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Mary King's Close

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The bit that the tourists (and few locals) have ever seen. Mary King's close, a medieval street under the Royal Mile. Until recently, not generally open to the public.

The site opened as a 'world-class' attraction, now called THE REAL Mary King's Close, in April 2003. New, historically accurate information has been uncovered about the site and its residents, double the number of rooms/spaces have been revealed and it is now open to the general public every day except Christmas Day.

'The Real Mary King's Close'

Beneath the City Chambers on the Royal Mile lies Edinburgh's deepest secret - a warren of hidden streets where real people lived, worked and died between the 17th and the 19th centuries. Now a new attraction allows visitors to step back in time to walk through these underground closes and witness some of the dramatic episodes and extraordinary apparitions from this site's fascinating and historically rich past.

The Real Mary King's Close consists of a number of underground Closes which would have originally been very narrow walkways with houses on either side stretching up to 7 storeys high and dating back several centuries. In 1753 the Burgh authorities decided to develop a grand new building, the Royal Exchange (now the City Chambers). The houses at the top of the Closes were knocked down and part of the lower sections were kept and used as the foundations for the new building, leaving a number of dark and mysterious underground Closes and ancient dwellings steeped in mystery!

Since April 2003, guided parties of visitors have been able to visit The Real Mary King's Close itself, and a range of other Closes and spaces that lie hidden beneath Edinburgh's City Chambers - some of which have never before been open to the public. This new attraction presents a historically accurate interpretation of life in these narrow alleyways from the 16th to the 19th century. Extensive documentary research and on-site survey works has been undertaken to provide an accurate platform for the subtle and unobtrusive interpretation of these A-listed buildings.

There are actually 4 Closes under the City Chamber, one of which is Mary King's Close, named after the woman who loved at the head of that Close until 1634. It was also called King's, Alexander King's (no relation to Mary), Towris, Livingstoun's and Browns.

See also and

Anyone interested in finding out about some of Edinburgh's other underground streets may like to enquire about the ones at Niddry Street South. Any details, please pass them on.

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Q-HTML V3.4 by Craig Cockburn created this page on 19-Jun-2012 at 08:06:32