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The Old Town of Edinburgh, Scotland, consisted originally of the main street, now known as the Royal Mile, and a large number of small alleyways that led off it to the north and south. Some of these lead to open courtyards and are therefore called “courts”. Others are open thoroughfare wide enough for a horse and cart, and are called “wynds”, a reference to the way they wind along. But most of these alleyways are called “closes”, because they lead to private property and are hence gated and closed to the public.

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Closes in Edinburgh. Photo credit: (left) matt's eye/Flickr, (right) zoetnet/Flickr

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