One of the most extraordinary structures in Scotland is the Rosslyn Chapel. This amazing building has been in the ownership of the Sinclair family since it was founded in 1446 and is still used as a place of worship.
This historical treasure is also shrouded in mystery and legend. Its unusual architecture, elaborate carvings and statues as well as the belief that it may have housed the Holy Grail has attracted thousands of visitors from around the world.
Its mysterious history dates back to its origins when it was initially founded as a Roman Catholic Church. The original carvings and statues still exist today thanks to continued preservation efforts. There are also several burial sites as well as the infamous underground crypts. The intricate and elaborate carvings can be seen everywhere.
The exterior is just as impressive and includes flying buttresses, carved corbels, canopies and niches.
However, it is the chapel’s potential for hidden messages and secrets that has created many mysterious legends. The Rosslyn Chapel and the Da Vinci Code are synonymous thanks to the popularity of the 2006 film. The movie Da Vinci Code put Rosslyn Chapel on the map.
Prior to the movie’s release, the chapel hosted 30,000 visitors a year. However, due to the movie’s enormous success, more than 176,000 visitors make their way to Rosslyn Chapel annually. Many of the scenes in the movie were filmed on-site.
One of the legends depicted tells of the Holy Grail and link to the Knights Templar. One legend is that a member of the Sinclair family voyaged to North America long before Columbus. The carving depicts North American maize (corn), which was unknown in Europe at the time the chapel was built. This corn carving has supported the legend that Henry Sinclair made a voyage to the Americas almost a century before Columbus set sail.
Another persistent legend revolves around the Sinclair family vault, which lies under the rear of the Chapel. The sealed vault is said to contain the Holy Grail, a Templar treasure, the original Crown Jewels of Scotland or the mummified head of Jesus.
Consider making a trip to see the beauty and mystery surround Rosslyn Chapel. Tours cost $12 are conducted every day of the year except December 24 and 25 and January 1. For more information, visit www.rosslynchapel.com.