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By The Virtual Tourist
Whether derived from industry, legend, or just plain popularity, it's always interesting to learn how local symbols came to be. Official, unofficial, or even unofficially official, these icons are as much a part of the cities and institutions they represent as museums or language.
1. AMPELMANNCHEN; BERLIN, GERMANY
While residents of East Berlin were thrilled to see the demise of the wall, they were less enthusiastic when, in an effort to integrate with West Berlin, officials began removing the classic little hat-wearing figure that told pedestrians when and when not to cross the street. Almost obliterated, he is now a highly popular figure who has been immortalized in souvenirs and city art pieces.
2. THE BOXING KANGAROO; AUSTRALIA
Meant to reflect the physique and fighting technique of Australia's huge kangaroo population, the Boxing Kangaroo has symbolized the country since the 19th century. Considered a symbol of strength and might it was adopted by the country's
3. THE TRINACRIA; SICILY, ITALY
Symbolizing the three sides of the island of Sicily, the three legs in the shape of a wheel apparently modeled after warriors, although some argue they are actually women's legs. The original Medusa face was changed to what was thought to be a less hostile looking Gorgon when officially adopted by the island.
4. HAVIS AMANDA; HELSINKI, FINLAND
Although when first installed at the beginning of the last century this statue was considered highly scandalous and an insult to women, today it's not only the symbol of the city but also the center of one of its biggest celebrations. On Vappu, or May Day, she is donned with a graduation cap identical to those of the town's graduating students.
5. LITTLE DEVIL BOY; LES DIABLERETS, SWITZERLAND
Looking at the almost otherworldly perfection of the Diablerets landscape, it seems rather incongruent that the highly prominent symbol of this region is a small devil boy. Based on a legend in which area shepherds heard devils playing games in the mountains, the figure can be found on the front lawns of most area businesses and houses.
6. THE GUMBOOT; TAIHAPE, NEW ZEALAND
The people of Taihape hold their city symbol so sacred that they even have a yearly Gumboot Day Festival, the pinnacle of which is a gumboot throwing competition. When visiting, be sure to check out the giant gumboot sculpture made out of corrugated iron.
7. DURIAN FRUIT; DAVAO CITY, PHILIPPINES
While some say this is equivalent to having moldy cheese as a symbol, those who love the stinky fruit say the taste more than makes up for the pungent smell. In fact, the fruit is so revered here that it's even in the official city seal.
8. BLACK HORSE; STUTTGART, GERMANY
While the black horse on its hind legs may be familiar as the commercial symbol of European car companies, the story behind it as the symbol of Stuttgart, Germany may not be. Derived from the city name, it reflects the era when the town was known for being an active stud farm.
9. DRAGON; SUNDSVALL, SWEDEN
Sundsvall, Sweden's dragon symbol is relatively common in Europe, so how did it make our "Fascinating Symbols" list? Legend has it that the town bishop once refused to open mail from the city government, citing the symbol as heathen.
No, you're not imagining things. That red thing on the ceiling of
Travel | 10 Fascinating Place Symbols