Edinburgh Photo Library
- Mercat Cross

Mercat Cross

In olden days, the Mercat Cross was not only a place for the merchants to gather, but was also where public executions took place and where official proclamations were made. Nowadays, only the proclamations survive - such as declaring a General Election for Parliament or when a new monarch comes to the throne.

The shaft on top of the present Mercat Cross is a copy of a 15th century original (which was twice the height of the modern representation. The octagonal cross-house is also a copy, based on old drawings. Round the Mercat Cross are coats of arms - the royal arms of Britain, Scotland, England and Ireland, plus the arms of Edinburgh, Leith, Canongate and the University. Edinburgh's own arms are seen in this photo.

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