In commemoration of Scotland’s soldiers and sailors who were killed during the Napoleonic Wars, the country erected the National Monument of Scotland. The inscription recognizes it as “A Memorial of the Past and Incentive to the Future Heroism of the Men of Scotland.”
Located on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, the National Monument of Scotland was designed almost two hundred years ago, from 1823 to 1826. Construction began in the latter year, but wasn’t able to be completed until three years later in 1829 because of a lack in funds. During the time that it was incomplete, the people of Scotland referred to the unfinished monument with nicknames such as “Scotland’s Disgrace” or “the Pride and Poverty of Scotland.” However, when it was completed, the National Monument of Scotland was striking — and also familiar. The towering columns are representative of the Classical architectural period and were actually modeled off of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.
It was the Highland Society of Scotland that initiated the construction of this national monument and requested that it serve as a memorial to the fallen fighters of the Napoleonic Wars. In the early stages of planning, the monument was set to have catacombs in the surrounding area, in order to support the main structure as well as provide a burial ground for important figures. Although these catacombs did not make it to the final construction, it was still devoted to recognizing the brave Scottish soldiers and sailors. In 1826, the Royal Association declared that the building was, “to restore to the civilized world that celebrated and justly admired edifice, without any deviation whatever, excepting the adaptation of the sculpture to the events and achievements of the Scottish Heroes, whose prowess and glory it is destined to commemorate and perpetuate.”
Today, it still stands as a beautifully constructed commemoration to the heroes that have made a difference in many lives. This is something we can all relate to and a sight that is worth seeing. It is more than just a monument — it is also a reminder that the past is never truly forgotten, but rather is a healed memory that serves as hope for our future.