Standing on a hill in the Midlothian village of Roslin, not too far from Edinburgh, Rosslyn Chapel has become a place of pilgrimage, for both the religious and those interested in the chapel itself. Even before the publication of The Da Vinci Code, the 15th-Century chapel has been a site of interest for theorists, with people drawn to the strange carvings adorning the walls and arches, some of which are held as the marks of a legendary secret order of warrior-knights, and others which have no connections to Christianity at all, but date from a time long before.

Originally designed with a cruciform layout, Rosslyn Chapel was never finished, yet its architecture has been recognised as some of Scotland’s finest. Among its intricate carvings can be found the Apprentice Pillar, depictions of plants – some of which, like maize, were only found in the New World at the time of its construction – and bizarre leering faces depicting the pagan Green Man peering out from the walls. Some of the designs are believed to be Masonic in origin, befitting their trade as master stone-workers.

While The Da Vinci Code places Rosslyn Chapel as a gathering place for the Knights Templar and a resting place for the Holy Grail, there seems to be no evidence of this being true: in fact, the Star of David emblem over the crypt’s entrance in the movie was added by the film-makers, and has left a mark on the lintel after its removal. Curiously, a radar scan of the hill suggests that there is a large empty space beneath the chapel, but attempts to enter it have proved fruitless, with a camera even malfunctioning while being lowered into the chamber. Perhaps William, the popular Chapel Cat, knows what Rosslyn Chapel is hiding…?


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