The Mercat Cross of Edinburgh

What is the Mercat Cross Edinburgh Scotland


Edinburgh is a city filled with many treasures.

Some treasures that I stumbled upon, I didn’t even discover what they were until I returned home and searched for them.

Mercat Cross.

One such treasure was the Mercat Cross.

In case you’re wondering what in the heck is a Mercat cross (I know I was), it’s the Scots name for a market cross. They were first erected to display a burgh’s right to trade, as well as a gathering place to hear important public announcements.


Last week, I shared my photographs and the history of St. Giles’ Cathedral. You can see from the photographs that the Mercat Cross is located in Parliament Square, near the East Side of St. Giles’ Cathedral.

At the time, I just liked the architecture of the little building. I didn’t realize its historical place.


While the first mention of the Mercat Cross is in a charter of 1365, this pillar was placed upon this octagonal building, at this location, in 1885.

I’ve since learned that there is an octagonal arrangement of cobblestones along High Street that mark the location of the Mercat Cross from 1617-1756. I know one thing that I’ll be looking for when I return in May.


The Royal Unicorn sits atop the cross holding a shield. You can also see the Scottish Flag beside him.


The Mercat Cross is a popular gathering spot for tours. The people gathered in the photos were about to head out on a ghost tour.

The Door.

Of course, no tour of a building is complete without sharing a door for the fans of Thursday Doors.

The tympanum above the door is in Latin and reads “Thanks to God. This ancient monument, the Cross of Edinburgh, which of old was set apart for public ceremonies, having been utterly destroyed by a misguided hand A.D. MDCCLVI, and having been avenged as well as lamented, in song alike noble and manful, by that great man, Walter Scott, has now, by favour of the Magistrates of the City, been restored by William Ewart Gladstone, who claims through both of his parents a purely Scottish descent. 24 November 1885” (source: Wikipedia).


What little gems have you stumbled upon when traveling?

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust

Let your light shine!


15 thoughts on “The Mercat Cross of Edinburgh

  1. Wonderful door, Amy! I appreciate the explanation, I read it as Meerkat at first, lol, and then I thought Well that can’t be right 😉 Now I see it’s like clark and clerk. Beautiful building!

    1. Thanks Joey! I read it as Meerkat too. It wasn’t until I was digging that I discovered its meaning. It made a lot of sense then ;).

  2. Beautiful cathedral! You’re bringing up an important point of how it was in previous centuries – the “square” by the church was the central location of communication for a The whole town was built around this square. So many details here! What – you’re going back in May? Awesome!

    I know my reply was short on the blog I’m writing from this week, because I was in the middle of painting my 3rd huge painting. A pleasant surprise that you immediately knew (and maybe reminded of?) the location of that scripture! His plans are always better than ours:) Have a lovely Easter!

    1. Thanks Jesh! I’m so excited to head back in May.
      Those huge paintings are so impressive!
      You have a lovely Easter too! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I captured the building because I liked how it looked. It was quite a surprise to discover its purpose. It never occurred to me that the Queen has made proclamations from here.

    1. Thanks! I thought it had so much character. After learning its purpose, I can see why. 😊

  3. Sorry for the delay this week. Stunning shots Amy. Again the age of these places and the history is just humbling.
    Hope you guys are enjoying your vacation.

    1. Thanks Norm! I’m always in awe when I go to discover the past on the buildings that I’ve admired.

      I’m on serious delay this week! We had a great time on vacation. Unfortunately, it’s back to reality. However, I’ll get to relive it again when I start processing the photos. 😉

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