Aberdeen Travel Guide, United Kingdom
The Diversity of Aberdeen
Popularly nicknamed “The Granite City” or “Silver City with the Golden Sands,” Aberdeen is a city famous for its sparkling buildings. With a population of about 200,000 people and a land area covering 72.76 square miles, it is the third largest city in Scotland. The surrounding areas have been inhabited for more than 8,000 years. This article presents an overview of this diverse and richly historical city.
Aberdeen began as two separate settlements at the mouths of two of Scotland’s major rivers: Old Aberdeen at the mouth of the River Don and New Aberdeen at the River Dee. Aberdeen was under English rule during the Wars of Scottish Independence, and numerous attacks and sieges befell the city at this time. The outbreak of the bubonic plague in 1647 killed half of the populace.
The Great Charter of Robert the Bruce in 1319 turned this fishing and trading settlement into a financially independent community. The Charter granted the city the Forest of Stocket, which generated money to establish the Common Good Fund. This fund has been used to build several of the city’s most important landmarks, and Aberdonians still benefit from it to this day. Continuous developments in infrastructure in the early 18th century addressed the city’s increasing economic importance but caused its bankruptcy. General prosperity following the Napoleonic wars helped Aberdeen in its recovery.
Hills, granite cliffs, and long, sandy beaches compose Aberdeen’s geographical make-up. Steep rocky cliffs can be found to the south of the River Dee. Its beaches lie between the two rivers on the coast and to the south of it are the granite quarries. Hills serve as the foundation on where the city is built, its origins growing from Castle Hill, St. Catherine’s Hill, and Windmill Hill.
Aberdeen is a city rich in culture. The many museums, amenities, festivals, and activities all display the diversity of the city and its museums are regularly visited by Scotland’s National Arts Companies. The Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Aberdeen Maritime Museum in Shiprow are just some of the places where fine art can be found. Aberdeen also cultivates in performing arts, music, and film. It hosts a number of festivals, such as the Aberdeen International Youth Festival and the Aberdeen Jazz Festival.
Aberdeen owes its nickname of Granite City to its local rock, granite, which they widely export and which has been used in the city’s buildings. Aside from this, fishing and farming are also among the top industries, but the discovery of oil deposits in the North Sea turned Aberdeen into the “Oil Capital of Europe.” The city has the largest heliport in the world.
Being such a hub of cultural and economic activity, Aberdeen has much to offer to any tourist. The Scottish countryside is home to landmarks such as the Crathes Castle and Craigievar Castle, where visitors can admire the magnificent hand painted ceilings, and Dunnottar, one of Scotland’s famous castle ruins which stand atop a cliff.
Aside from the castles all over the city, Aberdeen presents a spread of recreational tourist activities as well. Lemon Tree offers a wide range of activities for kids and grown-ups alike, putting on puppet shows and theater performances. Tourists will surely enjoy visiting Duthie Park Winter Gardens, which is one of the city’s best-known public parks.
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