Old Calton Burial Ground
Old Calton Burial Ground, Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG
With its sharpened monumental obelisk, commemorating five political martyrs, boldly piercing the skyline above Calton Hill, the Old Calton Burial Ground draws the attention of many a pedestrian crossing Edinburgh’s great North Bridge.
First opened in 1718, the burial ground was divided in two just after the Napoleonic wars. It would eventually become the final resting place of thousands of local citizens, among the most notable being the philosopher David Hume, scientist John Playfair and publishers William Blackwood and Archibald Constable. As well as the Martyr’s Monument, there is also memorial topped with a statue of Abraham Lincoln commemorating the Scots who fought and fell in the American Civil war, the only such monument marking that conflict outside of the United States.
It is certainly worth a brief diversion for a few minutes to visit the graveyard’s Wikipedia page to view a longer list of its inhabitants and accounts of many of its most unusual monuments and memorials.
Like all other graveyards in the city, it is today owned and managed by the City Council. The burial ground, its many singular and important monuments and its boundary and screen walls are now afforded the protection of a category A listed building, but many are sadly in a sorry state of repair and badly crumbling.
The burial ground is open to the public seven days a week, but if you can’t make it along in person at the moment the Council and Captured Realities have created the immersive 360° tour below. Have a virtual visit from wherever you are sitting now now, take a wander through the graveyard and pause for a moment to view these fine memorials, monuments and crypts as they are today and perhaps imagine how they once looked in all of their grandeur.