Submitted by George Farquhar on Thu, 2011-04-21
The Camera Obscura show is a fascinating and highly amusing way to see the city and learn about its history. This unique experience has delighted and intrigued people for over 150 years. It is a ‘must’ on any visit to Edinburgh.
From inside this mysterious Victorian rooftop chamber, you see live moving images of Edinburgh projected onto a viewing table through a giant periscope. Pick people up on your hands, squash them to a pulp and even make the traffic climb over paper bridges.
Our friendly guide will entertain you while telling stories of Edinburgh, past and present, in an engaging and informative way. Our visitors are truly amazed at how, in this age of high technology, a simple array of mirror, lenses and daylight can produce this incredible panorama.
Experiencing the Camera Obscura is like stepping back in time!
History of Camera Obscura
The name ‘camera obscura’ comes from the Latin words meaning ‘darkened room’. The first record of the camera obscura principle goes back to Ancient Greece, when Aristotle noticed how light passing through a small hole into a darkened room produces an image on the wall opposite, during a partial eclipse of the sun. However, it may be much older than that. Stone age man may have used the principle of the camera obscura to produce the world’s first art in cave drawings.
Later on, in the 10th Century, the Arabian scholar Al Hassan used the camera obscura to demonstrate how light travels in straight lines. In the 13th Century, the camera obscura was used by astronomers to view the sun.
In the 16th Century, camera obscuras became an invaluable aid to artists who used them to create drawings with perfect perspective and accurate detail.
Portable camera obscuras were made for this purpose. In Victorian times, much larger public camera obscuras became popular seaside attractions, where spying on courting couples became a popular pastime. Today, we spy on visitors and locals alike as they make their way around our city.
How to reach Camera Obscura :
Camera Obscura is at the top of the Royal Mile, 100 metres from the entrance to Edinburgh Castle.
Leave TIC onto Princes Street turning left. Turn left onto Waverley Bridge. At junction turn right to go up Market Street which will bring you to the Mound. Cross the road, go straight up via Mound Place and go up Ramsay Lane towards Edinburgh Castle. We are at the top of Ramsay Lane on the left hand side, opposite the Scotch Whisky Experience, next to Edinburgh Castle.
Follow signs for Edinburgh Castle. We are situated 40 m from the entrance to the Castle or Castlehill at the top of the Royal Mile. To park, bear left at the roundabout in front of The Hub (former church) and on-street metered parking is available on Johnston Terrace. There is also a 24hour NCP car park in Castle Terrace at the bottom of Johnston Terrace.
From Edinburgh Waverley, leave station via main exit onto Waverley Bridge turning left. At junction turn right to go up Market Street which will bring you to the Mound. Cross the road, go straight up via Mound Place and go up Ramsay Lane towards Edinburgh Castle. We are at the top of Ramsay Lane on the left hand side, opposite the Scotch Whisky Experience, next to the Castle.
From St Andrew Square Bus Station, cross Princes Street and go up the Mound. Turn right at Mound Place and go up Ramsay Lane towards Edinburgh Castle. We are at the top of Ramsay Lane on the left hand side, opposite the Scotch Whisky Experience.
There are regular Lothian buses 23/27/41//42/45/67 to Market Street and George IV Bridge, both very close to the attraction. When you get off the bus head for the Royal Mile, you will soon spot a distinctive white tower.
From Edinburgh Airport, travelling by car, turn left onto the A8 travelling east towards Edinburgh City Centre following occasional brown signs for city centre attractions and for Edinburgh Castle. At Princes Street follow the traffic restrictions via Charlotte Square and Queen Street and then turn right onto St Andrew Square. Continue south across the square to Princes St and onto Waverly Bridge, where the entrance to Waverley Railway Station is. At the roundabout on the end of Waverley Bridge turn right up Market Street. At the top of Market St turn left up the Mound, then next right up the Lawnmarket Royal Mile towards the Castle. We are at the top, 100m from the entrance to the Castle, on the right. To park, bear left at the roundabout in front of The Hub (former church) and on-street metered parking is available on Johnston Terrace. There is also a 24hour NCP car park in Castle Terrace at the bottom of Johnston Terrace.
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions Castlehill The Royal Mile Edinburgh EH1 2ND Tel: 0131 226 3709 Fax: 0131 225 423
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