Aberdeen

Aberdeen location in Scotland
Population: 202,370

Aberdeen is Scotland's third largest city and the centre of the North Sea oil trade. Since much of Aberdeen was built using grey granite it is often referred to as the Granite City. Aber simply means "the mouth of" and deen refers to the Rivers Dee and Don which the city sits between.

In 1308 Robert the Bruce was aided in taking the castle back from the English by the townsfolk. They used the password Bon Accord which became the motto of the city. The city was granted royal burgh status in 1392. The University was founded in 1495 by Bishop William Elphinstone and Aberdeen became the educational centre for the North East.

Aberdeen always had a strong fishing industry and was known for producing paper from the end of the 17th century. Linen manufacture took off in the 18th century but declined in the 19th, however the fishing industry expanded and the city also established a shipbuilding industry.

With the discovery of North Sea oil Aberdeen became a rich boom town with an expanding information technology industry. The city today is wealthy and boasts a vibrant cultural scene and a wide variety of tourist attractions.

The Winter Gardens at Duthie Park feature a range of rare and exotic plants, admission is free and they are open to visitors all year round. The art gallery which first opened in 1885 is another free tourist attraction worthy of a visit, as is the Maritime Museum which highlights Aberdeen's long and prosperous relationship with the sea. The Tolbooth is now a museum and one of Scotland's best preserved 17th century jails, it can be found on Castle Street. Another attraction which is free to visit is the Provost Skene's House which is a beautiful building dating back to 1545.

Aberdeen also has a golden sandy beach but you rarely get the weather to enjoy it. There is a leisure centre nearby with a swimming pool and of course there are plenty of pubs, restaurants and a few clubs.