The first ever place I entered into when I visited Edinburgh (oh yeah, only recently did I figure of its pronounced Edinbara!!!), was Camera Obscura. It opens at 9 AM much to my advantage. With 3 types of curved mirrors that distorts the reflection of the body, even at the entrance you can't miss what is it all about! Its a 6 floor building filled with various curiosities that completely mess with the visual sense!
This was originally set up in 1776 in Calton Hill. However it was only in 1827 that it was taken over by Maria Theresa Short who made it bigger and better as a proper tourist place and Observatory for general public with telescope etc. In 1850 she bought the present building and called it the Short's Observatory. In 1892, Patrick Geddes bought this in a auction and brought it to its present look!
Once every hour, a show happens in the topmost floor. Its a pinhole camera like attachment atop the building that shows live image with a periscope like attachment that transfers the pinhole image to a larger wooden canvas. It's the live image of whole Edinburgh city seen from atop with the people walking, cycling, buses moving, birds flying etc. If a slight elevation is created on the surface, it looks as if a bridge has been formed on the road!!! The amazing fact is that it was made in the Victorian era without any technological advancement!!!
The 4 floors below it are filled with various stuff. The most important feature was the forced perspective. A particular room is set up in a certain way and photographing from a certain point would optical illusion like above!!! That was definitely fun!!! I wanted to take a video of myself walking from one end to another but sadly, I forgot!!!
The lowest (1st) floor was pretty sober. Wasn't very impressive. It was just the regular optical illusion images that we see in internet.
The 2nd floor was impressive with the play of light & mirrors. This is a check pattern of mirror set in different angles which reflects in a weird way! The same mirror maze and spinning vortex tunnel that were in Ripley's were here too! There was also some play of lights which was definitely mind blowing.
There were some play of concave & convex mirrors. There were also some interesting vintage optical illusions & 3D models.
There were some interesting photographs that were normal from one angle and scary from the other! Few other interesting features include multicolored shadows, frozen shadows etc!
There was a floor filled with some quirky displays of static electricity. Quite literally our body serves as the conductor of electricity that makes the lights take new shapes & dance!!! I was a bit scared to touch them and there was a note that said some may feel the static electricity! But when I touched it, I didn't feel any shock.
To Get There:
Entrance ticket is £14.50 can be bought at the entrance.
P.S: I was invited by VisitScotland to experience the Edinburgh for review purpose, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.
Dedicated to Venkat