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Bizarre Edinburgh: 3 Strange Facts About Edinburgh You Might Not Know

Let’s face it. In a city where a winter Loony Dook and rubber duck race through the heart of Edinburgh is an annual celebration, “strange” is pretty much the norm. And while there are plenty of interesting facts about Auld Reekie, there are a fair few strange facts about Edinburgh too.

1. Meet Sir Nils Olav – The World’s Only Knighted Penguin

One of Edinburgh Zoo’s resident king penguins also happens to be the official mascot of the Norwegian Royal Guard. In celebration of the long history between Edinburgh Zoo, penguins and Norway, Nils Olav was given a prominent honorary position in the Norwegian Guard. And over the years, this loveable little flapper has moved steadily up the ranks. In 2008, he received a knighthood – a position so important, it had to be approved by the King of Norway. And in 2016, he was promoted to Brigadier. But it’s not all fun and games for the highly decorated penguin. Sir Olav takes his job very seriously, and inspects the Norwegian Guardsmen whenever they are in the city.

2. Burke-ing The Record For The Most Popular Dissection

Medical jars on display at a medical museumThe story of famous Edinburgh body snatchers, Burke and Hare, is a macabre reminder of what happens when poverty meets ambition in a time of medical innovation. Scotland’s most notorious criminals were at the cutting edge of Edinburgh’s fresh cadaver business – and we mean that quite literally. After their murderous killing spree, Hare turned King’s evidence to escape the gallows. While Burke was publically executed and (ironically) dissected for science. His public dissection was the best-attended lecture in the history of Edinburgh’s medical school, and bits of Burke are still on display in the Surgeon’s Hall.

3. Statues in Edinburgh: It’s A Man’s World

Statue of Greyfriar's Bobby in EdinburghPerhaps one of the really strange facts about Edinburgh, is the question surrounding Edinburgh’s female statues. Edinburgh’s main streets and bustling thoroughfares are lined with statues of men (both real and fictional) and animals. From Greyfriars Bobby and Walter Scott, to tributes and monuments of historical icons and fictional greats, there is a decided lack of female representation in the statued legacy of our city. In fact, there are more statues of animals than women in Edinburgh! So where are all the women? At the foot of Leith Walk is the only female statue in the whole city – a statue of Queen Victoria.

So there you have it. 3 strange facts about Edinburgh you probably never knew. To find out more about this strange and equally wonderful city, discover Edinburgh from just £70 per person per night with our Edinburgh Sightseeing Tours.

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