In legend and in person, the haunting
beauty of Rosslyn Chapel casts a welcome spell on The Da
Vinci Code lovers.
PILGRIMS from all over Christendom arrive at Rosslyn Chapel with
the same book tucked in their bags. It's not the Bible that brings
them by the busload to this ancient church seven miles south of
Edinburgh. It is The Da Vinci Code, the bestselling novel by
Legions of readers are retracing the path taken by the book's
protagonists, a Harvard professor and a sexy French cryptographer,
as they dash across Europe in search of the Holy Grail. Rosslyn
Chapel, scene of the novel's dramatic climax, is now a major stop
on the so-called "Da Vinci Code Trail."
You don't have to be a Grail hunter to fall under the Rosslyn
spell. Set on the edge of a wooded gorge, high above a churning
river, the chapel overlooks fields dotted with stone farmhouses
and lazy sheep. The ruins of a medieval castle peep through the
The chapel itself is a Gothic masterpiece. Gargoyles, pinnacles,
flying buttresses, and canopies adorn the exterior. The inside is
blessed with one of the most extraordinary collections of stone
carvings in Europe: plants, animals, pyramids, and angels jostle
with Masonic seals, Jewish stars, Biblical scenes, and pagan
symbols such as the Green Man. Poets, from Lord Byron to Robert
Burns, have thrilled to the haunting beauty of Rosslyn. William
Wordsworth was astounded by the chapel's "sumptuous roof."
Dan Brown chose Rosslyn not for its looks, but for its starring
role in so many myths. Built in the middle of the 15th century by
William St. Clair, the chapel is the spiritual home of the Knights
Templar, the warrior monks who protected pilgrims on the road to
the Holy Land until the Knights were arrested and tortured in 1307
by King Philip of France. Rosslyn has the same layout as
Jerusalem's Temple of Solomon, rumored to be the original home of
the mysterious Templar treasure.