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Edinburgh, the friendliest city in Scotland, is known for many things like its castle, an abundance of festivals, men in woollen skirts, whisky trails and there is Bobby, a dog that got immortalized in a statue.
Bobby, man’s best friend
Bobby was a dog that took ‘man’s best friend’ to the extreme; a terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner, until he died in 1872.
Nowadays his bronze alter ego guards the pub named after him, close to Greyfriars Kirkyard where Bobby was buried close to his owner. He became so famous that there are books and films about the story of Bobby, although there are some party poopers that believe he never really existed.
As if Santa Claus ever did!
History of Bobby’s tale
Anyway, Bobby was probably a 19th-century publicity stunt spread by locals who benefitted from the tale of a bereaved dog. In 19th-century Europe, stray dogs found on cemeteries were fed by people believing that they were waiting by a grave. After a newspaper featured Bobby in an article, visitor numbers to the graveyard increased.
As the story spread, people who visited the kirkyard started using a local restaurant and donating money to the curator of the cemetery.
True or not, it was such an endearing story that in 1872 a local sculptor, William Brodie, created a statue of the dog, funded by Baroness Burdett-Coutts to commemorate this animal.
Practical information Edinburgh
If you wish to pay your respect to Bobby you can visit his grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard. His life-size statue stands close to the entrance of the cemetery, in front of Greyfriars Bobby Bar. If you must rub his nose for luck, do it gently, as it causes damage to the statue.
The bar serves excellent meals in a convivial atmosphere.
30-34 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, EH1 2QE
There is plenty of choice in accommodation; there are literally hundreds of different options from five star to budget hotels in Edinburgh.
The Scotland Tourist Information website has a wealth of information about the city.
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“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.”
— Aldous Huxley (author, Brave New World)