Visiting the Scotland chapel in Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code
Rosslyn Chapel is only one of the locations and attractions in Scotland to have become wildly popular after being used as a setting in a book or movie.
Getting to Edinburgh by Coach
Long-distance coach tickets to Edinburgh from £15. Guaranteed seats on comfortable coach, overnight or daytime journeys.
Previously popular mainly to tourists interested in architecture, history and religion, after being used in the Da Vinci Code as the setting for the novel's plot climax, Rosslyn Chapel has achieved worldwide fame and now attracts massive attention and visitor numbers. And all tourists come to Rosslyn for one thing, to find the Holy Grail as part of their Da Vinci Code tour.
The Chapel is located in Roslin, a small village just 7 miles from Edinburgh. Roslyn means 'point of the waterfall' in Scottish Gaelic according to some, or 'ancient knowledge down the line' according to others. Centuries of history changed its name into Roslin and is the home of Rosslyn Chapel -- not Roslyn Chapel -- and Rosslyn Castle.
While Rosslyn Chapel is known for its historical and architectural merits, Roslin is even more famous for its cutting edge biological science. The Roslin institute is where Dolly the Sheep was born in 1996 marking a breakthrough in the science of cloning.
Rosslyn Chapel and Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code
Whether Rosslyn Chapel is the resting place of the Holy Grail -- assuming that the Grail exists -- is anyone's guess but there are things in the Da Vinci Code which, while they increase the popularity of Rosslyn, they overshadow its historical and architectural importance.
The truth about Rosslyn Chapel claims in the Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown claims that "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate" which in the case of the chapel in Roslin, could not be further than the truth.
In the Da Vinci Code, Rosslyn Chapel is said to be often called "the Cathedral of Codes" and that "The Knights Templar had designed Rosslyn Chapel as an exact architectural blueprint of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem". Rosslyn Chapel is, in fact, built upon a blueprint of St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh which follows the common architectural style and structure for churches in those days.
Dan Brown also mentions in the Da Vinci Code the "presence of an astonishing structure beneath the chapel - a massive subterranean chamber". Rosslyn Chapel does have a sacristy on the east side that is accessible to visitors via steps. While a grave slab of a Knight Templar can be found in the sacristy, apparently strengthening the chapel's links to the Templars, few tourists know that it was actually brought there from Old Pentland kirkyard, a few miles away.
Dan Brown also claims that the "The Star of David" is engraved on the chapel floor but none of the old engravings of the chapel show it to exist. Today, the entire floor of the chapel's choir is covered by a red covering.
The Da Vinci Code does make Rosslyn Chapel justice by mentioning the astonishing array of sculptures and symbols to be found all over this Roslin attraction. Whether you believe in the Da Vinci Code book or not, don't let the novel detract from the chapel's real significance -- Rosslyn Chapel is a gem, a stone puzzle like no other to be found anywhere in the world.
Rosslyn Chapel and the Da Vinci Code movie
The popularity of Roslyn Chapel is set to soar even further when "The Da Vinci Code", the film, is launched in May 2009. Starring Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, the movie was partially filmed in Rosslyn Chapel itself in late September 2005 and attracted massive attention to this small Midlothian village.