Victoria Street, Edinburgh

TO THE NOBLE end of dissertation procrastination, I submit to you the finest street in the world. Dismiss The Mall, with its perfect road surface and regular obstruction of men in red coats and bearskin hats; throw away any silly notions that the Rest and Be Thankful is something to be particularly thankful of; bugger Broadway; sod the Champs-Élysées and perish the thought anyone would even consider suggesting anywhere in Glasgow.
Today, it stands as an impressive monument to originality and historic urbanism. Victoria Terrace, the top row, is a wonderful place to sit on a summer day, with drinks delivered from the bars and restaurants behind and a clear view to the spires of George Heriot's School. The raised Romanesque arches seem quite unique in pedestrian areas, and the stairway between Terrace and Street are a mysterious dark corner reflective of the old town’s dark and Gothic character.

This is Victoria Street, a rather new addition to the Old Town of Edinburgh. It formed of the principal improvement projects to the city planned by Thomas Hamilton in 1827, eventually reconsidered and put into motion by George Smith in 1840. West Bow, the street it replaced, remains in the small pathway to Victoria Terrace from the Royal Mile, in the form of Upper Bow. As can be imagined, it was one of the steepest streets in the city, also forming a precarious Z-shaped bend between Lawnmarket and the Grassmarket, the city’s gallows positioned comfortably at the foot and the National Library of Scotland at the top.

The shops leave something to be desired, mostly slightly obscure small businesses including a year-round Christmas goods store. But even that will not dampen my enthusiasm for such ingenuity in town planning and evolving urban growth.
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