One of the world’s longest tapestries is unveiled at the Scottish Parliament


One of Scotland’s most ambitious community arts projects, which tells Scotland’s colourful story from pre-history to modern times has been unveiled for the first time at the Scottish Parliament by the Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP.

Measuring 143 metres long, the Great Tapestry of Scotland is one of the longest in the world. The 160 beautifully detailed panels capture unique moments in time during Scotland’s 420 million year history. This unique piece of art was devised by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith along with historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy.

One thousand stitchers aged from 4 to 94 brought Scotland’s history to life through embroidery. The work took more than 50,000 hours to complete and will be exhibited in the Main Hall of the Scottish Parliament from 03 – 21 September.

The Presiding Officer said:

“To see the Tapestry unveiled in its entirety is truly breath-taking. It is fitting that this Tapestry, by the people of Scotland for the people of Scotland, should be unveiled in our nation’s Parliament.

“The scale of the project is immense but the detail in each and every panel vividly illustrates Scotland’s rich and diverse history. The overall glorious effect of the Great Tapestry is a testament to the hours of work and creativity of one thousand stitchers from across Scotland.

Mrs Marwick added:

“I would encourage people from across Scotland to come see this magnificent artwork. There is no other piece of art out there that tells so much about Scotland’s story.”

Alexander McCall Smith said:

“This is a wonderful day for the artist and the hundreds of stitchers behind this project. Today marks the end of the first part of this tapestry’s life - ¬ the stage of its inception and creation. Now we start the second stage, when the tapestry begins its life’s work. And that life’s work is to bring pleasure to the many thousands of people who will see it each year.

“The history of Scotland is a fascinating tale. This tapestry will bring that story to life in a way that no other single artefact can match. What we are seeing with its unveiling at the Scottish Parliament is the revealing to the world of a treasure of astonishing beauty and interest."


The Presiding Officer stitched the first and final stitch of the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

The tapestry will be exhibited in the Main Hall of the Scottish Parliament between 3-21 September (please note the Parliament is open Monday-Saturday). Entry to see the Tapestry is free.

There will also be a number of events held in the Parliament to celebrate the Tapestry’s creation, including a lecture and book signing by Alexander McCall Smith on the making of the Tapestry.

Beautifully illustrating the history of Scotland, from a land locked in ice and carved by glaciers, to the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the panels depict Scotland’s fascinating history, science, culture, industry and politics over the centuries.

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