into decades of civil war—was signed in 1638. Nearby, at the corner of George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row, stands one of Scotland's most photographed sites: the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye terrier who supposedly spent 14 years guarding the grave of his departed owner.

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Cemetery Free Fodor's Choice Historical

Quick Facts

Greyfriars Pl.
Edinburgh, Edinburgh  EH1 2QQ, Scotland

0131-225–1900

www.greyfriarskirk.com/visit-us/kirkyard

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Rate Includes: Free

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