Edinburgh (Scotland), Aug.13 (ANI): The Rosslyn Chapel, one of Scotland's most intriguing attractions, can now be seen in all its glory after 14 years of being hidden under a 'cage' of scaffolding.
The chapel, which shot to international fame after featuring at the climax of the best-selling novel and the 2004 film The Da Vinci Code, can now finally be seen in all its glory again after the final pieces of its protective "cage" were removed, The Scotsman reports.
For 14 years the architectural masterpiece in Midlothian was surrounded by tonnes of scaffolding and a steel canopy to protect its crumbling roof.
Visitors had to clamber up a steel walkway to get a close look at the building, which will have newly landscaped grounds in the next few weeks to celebrate its restoration.
Scottish authorities have reportedly spent half of the nine million pounds allocated for the renovation project. A trust is overseeing the repair work and has been made responsible for its upkeep.
Colin Glyne-Percy, director of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: "It's a hugely exciting moment for us. No one has had a proper view of the building for 14 years as the protecting covering had to be kept in place for so long to ensure the original roof was dried out, while we put a fundraising plan together."
"We went right back to the original stonework to ensure it was fully restored and the new watertight roof ensures that the roof is properly preserved underneath. We think the removal of the canopy structure and the scaffolding will generate more interest in the chapel.
By next spring, when a new visitor centre next is due to be unveiled, the chapel's stained-glass windows and organ will be fully restored, and new heating and lighting equipment will have been installed. By the end of the following year, all the stonework in the building will have been repaired.
Painstaking work to restore the original 15th-century roof has recently been completed, while a new metal covering has been installed to fully protect it from the elements.
Extensive weatherproofing was installed in 1996 after experts found the chapel, which dates from 1446, was decaying badly because of water leaking through its ornate roof.
Damage due to dampness was found throughout the building, which has been linked to the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail and Freemasonry.
Nic Boyes, an Edinburgh-based stone conservation expert who has masterminded restoration efforts, said: "A temporary protective covering had been over the chapel roof in the 1950s, but the asphalt had cracked and shrunk since then and was letting in quite a lot of water, and making the building really damp and cold. You have to remember that we are talking about a 550-year-old building and it really was beginning to suffer a lot of decay. It really was in a poor condition 14 years ago."
Work to safeguard the chapel's future began in 2004. (ANI)