With a 2005 population of 202,000, Aberdeen is located on Scotland’s north eastern coast and is its third most populous city. Aberdeen emerged in the 18th century as an industrial center featuring such industries as papermaking and textiles. However, with the discovery of oil in the North Sea in the 1970s, these industries have been largely replaced with the oil industry, earning Aberdeen the nickname Oil Capital of Europe.
Aberdeen also has the nickname the Granite City, or the Gray City. The city’s buildings are made largely with locally quarried gray granite. Although the city can look dour and gray in the rain, the mica deposits in the granite sparkle in the sunshine, thus giving Aberdeen its other nickname the Silver city with the Golden Sands.
Aberdeen can be split into two cities — Old Aberdeen lies at the mouth of the River Don to the north of New Aberdeen. Old Aberdeen features cobbled streets and medieval landmarks such as the university’s medieval Kings College, which was founded in 1495. The college quadrangle is a famous site, and there are many other wonderful old sites and structures within walking distance along grand Union Street such as the immense Town Hall. Also along Union Street are the Music Hall and the Town and County Bank, as well as the second-largest granite building in the world, the Marischal College.
Aberdeen also features three impressive Cathedrals — St. Andrews (Episcopal), St. Mary’s (Roman Catholic), and St. Machar’s (Presbyterian). The city also features a number of fine museums, such as the Aberdeen Maritime Museum located in the wonderful Shiprow, which tells the story of Aberdeen’s history with the sea. The city is also known as a center for the performing arts.
With all the granite and architecture, Aberdeen is also famous for its gardens and extensive flower displays. It has won the Britain in Bloom competition 10 times, which stands as the record.