Located near Grassmarket, Greyfriars Kirk is an early 17th-century church, the first built in Edinburgh after the Reformation. The name of the church refers to the monastery of the Greyfriars, or Franciscans, which was located at the eastern end of Grassmarket until 1558. The adjacent cemetery is often what leads tourists to visit this site. Indeed, the bucolic Greyfriars Kirkyard houses the tombs of notable Edinburgh residents.
St. Giles Cathedral was founded in the 11th century but the original cathedral burned down in 1385 and was rebuilt shortly afterwards. In 1466 St. Giles became a collegiate church and around 1490 the lantern tower was added. In the 16th century, the reformer John Knox became a priest of St. Gilles and was buried there, making the cathedral the mother church of Presbyterianism. He is commemorated by a 19th-century stained glass window in the south wall of the church and, since 1904, by a bronze statue on the north side.
When stepping up to Canongate Kirk you may be excused for not quite knowing what the building is. The front is unusual with its flat facade, heavy Doric porch and strange Dutch style gable, topped by a set of real antlers.