National Monument

New Town

The largest structure on the summit of Calton Hill, the National Monument was a rather over-ambitious attempt to replicate the Parthenon in Athens, and was intended to honour Scotland's dead in the Napoleonic Wars. Construction – paid for by public subscription – began in 1822, but funds ran dry after only 12 columns had been erected. It became known locally as 'Edinburgh's Disgrace'.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby New Town attractions

1. Nelson Monument

0.04 MILES

Looking a bit like an upturned telescope – the similarity is intentional – and offering superb views over the city and across the Firth of Forth, the…

2. Calton Hill

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Calton Hill (100m), which rises dramatically above the eastern end of Princes St, is Edinburgh's acropolis, its summit scattered with grandiose memorials…

3. Collective/City Observatory

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The design of the City Observatory, built in 1818, was based on the Temple of the Winds in Athens. Its original function was to provide a precise,…

4. St Andrew's House

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On the southern side of Calton Hill stands the modernist facade of St Andrew's House, built between 1936 and 1939 and housing the civil servants of the…

5. Burns Monument

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The neoclassical Burns Monument (1830), a Greek-style memorial to Scotland's national poet Robert Burns, stands on the southern flank of Calton Hill. It…

6. Old Calton Burial Ground

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One of Edinburgh’s many atmospheric old cemeteries, Old Calton is dominated by the tall black obelisk of the Political Martyrs’ Monument, which…

7. Dunbar’s Close Garden

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Tucked away at the end of an Old Town close, this walled garden has been laid out in the style of the 17th century, with gravel paths, neatly trimmed…

8. Canongate Kirkyard

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The attractive curved gable of the Canongate Kirk, built in 1688, overlooks a kirkyard that contains the graves of several famous people, including…