Calton Hill, home of the Scottish Government and spectacular views of the surrounding landscape, is a well-known stop on many tourists’ itineraries because of its many architectural structures and monuments.
The Playfair Monument, designed by W.H. Playfair in honour of his uncle John Playfair, is a temple-like structure designed in the Greek Doric style that sits near the top of Calton Hill. This monument features one of the best views of Edinburgh Castle.
Nelson’s monument, built in honour of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, provides another spectacular view of the surrounding area. The monument was built to pay tribute to Nelson and his defeat of Spanish and French fleets during the Battle of Trafalgar. The monument sits at Calton Hill’s highest point and its design is a reflection of the prison buildings that were once located on the hill in the early Victorian era.
Another of Calton Hill’s historic memorials is the National Monument, which was constructed in remembrance of those who died for the United Kingdom during the Napoleonic Wars. The structure was modeled after the Parthenon, but the cost of construction was so great that the project was left unfinished. Despite its incomplete state, the monument is still a dominant structure within the Calton Hill landscape.
The City Observatory was another structure built to honour John Playfair. The observatory resembles a Greek temple and is home to a 15-centimeter (6-inch) refractor in the dome and 16-centimeter (6.4-inch) transit telescope in the east wing. The dome currently serves as a lecture theatre, but the observatory is unusable due to vandalism.