Glasgow City Chambers' Staircase – Glasgow, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Many people in Glasgow, Scotland, pass the impressive City Chambers building every day with no idea of the magnificent opulence awaiting inside. 

Step inside the stately structure, and you’ll realize the phrase “more marble than the Vatican” is no exaggeration. The Scottish building has even been used as a stand-in for the Vatican in films. 

The City Chambers also boast Western Europe’s largest marble staircase. The three ornate levels were built using Carrara marble imported from Italy.

Glasgow’s City Chambers were designed by William Young, who won the bid amid a competition between 125 entries.  The building was completed in 1888 and opened by Queen Victoria. 

Know Before You Go

The City Chambers is a functioning governmental building. Just inform the security/information desk that you are interested in viewing the staircases. There are two sets of staircase on either side. Access, though free, is limited. You are able to roam around at your leisure, take photos, and examine the display cases containing various objects pertaining to the building's history.

To gain entry to the upper levels, it's suggested that you take one of the tours offered. They have a free 45-minute tour twice a day at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m, Monday through Friday. Tours are filled on a first-come, first-served basis and can fit groups of up to 25 people.

Tours are located through the main entrance, located on the George Square side of the building. There are free pamphlets available that give the history of the building.