Auld Reekie

If you've spent much time in Edinburgh you've probably heard it described as Auld Reekie by the locals. Why's this? Where did the name Auld Reekie originate?

The Smell of Edinburgh

The name Auld Reekie simply means "old smelly"! The unflattering nickname was given to the city because it used to stink. Most cities smelled unpleasant centuries ago - hence the popularity of nosegays - however Edinburgh stank worse than most.

Apart from general overcrowding there were two main factors that contributed to Edinburgh's distinctive aroma. One of these was the presence of whisky distilleries, once far more prevalent than they are today.

The other factor was the Nor Loch, situated on the site of the modern Princes Street Gardens. Into this would run the waste from the old city above along with various other items perhaps best not examined too closely. The smell from this foul broth would then rise up to the city.

Fortunately Edinburgh today is a lot kinder on all the senses!

External Links:
Edinburgh Princes Street