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The High Kirk of Scotland: a sight to behold.
St Giles Cathedral (Edinburgh)
Member Name: edindave
St Giles Cathedral (Edinburgh)
Advantages: Fabulous new windows and lighting and huge amounts of history inside.
Disadvantages: The choir let the cathedral down in my opinion.
St Giles' Cathedral is known as the High Kirk of Scotland. It is situated on the Royal Mile, in the very centre of the city.
The building itself can be seen from most places in the city and forms part of the skyline from all of the best vantage points with its golden cockerel being visible at all times.
The cathedral has undergone a huge amount of renovation in the last few years which has brought about a few new stained glass windows - they are beautiful - and most recently new lighting. The lighting was much needed as the unusual design of the cathedral makes natural light a little scarce.
There are several large pillars in the centre of the cathedral that makes visibility quite difficult during the services. For example, the choir stalls are set back and are almost impossible to see from the congregation seats. There are very few places in the cathedral where one can see both the minister and the choir. Having said that, the cathedral itself is a huge tourist attraction and at almost any time of the year, one will find tourists from all over the world looking around the cathedral.
The organ was replaced a few years ago and it is grand and clear when it is played. The master of music is an accomplished organ player and it is a delight to attend the cathedral during one of the many music concerts held at the cathedral. The choir, which sings at all services at the cathedral, are by no means a world-renowned choir but they are very accomplished. For me, the choir is the weakest part of the cathedral package. I often find the repertoire to be too strained and forced. The choir has a lot of older members - musical though they are - and sometimes the music that is chosen for performance would suit a younger choir more and I wish they would choose something that would suit the choir that they have rather than the choir that they want.
The minister at the moment is Gilleasbuig Macmillan and if one is lucky enough to have the time to attend a service with one of his sermons, one will not be disappointed. His voice has a highlands lilt to it and his intellect shines through whenever he speaks. The cathedral is presbyterian in nature as one might expect from the High Kirk of Scotland and indeed it is regarded by many as the home of presbyterianism.
Attached to the cathedral, there is the usual tourist shop, selling souvenirs/ books etc as one might expect so one is able to take away a reminder of the cathedral so that one can relive the memories whenever one wants.
I personally find the cathedral to be a wonderful place. I have been there countless times and I still find something new every time I go. I recommend it to everyone and, given its central location and domineering building, tourists cannot fail to notice the cathedral. It is free to go in and look around and it is open all day, every day - except when there is a service going on.
Summary: The home of presbyterianism in a beautiful building in the centre of Edinburgh city.
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