Once upon a time, there was a handy short cut which could take the time-pressed traveller from the South end of North Bridge in Edinburgh down to Market Street below and the side entrance to Waverley Train Station. This short cut - the Scotsman Steps - ran down the side of the offices of The Scotsman newspaper and could save you at least 5 minutes on your journey.
For as long as I can remember, though, the steps have been far from pleasant with graffiti common and the scent of stale urine. This state of affairs continued even after the re-development of the The Scotsman offices as a four star hotel; something I always found surprising.
Now, however, the steps have been renovated, as part of an art project sponsored by the Fruitmarket Gallery. Turner Prize winner Martin Creed has re-clad the steps in marble and the Victorian gates have been re-instated to ensure that the stairway doesn't suffer from it's previous fate.
There's more on the history of the steps and the genesis of the renovation plans here and the result here.