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Vertical Life in the Closes

We took a walk through Mary King's Close and learnt with great amazement how high the houses were – or how deep, seen from the street level of the Royal Mile. I also learnt about the rumour of people having been locked in – this is nonsense, of course. All the houses which served as fundaments for later buildings were empty, and the inhabitants had moved out before this time capsule was locked.

We never saw medieval or renaissance living quartes of such a height in our home country. I guess, we never had any in Germany; the usual building method for all those who did not live in castles was framework, half timber, filled with bricks or – in earlier times – with woven willow and clay. Of course, there is no way to build a house higher than 3 or 4 floors with our rural material. These old quarters had been broken down since about 1900, and WWII did the rest of the demolishment.