We are now on what is called the ‘High Street’ part of the Royal Mile, which is the widest part of the street and essentially the heart of the Old Town. In August, it is the epicentre of free outdoor theatre and music at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. But for centuries, this is where the market was held, where criminals were punished, the gossip was spread and the intellectuals of the Scottish Enlightenment shared their ideas.
It is also the place where important announcements were made, from a structure called the Mercat Cross; essentially an octagonal pedestal, crowned with a tall column with a white unicorn on top. The current Mercat Cross is not actually the original medieval one. You can still find the location of the old one, as it’s marked in the pavement with an octagon of paving stones.
Come back tomorrow for the next instalment of the Royal Mile tour (I am still away).