/ The Edinburgh Guide
Edinburgh — By Andy Hayes on May 1, 2010 at 11:43 am
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Lions, Tigers, and Bears in St Andrews Square

If you’ve been to Edinburgh’s St Andrews Square recently, you might be surprised to see it’s a busy place – in fact, it’s looking like the animals from Edinburgh Zoo have escaped and have setup camp!

Welcome, The Lion of Scotland

Chilling out just north of the statue in the middle of the square is a large granite lion.  Visitors might assume this is a new Edinburgh attraction, but this is actually one of the lions from Holyrood Park that’s been moved (original location shown in the above photograph).  The lion is an interesting work – it was carved by local sculptor Ronald Rae, who used handtools to chisel away at this massive piece of pink granite from Aberdeenshire.  It weights 20 tons and arrived at Holyrood Park at 2006.

The lion will make St Andrews Square his home for the next year, where he’ll likely get lots of attention from children who will pass by here during the summer festivals.  Indeed it seems like yet another reason to go and sit a spell in the square, which was only in the past year or so open to pedestrians.

The statue is formally called the Lion of Scotland and while it is ‘owned’ by Mr. Rae, it was given on loan to the council body responsible for the grounds of the Scottish Parliament (which apparently owns the plot where the lion once sat). A local petition was circulated in support of keeping the lion here permanently – for good reason, as the lion has long been a symbol of strength and power in Scottish symbolism.  Alas, the council refused and it was Essential Edinburgh, who hosts a number of activities in the square, have given this beast refuge for the year.

According to the artist’s website, the lion is technically available for sale.  Prices were not listed – does anybody fancy a lion?

Tigers, Bears, and More

As part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival 2010, a free photography exhibition entitled Spirit of the Wild is showing in the square.  The massive, high-resolution photographs are all by renowned wildlife photographer Steve Bloom, and they feature a number of quite surreal settings.  A polar bear mum cuddling her two newborn boys, a lone ostrich speeding across the empty desert, as well as tiger cubs and monkeys are just a few of the animals awaiting you.  Hurry though – the exhibit ends May 16th!

What more do you need – grab a coffee from the stand in the square and enjoy the lions, tigers, and bears while they’re here at St Andrew’s Square!

Note:  The square closes at 8PM.  Dogs (except guide dogs) are technically not allowed though this doesn’t seem to be enforced.

Photos by VerseVend, subberculture

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