Welcome to Edinburgh, where history, culture, and mystery merge effortlessly to offer a genuinely unique experience. Aside from its stunning scenery and prominent landmarks, this Scottish jewel hides a treasury of fascinating secrets and lesser-known truths.

Here are 13 surprising and strange facts about Edinburgh that will surprise you and surely you didn’t know before.

1. The Inspiration Behind Harry Potter

One of Edinburgh’s most fascinating facts is its relation to the popular Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling, the famous novelist, got the inspiration for her wizarding world from the city’s picturesque streets and magical aura.

It’s easy to understand how Edinburgh’s rich history and magical aura impacted the construction of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry when you travel through the twisting streets and towering structures. 

In addition, many locations in the city, such as the Elephant House café and the Greyfriars Kirkyard, inspired her iconic characters and settings. Fans of the series can see these amazing spots while in Edinburgh.

2. Hidden Underground City 

Under Edinburgh’s wonderful streets is a subterranean world known as the “Edinburgh Vaults” or “South Bridge Vaults.” These underground chambers have an interesting, and occasionally eerie, history.

The vaults were originally utilized as company storage space when they were built in the final years of the 18th century. However, as time passed, they became a hotspot for illegal activities like as gambling, smuggling, and even murder.

However, exploring the underground city offers a unique perspective on Edinburgh’s past. It stands in stark opposition to the grandeur of the city’s architecture above ground, displaying the hidden underbelly of everyday life in centuries past.

Whether you’re interested in the supernatural, or historical secrets, or simply want an entirely new perspective on Edinburgh, a visit to the hidden underground city is a must.


3. The Exclusive Residence of the World’s Sole Knighted Penguin 

Deep within the beautiful walls of Edinburgh Zoo, an extraordinary resident has a title like no other-the world’s only knighted penguin.

You read that correctly! Sir Nils Olav, a majestic king penguin, has been knighted not once, but twice, in a wonderful tradition that will leave you speechless.

However, this charming penguin has grabbed the hearts of visitors from every corner of the world and keeps appealing to all who have the pleasure of meeting him. 

4. Haunted History

The fourth unexpected fact about Edinburgh, Scotland’s medieval capital, is that it is famous for its haunted history, attracting locals and tourists alike with tales of restless spirits and creepy encounters.

The city’s historic castles, tiny cobblestone alleyways, and deep underground vaults create the perfect setting for a creepy atmosphere. Greyfriars Kirkyard is one of Edinburgh’s most haunted locations.

Moreover, visitors also have reported encountering strange drops in temperature, unexplained occurrences, and even physical sensations of being grabbed or pushed when visiting the kirkyard.

Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, Edinburgh’s haunted history adds an added element of intrigue and attraction to the city.

With its variety of ghost tours, paranormal investigations, and haunted sites, Edinburgh is an exciting destination for those wanting a taste of the supernatural.

5. Edinburgh Was Not Always Scotland’s Capital

Although Edinburgh is now the capital of Scotland, it may surprise you to hear that it has not always had this coveted position.

Indeed, for many centuries, the capital of Scotland was Scone, located in the center of the country. Scone was the royal home and the seat of authority for Scottish monarchs.

So, next time you find yourself in Edinburgh, take a moment to reflect on its historical significance and the transformation that led to its current status as the cherished capital of Scotland.13 Weird and wonderful facts about Edinburgh | St Christopher's Inns

6. The Birthplace of Golf

Did you know that the popular sport of golf has its origins in the city of Edinburgh? This beautiful Scottish city is often considered the birthplace of golf, with a rich history spanning several centuries.

However, numerous historic golf courses in the city continue to attract golf aficionados from all over the world. Today, Edinburgh continues to celebrate its status as the home of golf, attracting golfers of all ability levels to enjoy its ancient courses and immerse themselves in the ambiance of a sport that is firmly established in Scottish culture.

7. Unique New Year Celebration

Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year’s Eve celebration, is an unforgettable event in Edinburgh. The city offers one of the world’s largest Hogmanay celebrations, complete with a torchlight parade, live music, fireworks, and a street party that lasts into the early hours of the morning.

The festive mood and warm Scottish hospitality make it a wonderful way to start the new year.

8. UNESCO City of Literature 

Edinburgh has been designated as the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature. This honor recognizes the city’s rich literary past as well as its current dedication to fostering literature, reading, and writing.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival, hosted in the lovely Charlotte Square Gardens, exemplifies the city’s love of the written word.

9. The City of Festivals 

Aside from the Edinburgh Festival, the city stages several other festivals throughout the year. There is a festival for every interest, from the Edinburgh International Science Festival to the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival.

This year-round celebration of arts, culture, and diversity solidifies Edinburgh’s status as the “City of Festivals.”

10. World Largest Art Festival 

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a major component of the Edinburgh Festival, is the world’s largest arts festival. It highlights a diverse range of artistic disciplines,

including theater, comedy, dance, music, and more, with thousands of performances taking place in various venues throughout the city. Because the Fringe is open to the public, it is a wonderful venue for emerging artists and performers to present their work.

11. A Unicorn is Scotland’s National Animal 

Most countries chose real creatures as national animals, such as lions, eagles, or bears. On the other hand, Scotland takes a deliciously mythological approach, making the unicorn its national animal.

The unicorn’s chosen as Scotland’s national animal symbolizes the country’s embracing of its mythological origins while also adding a whimsical touch to its identity.

So, the next time you go to Scotland, look for the famous unicorn, a symbol as enchanting as the nation itself.

12. The City Houses The World’s 22nd Best Universities 

When it comes to higher education, Edinburgh has one of the biggest academic institutions in the world. The University of Edinburgh, located in the city center, has a reputation for quality, ranking as the 22nd finest university in the world.

So, if you’re thinking about pursuing higher education or are simply curious about the world of academics, Edinburgh’s University is a bright example of academic brilliance and intellectual pursuit.

13. Multiple Festivals Within The Festivals 

The Edinburgh Festival is a collection of multiple festivals taking place concurrently throughout August. The Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh International Book Festival,

and many more are among these festivals. With such a broad assortment of festivals, there is something for everyone.

To Sum Up 

Lastly, Edinburgh is a city that never fails to surprise and captivate. From its mythical connection to Harry Potter and the world’s only knighted penguin to its haunting history,

role in the development of golf, and prominent university, Edinburgh provides an intriguing blend of enchantment, history, and intellectual achievement. 

As you walk through its historic streets, immerse yourself in its rich culture, and find its hidden treasures, you’ll discover that Edinburgh is a city that effortlessly blends history and innovation,

leaving an unforgettable impact on everyone who has the pleasure of witnessing its wonders. 

So, whether you’re a history buff, a fan of the paranormal, a golf aficionado, or a voracious learner, Edinburgh has something extraordinary to offer. Prepare to be dazzled by the magic and attraction of this extraordinary city. Thank you for reading

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