A camera obscura is essentially a dark
room with a small aperture (or lens) through which light passes
from the outside to create an image inside the room.
Edinburgh has had at least three
camerae obscurae to entertain its
visitors over the years. They have been at:
Portobello Pier: giving a panorama of the Firth of Forth
and the coast of Fife. The pier opened in 1871 and closed in
1917. I don't know for what period the camera obscura
Calton Hill: giving a panoramic view around Edinburgh
and Leith. This was replaced by the Camera Obscura at
Castlehill. It opened in 1835 and closed in 1850.
Castlehill: Tenements, built in 1622 were converted in
1850 by Maria Short who previously operated a camera obscura on
Calton Hill, to become 'Maria Short's Observatory of Science
and Art'. It opened in 1853.
The building was taken over in 1892 by Patrick Geddes and named
the 'Outlook Tower'. It has been under its
present ownership since 1977 and is now known as the 'Camera
It is situated, in a prominent position, at the top of the Royal Mile, close to the
Castle Esplanade. The building is and is floodlit in
light of changing colours in the evenings.