Aberdeen’s Mercat Cross (built 1686) stands in the Castlegate, originally the site of Aberdeen Castle Gates until its destruction in 1308, in Aberdeen, Scotland, located centrally at the east-end of the city’s main thoroughfare, Union Street.
This open-arched structure, 21 ft (6 m) in diameter and 18 ft (5 m) high, comprises a large hexagonal base from the centre of which rises a shaft with a Corinthian capital, on which is the Royal Unicorn. The base is highly decorated, including medallions illustrating Scottish Monarchs from James I to James VII.
Established from the 12th century, market crosses were traditionally the symbol of a Burgh’s right to trade and were placed at the centre of a town’s market place. They were also the place where important announcements were made and where public punishments were applied.
On the left of the shot is the New Town House (built between 1868 and 1874), the headquarters of the City Council. It is one of the most splendid granite edifices in Scotland, in Flemish-Gothic style in recognition of close trade links between Aberdeen and Flanders, it contains the great hall, with an open timber ceiling and oak-panelled walls; the Sheriff Court House; the Town and County Hall, with portraits of Prince Albert, the 4th Earl of Aberdeen, various Lord Provosts and other distinguished citizens. In the vestibule of the entrance corridor stands a suit of black armour, believed to have been worn by Provost Sir Robert Davidson, who fought in the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. The 210 ft (64 m) West Tower, with its prominent bartizans, commands a fine view of the city and surrounding country.
In the centre of the shot, on the corner of Castle Street and King Street stands the old North of Scotland Bank (built 1839-42). This building, with its imposing corner entrance of four giant order composite columns, and statue of Ceres above, is now a pub named after its original architect.