The oldest surviving building in Edinburgh is St. Margaret’s Chapel, which sits in the Edinburgh castle. Because of the humble looks of the building from the outside, one can’t guess that this is actually one of the most important buildings in Edinburgh (the oldest surviving building in the city).
This chapel is one of the few fine examples of Romanesque architecture, which is characterized by its semi circular arches and thick walls filled with rubble. It is very small (hence the name chapel), but it’s so charming inside, it’s definitely a trip back in time. The stained glasses look gorgeous, some of the best I’ve seen so far. On the stained glass to the right, you can see a depiction of William Wallace who was one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence.
Legend had it that St. Margaret used to worship here, which was well accepted for a very long time and according to Life of St. Margaret Mary, she died in Edinburgh Castle in 1093. But recent research indicated that recent research indicated that it was built by her son King David at the beginning of 12th century.
During the Wars of Scottish Independence, the castle was captured by Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray and he destroyed all buildings in the castle except this one, which makes it really special. Although it was used as a gunpowder store during the Protestant Reformation (and until 1845), with efforts of the Canadian academician Daniel Wilson the chapel went under major reconstruction and took its form today.
Although the admission the castle is £16 for adults and and £13 for concessions, there’s no extra charge to visit this chapel. If you’re in Edinburgh, this is definitely the first thing you need to do. Go to the castle, get an audioguide and explore the history of Scotland while visiting this historic chapel.