On Saturday June 22nd, we woke up bright and early and started off our day with our walking tour of Edinburgh! Our guide Andrew led us through many historical and fascinating parts of the city. We got the chance to admire the architectural beauty of St.Giles’ Cathedral which happens to be one of the only church in the world that boasts of having a sculptured angel playing the bagpipes.
We made our way through Edinburgh admiring the beauty of the city as Andrew told us stories of interesting people who came from the city or visited it. He pointed out shops and pubs along the way that were local favorites, and generally helped us see what a great place Edinburgh is.
Our next major stop was the Greyfriars’ cemetery. It also happens to be the perfect setting for a thriller music video. The church in Greyfriars’ cemetery was built in 1620 and burials had been taken place since the late 16th century. Andrew regaled us with tales of body snatching and supernatural incidents. Unfortunately, body snatching was quite common in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Body snatchers would enter the cemetery in the dead of night and steal the freshest bodies. They would sell the bodies for dissection or anatomy lectures in medical schools throughout Edinburgh. Family members were forced to come up with creative ways of protecting the deceased. Poorer relatives had no other choice but to keep watch late into the night while wealthy relatives were able to put up iron cages around the deceased’s grave. This was done to prevent body snatchers from kidnapping the deceased’s body. Pushed by desperation and greed, body snatchers would murder their victims rather than kidnap corpses from graveyards. One such notorious case is the Burke and Hare murders. For nearly a year, William Burke and William Hare killed 16 victims and sold their bodies to doctors and medical school. Their method of murder was highly sophisticated; they compressed and smothered the chest of their victims so that the cause of death was untraceable.
On a happier note we ended our tour with the story of Greyfriars Bobby, a loyal and faithful dog of an Edinburgh police chief that loyally guarded his masters grave for 14 years. A life-like statue of Bobby was made quite close to Greyfriars’ cemetery and is a popular tourist attraction and place for pictures. Lucky enough, all of us took a picture together including our tour guide Andrew with our Western flag!