Edinburgh is a beautiful city, steeped in culture and history, and teeming with a range of stunning architecture. But how much about this fascinating place do you know? Here are a few fun facts about Scotland’s capital that you might not know:
1. Meet me in Auld Reekie!
Edinburgh’s nickname is Auld Reekie (Old Smoky). This comes from the time that coal and wood were predominately burnt for heating, filling the air of the city with smoke.
2. And where there’s smoke, there’s fire!
Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire service. In 1703, after a series of fires devastated parts of the city, The Edinburgh Act was passed, and a ‘Company for Quenching of Fires’ was formed. This first brigade was made up entirely of volunteer firefighters.
3. Castle Rock hides an explosive secret!
The large rock Edinburgh Castle sits upon is actually an extinct volcano! But rest assured, the volcano last erupted over 350 million years ago. The crater of the volcano is named “Arthur’s Throne”.
4. Edinburgh Castle is home to another famous stone.
The Stone of Destiny, which is still used during the crowning ceremonies of English monarchs, is kept in the castle. After being captured by Edward 1st in 1296, it was finally returned to Scotland in 1996. It was last used in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, when it formed part of the coronation chair.
5. From famous stones to famous detectives.
Writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an Edinburgh native, apparently based his most famous creation, fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, on the then President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Professor Joseph Bell.
6. A literal City of Literature.
Conan Doyle isn’t the only famous literary figure to emanate from Edinburgh. The likes of Robert Louis Stevenson, Muriel Spark, Irvine Welsh and Sir Walter Scott were also born in the city. In fact, thanks to its long heritage of literary prestige, Edinburgh was the first city to be named UNESCO City of Literature. And there’s the famous local legend of J.K Rowling writing the first Harry Potter book in an Edinburgh café!
7. Other famous names sure to ring a bell.
And it’s not just famous writers that Edinburgh has given us. Sir Sean Connery, Ronnie Corbett and Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, all come from the city.
8. Edinburgh’s most exotic residents.
Edinburgh Zoo – the city’s second most popular tourist attraction – is the only zoo in the UK that is home to koalas and pandas. Koala Territory, opened in 2005, currently houses 3 koalas, while Yáng Guāng and Tián Tián the giant pandas were loaned to the zoo by China in 2011.
9. The city attracts a lot of visitors too!
The population of the city doubles during August, aka festival season! From 500,000 to over a million. The Fringe Festival is just one element of Edinburgh’s tourism trade, and industry that brings over 15 million visitors to the Scottish capital every year.
10. A Taste of the High Life.
This northern city is also famous another export: Whiskey. Scotch whiskey has attained such a high reputation that forty bottles are shipped abroad every second! And Edinburgh is the biggest contributor to this £3billion industry, with a variety of distilleries and specialist bars scattered across the city – including a fabled distillery at the foot of Edinburgh Castle: The Scotch Whisky Experience.
11. A Touch of Magic.
While you ought to know that Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, you may not know that Scotland’s national animal is… The unicorn! How fun is that?! Although for a city that inspired Harry Potter, it’s perhaps not so surprising.
There are so many fun sides of Edinburgh to be discovered, it’s no wonder that people flock to visit, work and invest in the city.
If you want to know more about this spectacular city and why you should consider investing in property there, take a look at Why Invest in Edinburgh.