• Alex Feal

Cities and the legends that made them...


"Those who don't believe in magic will never find it"


We all love the idea of mystery and magic and so, it turns out does a great number of cities around the world. Though the notion of curses are largely ignored nowadays (cue the sighs), there are still a great many places where the influence of their own quirky myths are still visible today. So here are our favorite urban legends that are worth travelling for!

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Philadelphia - The Curse of Billy Penn

Atop the iconic Philadelphia City Hall stands a statue of William Penn, the man credited with the founding of the Pennsylvania colony in the 17th century. Standing at 548 feet above the ground, it was believed that any building that rose above the statue would doom it's owners to failure. While the curse has been largely ignored with the construction of One Liberty Place (Philadelphia Eagles fans still blame it for their lack of a Superbowl win), the risk of incurring the curse of Billy Penn has left much of the surrounding area a little short, ensuring that the stunning architecture of City Hall - and the Penn atop it - can be seen from all angles, the cherry on the icing of a fantastic city.


Edinburgh - Greyfriar's Bobby

Before there was "man's best friend", there was Greyfriar's Bobby. The legend of Bobby claims that, upon his owners' death, the dog would sit upon and guard his grave every day for 14 years - leaving only to scavenge food, remaining by his master's side until his own death. An inspiratonal tale of loyalty, the dog has been celebrated with his own memorial plaque in the Kirkyard while a statue sits proudly near the National Museum of Scotland and has been mentioned in speeches by Scottish politicians for years to demonstrate love and loyalty towards each other. All we know is that whether you are a cat or a dog person, Bobby's resting site is a must-see (especially as the graveyard contains the names of Harry Potter characters!)... just be sure to rub the dog's nose on your way out for good luck!


Gibralter - Monkey business

Being a British-owned volcanic island between Spain and Morocco means that Gibraltar was always going to have it's own quirks, not least involving its most-photographed resident: the monkeys! According to legend, in the 1770's, the monkeys alerted British troops on the island to a joint Franco-Spanish invasion, allowing them to repel the invading force. From then on the monkeys became an essential part of life on the island, coming under military protection as the saying caught on that "as long as they remain, so will the British". In facti, such has been their influence on the island that when their numbers dwindled, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered their numbers be replenished from the surrounding jungles of Algeria and Morocco. Whether true or not, these monkeys are here to stay. Bring a camera and indulge in their model side


Salamanca - 'Gotta catch em all

What is it with animals and wanting to be the centre of attention on this list eh? Luckily for the attention-grabbing creatures, Salamanca is no different, with a carving of a frog attracting all of the headlines this time. Tradition has it that finding the carving of a frog on the facade of the Cathedral is a good luck charm to everyone with exams and tests coming up however, be warned, apparently if you are unable to find the frog then it is a sign that you will surely fail! With a student population of nearly 30,000, that frog has a lot of work on its hands (?!) if every one of them is to graduate...


London - London Bridge or London Bridge?

Despite being denied by almost everyone involved, the story of London Bridge continues to be told all over the city. According to the myth, McCulloch (an American businessman) bought the original London Bridge in 1967, believing it to be the Thames' more iconic Tower Bridge, before relocating it brick-by-brick to Lake Havasu in Arizona. McCulloch apparently did not realise that he had purchased the wrong bridge until it had arrived in Arizona... (#Awkward!) Whatever the truth, Londoners eager to get a quick laugh at their transatlantic neighbours will continue to share the story and indulge in a little chuckle whenever the bridge is in sight...


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I'm just a coffee-addict with restless feet! Never usually found without my camera in-hand, follow me to stay up to date with my city guides and travel related posts!

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