St. Giles is the historic and working city church of Edinburgh. It is also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, the Mother Church of Presbyterianism and contains the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle. It’s crown steeple is a distinctive feature of the city skyline and it lies somewhat between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood palace on the Royal Mile.
In 1385, the building suffered a fire and was rebuilt in the subsequent years. Much of the current interior dates from this period. Over the years many chapels, referred to as ‘aisles’, were added, greatly enlarging the church and leaving it with a rather irregular in plan. In 1466, St Giles was established as a collegiate church by Pope Paul II. In response to this raising of status, the lantern tower was added around 1490, and the chancel ceiling raised, vaulted and a clerestory installed. By the middle of the 16th century, immediately before the Reformation arrived in Scotland, there were about fifty side altars in the church, some of which were paid for by the city’s trade incorporations and dedicated to their patron saints. wikipedia
While visiting there I missed – twice – the tour that went to the top of the cathedral due to timing, saw a wedding and was present for a mini afternoon service; I wish I could’ve heard that massive organ play though. While it is free to enter (when not in church use) donations are accepted and if you wish to take photos you must pay two pounds and receive a sticker. I still have the sticker on my hat.
As the wikipedia article mentioned, the rebuilding and additions have left the interior with quite an irregular pattern. As you can see in my photos, the ceiling varies in color and pattern, there are a lot of pillars on the inside of the sanctuary and of course there were many many stained glass windows. A beautiful historic place to visit.