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Da Vinci Code: Rosslyn Chapel

The Rosslyn Chapel (originally named the Collegiate Chapel of St. Matthew) stands in the village of Roslin, Midlothian in Scotland. Built in the 15th century, the church was originally designed by William Sinclar of the St. Clair family, who themselves were descendants of the Norman knights and members of the Scottish nobility.

In Dan Brown’s fictional novel, the Rosslyn Chapel plays a central role in Langdon and Sophie’s quest for the Holy Grail. After unlocking the second cryptex, the Rosslyn Chapel is revealed to them as the final resting place of the Holy Grail. In the end, however, they discover that although the Grail was once buried there, it is now being housed under the inverted glass pyramid of the Louvre.

However, it is at the Rosslyn Chapel that Sophie comes across her long-lost brother (the docent) and grandmother, reconnecting with her true identity as a descendant of the Holy Bloodline.

Indeed, Brown gives his own historical account of the Rosslyn Chapel and its origins, which have since been subjected to a variety of academic criticism. For example, he claims that the structure itself was not built (at least not built exclusively) by Sinclair, but by the Knights Templar, and that it has an engraved Star of David on the floor. He also claims that the very term Rosslyn derives from the phrase “Rose line,” which the book explains as a line that starts in France and travels through the Chapel.

In fact, on his official website for the book, under the heading “bizarre facts,” the following claim is made:

    There exists a chapel in Great Britain that contains a ceiling from which hundreds of stone blocks protrude, jutting down to form a bizarre multi-faceted surface. Each block is carved with a symbol, seemingly at random, creating a cipher of unfathomable proportion. Modern cryptographers have never been able to break this code, and a generous reward is offered to anyone who can decipher the baffling message. In recent years, geological ultrasounds have revealed the startling presence of an enormous subterranean vault hidden beneath the chapel. This vault appears to have no entrance and no exit. To this day, the curators of the chapel have permitted no excavation.

Despite all the opposition, however, Brown is right about one thing: that the St Clair family did have connections to underground organizations. While Brown asserts that this was the organization of the Knights Templar, historians say it was more likely the Freemasons. However, this discrepancy is by some accounts immaterial, since by all accounts, the Freemasons stemmed from the Knights Templar.

Since the release of the Da Vinci Code, visitors to the Chapel have reportedly sprouted by some 50%, with more than 70,000 making the trip in 2004.


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