9 interesting Fun Facts about Edinburgh Scotland
1. World Cultural Heritage
In 1995 Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. This includes some 16 thousand historic buildings from various eras. This makes the city one of the 6 World Heritage Sites in Scotland. The other five are St. Kilda, the Antonine Wall, Heart of Neolithic Orkney, New Lanark and the Forth Rail Bridge.
2. Auld Reekie
Edinburgh’s nickname Auld Reekie (Old Smokey) dates back to the time when coal and wood were mainly burned for heating. And thus the air of the city was filled with smoke.
3. Fire and ice
The large rock on which Edinburgh Castle sits is an extinct volcano. The last time it erupted was over 350 million years ago.
Edinburgh owes much of its beauty to the recent ice age. Many natural landmarks such as Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags were created by glaciers that were miles long.
4. First fire department worldwide
After a series of fires devastated parts of the city in 1703, the Edinburgh Act was passed, making Edinburgh the first city in the world with its own fire department.
5. The Literature City
Many famous writers were born in Edinburgh.
Among them are Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), Robert Louis Stevenson, Muriel Spark, Irvine Welsh and Sir Walter Scott.
Edinburgh also inspired some literary works.
J. K. Rowlings wrote most of the Harry Potter books while living in the city.
Charles Dickens found the inspiration for Ebenezer in a cemetery in Edinburgh.
And the shocking Game of Thrones scene “Red Wedding” was also inspired by historical events in Edinburgh Castle.
6. Mystical beings
The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn, what else would you expect?
7. Three minutes too early
Since 1902, the Balmoral Hotel clock has been three minutes fast, except on Hogmanay (December 31). This is to help train passengers not to miss their trains from nearby Waverley Station.
8. Spit on the stone heart
A heart-shaped mosaic on the sidewalk of the Royal Mile marks the site of Old Tolbooth Prison, where public executions once took place.
There, prisoners were spat at by locals as they were led from the prison entrance to the gallows.
This is how the tradition of spitting on the heart of Midlothian began. However, nowadays you do it to bring you luck.
9. Edinburgh has adopted a dog
Legend has it that Skye terrier Bobby sat for 14 years at the grave of his master, who died in 1858. During this time the community of Edinburgh took care of him, to feed him and take care of him.
Bobby’s loyalty and the heartbreaking story was immortalized in a bronze statue. This can be found at the main entrance of Greyfriars Kirkyard.
This story also reminds me of the Futurama episode “Jurassic Bark”, which I still can’t get over.
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