Muscat Daily - - BREAK -

High up on the sum­mit of Carl­ton Hill in Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land stands the coun­try’s Na­tional Mon­u­ment. But it is far from be­ing the source of na­tional pride.

The mon­u­ment was sup­posed to be a na­tional memo­rial to the Scot­tish sol­diers and sailors who died fight­ing in the Napoleonic Wars. If com­pleted, it would have re­sem­bled the iconic Parthenon of Athens. In­stead, all the Scot­tish could muster was to erect 12 pil­lars. The city quickly lost in­ter­est and re­fused to con­trib­ute funds for the com­ple­tion of the mon­u­ment, and the struc­ture re­mained in­com­plete for 200 years.

A mon­u­ment to com­mem­o­rate the fallen sol­diers of the Napoleonic Wars was first pro­posed in 1816 by the High­land So­ci­ety of Scot­land. The pro­posal found ap­peal in many prom­i­nent Ed­in­burgh res­i­dents such as Sir Wal­ter Scott, Lord El­gin and Lord Cockburn, whose sup­port helped pro­mote the project and in 1822, the foun­da­tion stone was laid, amid great pomp.

Ar­chi­tect Charles Cock­er­all and William Henry Play­fair dreamed up an am­bi­tious mon­u­ment. Ex­ter­nally, the struc­ture would re­sem­ble the Parthenon in Athens, but the in­side would house a church and have mas­sive cat­a­comb un­der­neath where Scot­land’s im­por­tant fig­ures would be buried.

The es­ti­mate for the project rose, but the so­ci­ety man­aged to raise only a part, with the pos­si­bil­ity of a grant from the Par­lia­ment. De­spite in­ad­e­quate funds, it was de­cided that work would be­gin on the struc­ture in 1826. Not sur­pris­ingly, in just three years, with only 12 stone pil­lars raised, and the funds dried up.

At that time, Ed­in­burgh as a city was rapidly de­vel­op­ing with sev­eral large-scale civic con­struc­tion projects go­ing on, which the city deemed were more im­por­tant than the con­struc­tion of an elab­o­rate memo­rial with a high pro­jected cost. De­spite sev­eral at­tempts mon­u­ment re­mains very much un­fin­ished.

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