Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fame and Horror in Edinburgh

The name's a bit confusing as it is spelled in various ways: Edinburg, Edinburgh, Edinborough, Edinbourgh...but the city itself is remarkable in all respects. It's an inspiring city due to a lucky combination of historical , architectural and cultural elements.

Edinburgh , capital of Scotland, is the birthplace of Sir Walter Scott, the famous novelist (author of "Ivanhoe") , Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ( the creator of Sherlock Holmes), actor Sir Sean Conery (the first 007 agent, of the renowned TV serial). The city is host to a lot of annual festivals, the most well-known being The Edinburgh International Festival of music, opera, theatre, dance, and exhibitions held in August.

The dark gothic monument built in honour of Sir Walter Scott is one of the biggest attractions in the city - 61 m high, its top reached via 278 steps! (The architect never saw his final work as he tripped into a canal and drowned). The monument is decorated with 64 statuettes which are believed to illustrate characters from Walter Scott's novels and from scottish literature in general. Below the arches, there's a white marble statue of the writer and his dog.

The Edinburg Castle- the symbol of Edinburg and of Scotland, fortress and formal royal residence - is ,no doubt, number one tourist attraction in Edinburg. It stands on an extinct volcano and offers a splendid panoramic view of the city. There's much to be seen in the castle: royal appartments, the room containing the scottish crown jewels, the dungeon, cannons, and various arms on display. There's some military presence at the castle for ceremonies mainly.
I happened to be there when a gun was fired and it scared the bejesus out of me.
It was the firing of the one o'clock gun used to allow ship captains to set their clocks and watches by.

Horror tours within the historic old town area are very popular. Visitors are taken to dark courts and alleys, to chambers used by witches, to haunted graveyards - and told scaring tales about tortures, murders, paranormal happenings. Edinburgh Castle is considered one of the most haunted places. Like many other castles it has its dungeons where prisoners were tortured and killed. These dungeons are believed to be haunted by the ghosts of their victims.

It was Robert Louis Stevenson, born in Edinburgh, who wrote the nightmarish story "The strange case of Dr Jeykell and Mr Hyde". Well, the Old historic, haunted town and the New elegant, sophisticated town of Edinburgh are said to be symbolic of these two characters: Dr Jeykell, and Mr. Hyde.


  1. Gosh Duta, you are really well travelled, aren't you. I have never been to Edinburgh but have travelled around Scotland. Lovely land. Shame about the midges and rain, though! Lester is half Scottish, and had a fleeting urge to live in Scotland. Fortunately I was able to convince him that France had more to offer, as I don't think I could manage the long cold winters there. Here we get short winters, thank goodness. Nice post again.

  2. I have read many times about the ghost who dwell in Edinburgh Castle. A most interesting post sweet Duta. It's just so cool that you have traveled these places and share them with us.

    You have yourself a terrifically blessed Thursday!!!

  3. I've been to Edinburgh last autumn and I was really impressed with it. If I had to choose one place in the world to come back to this would be Edinburgh.
    P.S. The pubs were great too. :D

  4. I love all things related to history, especially in Europe, but I'd have to pass on all the possible haunted places, eek!

  5. That is on the top of my list of places to go. Before my mother died (She was a Fraser), I promised I would go to Scotland. I love being around historic areas and being able touch old objects and walk land that has seen so much history. Well, I guess for my father, I need to go back to his homeland of Norway. Some day--I think I'll have to get to both of those places. You just reminded me to put those on my list of zillions of things I want to get done. I'm glad you shared that with us. I really love seeing pic's of it!

  6. Oh, Duta, I so enjoyed this virtual tour of Edinburgh. The photo graphs tell so much and hold an alluring energy. To bad the architect never got to see his work completed. Those horror tours, did you go on one?

  7. Sounds like a great place to visit Duta. I love looking at castles in photos.

  8. Just few days ago I've seen a documentary about Edinborough. Very interesting indeed (only too dark and bad weather, not my cup of tea...)a great touristic destination.

  9. Fascinating tour Duta. I am currently reading a series of books which for the most part take place in Scotland and I would love to visit. The horror tours sound great and scary, did you go on one?

  10. I love your pictures Duta. Is there also a big golfing thing in Edinburg?

  11. I've been here and it is a magical place. But, if more wind would gust up a kilt or two, I'd like it better. :-)

  12. How interesting. I think I would pass on the horror tour...these old cities are spooky enough in the daytime!

  13. Beautiful photos from a lovely and gorgeous place!

  14. What an interesting post. I love touring your cities with you as I will never make it there. You are a wonderful tour guide. But I do think I would have to pass on the Horror tours, does not do much for me. Thanks for sharing!
    until next time... nel

  15. You are such a doll to share your adventures with us, Duta! Loved the history lessons, the gorgeous pictures and the way you wove the stories. Okay, Edinburgh is going on my long list of must see places!

  16. Yes, you described Edinburgh to a T! I lived in Edinburgh for a year and certainly those descriptions are all the things that make Edinburgh great. Well done.

    I smiled also at your wearing sunglasses ... I used to wear sunglasses too in the hopes of sublime intervention, that this act would encourage the sun to shine. Now if Edinburgh was a sunny destination ... perfect. ;)

  17. Thanks for sharing your Edinburgh trip. Aunt Byrd's family Douglas were from Scotland and the house in Belle Meade was built after a visit to the old homeplace in Edinburgh. Peace

  18. Vera,

    Climate is a very important issue. It seems you were right in your decision to prefer south of France to Scotland.


