Edinburgh Past And Present - The Edinburgh Website

City Facts and Photos

Barnton Lauriston Castle Gdns-2010a

Lauriston Castle Gardens

Dean Modern Art Gallery-2010 (27)a

Front of Modern Art Gallery

01. Edinburgh is the 8th largest city in the United Kingdom (population wise) and the 2nd largest in Scotland.

02. Population: 486 120(2010) Area: 100 sq miles.

03. Weather: 626mm rain pa, 1351 hrs sun p.a. Average Temperatures: Jan: 6.2C max 0.4C min Jul: 18.4C max 10.9 min.

04. The Royal Mile is actually just over a mile long and consists of 5 streets: Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street, Canongate and Abbey Strand.The Canongate was a separate town until 1856 when it joined with Edinburgh. Abbey Strand, just outside Holyrood Palace, was once a debtors area. No one could be prosecuted for debt while they remained in that area. However, Sunday was a day of immunity from the law so the residents could move freely for 24 hours.

05. Edinburgh has community councils covering most of the city. Check the website below for details:

Barnton Cammo Estate Tower Inside C-2008a

Inside Cammo Tower

Duddingston Dr Neils Garden-2010 (2)a

Dr Neil's Garden

06. Edinburgh is twinned with the following cities: Dunedin,New Zealand - Kiev, Ukraine - Nice, France - Vancouver, Canada -Florence, Italy - Munich, Germany - San Diego, USA - Xian, China - Aalborg, Denmark - St Petersburg, Russia - Ordu, Turkey.

07. The Old and New Towns were declared a World Heritage Site in 1995.

08. Edinburgh has been nicknamed Athens of The North due to its many Greek neo classical style buildings and also Auld Reekie due to the smoke from the coal fires of the past.

09. On the 7th September 1801 Edinburgh was hit by an earthquake. It was felt in the Newtown north but not the Old Town south. No damage was done although it was acredited as having damaged a barn that collapsed a few days later and killed two shearers.

10. Davidson's Mains was originally known as Mutton Hole possibly due to farmers holding their sheep in the area before bringing them to the city markets.

Burdiehouse-2011 (13)a


Balerno Malleny Garden-2010 (2)a

Malleny Garden

11. The Mound has an electric blanket underneath it. In 1956 electric wires were put under the road to help in icy conditions but it proved unreliable and was given up a few years later.

12. The first traffic lights in Edinburgh were installed in 1928 at the junction of Picardy Pl/York Pl and Broughton St. They were the second set of lights in Britain.

13. Edinburgh's first zoo was in Broughton Park just off East Claremont Street. It lasted between 1840 and 1867 and had an elephant, bears and big cats. Most died with stress due to fireworks and re-enactments of Crimean battles.

14. The colonel in chief of the Norwegian armed forces is called Nils Olav and he is a penguin at Edinburgh zoo. He has been the colonel since 1972 and was knighted in 2008 (although the original penguin died, another has taken his place). Norway gave the zoo its first penguins in 1913.

15. There are 3 islands in the city - Cramond, Inchmickery and Cow & Calves (a rock formation near Inchmickery).

Cramond Island Old Bunker3-2009 (1)a

Cramond Island

Craiglockhart Craighouse Campus-2010 (2)a


16. Edinburgh's coastline is 16 miles/25.6km long with beaches at Cramond, Silverknowes and Portobello. There were once piers at both Portobello and Trinity.

17. The last public execution in Edinburgh took place in June 1864 when George Bryce of Ratho was hanged for the murder of a nursemaid. There are 3 brass blocks at the junction of George IV Bridge and High Street which commemorate this. This was also the head of Libberton's Wynd which was swept away when George IV Bridge was constructed in 1835.

18.The one o'clock gun started in June 1861 as a means of notifying ships in Leith to set their clocks accurately. A time piece was also constructed on the Nelson Monument - a ball that ran up and down a vertical pole but this wasn't succesful due to poor visibility.

19.It is considered good luck to spit on the Heart of Midlothian outside St Giles Cathedral. This is because the Heart is set where the entrance to the old jail stood, the old Edinburgh tolbooth which was demolished in 1817. It is believed that people spat at the door to show contempt.

20.The top five employers in Edinburgh are: Edinburgh City Council, NHS Lothian, The University of Edinburgh, Lloyds Bank and RBS. 31.3% of the workforce live outside the city.(2010 Source Edinburgh Council Website)

21.The top five tourist attractions in Edinburgh are: Edinburgh Castle, National Gallery, St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh Zoo and National Museum of Scotland. (2009 Source Edinburgh Council Website)

Colinton Bonaly Reservoir-2009 (5)a

Bonaly Reservoir

Gilmerton Cove inside-2011 (12)a

Gilmerton Cove