What is a close? Are they only found in Edinburgh? A close is the Scottish term for alleyways. Wikipedia goes even further as to explain that a close was “private property and therefore gated, hence closed to the public.” Closes could possibly be found in other parts of Scotland but I have only been able to find photos and information of closes in Edinburgh.
Upon visiting Edinburgh, I was fascinated that you could be walking along the Royal Mile and come upon an alleyway that would lead you to courtyards and apartments where people live. They are well hidden and you wouldn’t even know some of the closes existed if you didn’t know where to look. Some of them could be hidden behind a door, whereupon you would open the door and follow a path that could lead you to the courtyard or some other hidden treasure behind the closed doors. Or the alleyway could be open to the street and you could walk through it and come upon these courtyards or entryways to another part of Edinburgh. That is the only way I can describe it because it felt like small parts of the city were hidden away from the tourists that come through this amazing place all through the year. I know I would not have even known these closes existed if I didn’t go on one of those 2 hour walking tours that one of the hostels gave while I was there.
Now that you know another name for a close are alleys than you know they can be found anywhere in the world. London has alleys or passageways that lead from one building to the next. The United States has back alleys because many alleys are in the back or behind a building such as a restaurant or bar.
One thing I found interesting is that in many parts of the countries I visited, the narrow alleys, passageways, closes seemed to be set up in a way that they were for us to walk from one end to the other. Or to be hidden away from the public. They weren’t meant for cars to use them but yet some people do drive their cars through these alleys but at a snail’s pace. Too many people to drive any faster than that…..
What closes have you seen on your travels? Are there any alleys, narrow streets, passageways that you would deem a close? I would love to hear your thoughts on this fascinating subject because I am sure many of us would love to have a place hidden away from the public that only we and those who live in the same area are able to access.
Credit Peter @ EdinPhoto for Photos Taken of Closes in Edinburgh, http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/