    Yes, the ghosts haunting Edinburgh castle are as famous as the castle itself. So, it's not surprising the rumour about them reached you.
    Have a blessed weekend!


    I totally agree with you; it's an amazing city. Thanks for reminding me of the pubs.


    Europe has a lot to offer in terms of history. You can skip the haunted places. No problem.


    I thought about you when I wrote this post. After all, you're an expert in ghosts, horrors, paranormal activities etc..
    I hope you do get to visit both Scotland and Norway!

    Ronda Laveen,

    I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual tour to this splendid city. To answer your question: I did go on a "light" horror tour to some dark alleyin the old part of town, but all I remember was me behaving badly (giggling) because I wasn't used to the scottish accent of the guide.

  19. Kathy,

    It is indeed a great place. I like castles too, both in reality and in photos.


    Well, I think it's best to go there in summer when the weather is nice and there are bright, sunny days.

    Jennifer D,

    You should indeed follow your books and visit this interesting part of the world. As to your question, please see my answer to Ronda Laveen.


    Edinburgh has a lot of golfing areas and clubs, but I am not a golfer so I couldn't give you any details on that.

    Everyday Song,

    Welcome to my little blog!
    'magical' is indeed the right word to describe the place.

    Sue (Someone's Mom) - I certainly can understand you. Spooky places are not for everyone.

  20. Duta, Another great trip with you. So much is learned through your postings and I always am looking forward to the next. Hope you are having a wonderful season. Our spring is fighting to come alive with flowers and leafing trees so spirits are high. Have a great day.

  21. Phivos Nicolaides,

    Thank you. I must admit I can't compete with the number of lovely places you bring in your posts.


    Moi? Me a wonderful guide?! Thanks a lot for the huge compliment!


    I am flattered by your kind words. Hope you'll indeed get to visit Edinburgh.

    Sharon McPherson: AUTHOR,

    Lucky you to have lived a year in Edinburgh! You are in good company as the author of Harry Potter also lived or maybe still lives there.
    Coming from you - "well done" (referring to my post) is a big compliment. Thank you.

    Lady Di Tn,

    So, in a way you have family ties in Scotland. Nice to know about that.
    Thanks for your always kind comment. Peace.

    C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    I'm glad to hear "spirits are high" with you at that time of the year of blooming flowers and leafing trees. Have a wonderful weekend!

  22. Erh, wow... you have really have been to a lot of places! :o
    I adore Scotland, but never had the pleasure to go there.

    I love stories about haunted buildings & places. I can listen to them for hours. :D
    The flat(more like the whole house) where I grew up was haunted. I won't tell exactly what I have seen there... but it was scary.

  23. That's a wonderful post. I want to visit the place, too.^^

  24. It's really interesting to see your picture in front of so many historic landmarks. You have really travelled quite extensively. This is one of the few places I have visited as well. Scotland is filled with wonderful old castles, isn't it? Did you get to Aberdeen as well? It's beautiful there.

  25. Pink Panthress,

    You've made me curious about your haunted flat experience. Maybe you'll write a post on that; it will sure be interesting.


    Thank you. I hope your wish comes true and you get to visit Edinburgh.


    Thank you very much. May you always be blessed too!


    Scotland's old castles are something to remember.
    I wasn't in Aberdeen. Hope to visit there too someday.

  26. Very fascinating post indeed! I love your "lessons" from all of your travels. I think I would like a "horror tour", just because as I am getting older I am trying to do more that I wouldn't have before, a challenge to myself! Of course I would need someone to hold my hand throughout the tour! Have a nice week!

  27. A challenge is good at any age. I should think your husband is the most suitable person 'to hold your hand throughot the tour'.
    Have a nice week too!

  28. Maybe I will... but then I would be scared that people might not believe me. ;)

  29. Pink Panthress,

    You shouldn't worry about what people might or might not believe. Go ahead, write about your scarry experience, if you feel like it. You might be positively surprised by readers' reactions.

  30. You’re mentioned on my blog today

  31. Aw, what a nice surprise this post was. My mother, grandmother, brother all lived in Edinburgh. Having three Scots as relatives -- they pronounce it Ed-in-bur-ah...but it's one place with many pronunciations, a versatile city.

    It's quite lovely, and I've been there several times. One thing I like about Scotland, they are a people proud of their ghosts!

    From ghosties and ghoulies
    and long legged beasties
    and things that go bump in the night,
    good lord preserve us.

    And then take us on a tour, presumably ;-)

    Duta I've never asked, but what led you to be such a world traveler? I'm so glad you were/are, and I always look forward to your posts.

  32. Edinburgh is one of my favourite places. It has so much atmosphere. Two things I love also about it are the hot chips with vinegar sold in the street in newspaper and Greyfriars Bobby! I really do adore Edinburgh. xx

  33. Glad to find your blog!
    You must write a book and share others all this incredible things.

  34. Autumnforest,

    Thank you or the mention and for the kind comment on your blog.

    Land of Shimp,

    I'm glad to learn of your scottish descent, and I like the little stanzas about the ghosties.

    As to your question: When you live in a tiny place like Israel surrounded by unfriendly neighbours, you feel like in a Ghetto, and you'll use any opportunity to get out of it.
    Anyway, I would say the term 'world traveler' is a bit exagerated, as I haven't visited too many places.

    Josephine Tale Peddler,

    Oh, yes - chips with vinegar, and the monument of Bobby, the dog that for 14 years guarded his master's grave in Greyfriar. Thanks for the reminder.


    Welcome! I'm also glad that you find my blog, and thank you for your comment.

  35. A stitch in time saves nine - how true!
    Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.