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Coordinates: 57°09′09″N 2°06′36″W / 57.1526°N 2.1100°W / 57.1526; -2.1100

Scottish Gaelic: Obar Dheathain
Scots: Aiberdeen
Granite City, Oil Capital of Europe, Silver City, Grey City
Marischal College from Broadhill
Aberdeen is located in Scotland

 Aberdeen shown within Scotland
Population Urban area -

184,788[1] (2001 census)
est. 192,080[2] (2006)
inc. Cove Bay & Dyce
Local Authority -

est. 210,400[3] (2008)
Language English
Scots (Doric)
OS grid reference NJ925065
    - Edinburgh 94 mi (151 km[4] 
    - London 403 mi (649 km[4] 
Council area City of Aberdeen
Lieutenancy area Aberdeen
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ABERDEEN
Postcode district AB10-AB13 (part), AB15, AB16, AB22-AB25
Dialling code 01224
Police Grampian
Fire Grampian
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Aberdeen South
Aberdeen North
Scottish Parliament North East Scotland
Aberdeen Central
Aberdeen North
Aberdeen South
List of places: UK • Scotland • • Aberdeen

Aberdeen (pronounced /æbərˈdiːn/ ( listen); Scots: Aiberdeen, Scottish Gaelic: Obar Dheathain) is Scotland's third most populous city and one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. It has an official population estimate of 210,400.[3]

Nicknames include the Granite City, the Grey City and the Silver City with the Golden Sands. During the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries, Aberdeen's buildings incorporated locally quarried grey granite, whose mica deposits sparkle like silver.[5] The city has a long, sandy coastline. Since the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s, other nicknames have been the Oil Capital of Europe or the Energy Capital of Europe.[6]

The area around Aberdeen has been settled for at least 8000 years,[7] when prehistoric villages lay around the mouths of the rivers Dee and Don.

In 1319, Aberdeen received Royal Burgh status from Robert the Bruce,[citation needed] transforming the city economically. The city's two universities, the University of Aberdeen, founded in 1495, and the Robert Gordon University, which was awarded university status in 1992, make Aberdeen the educational centre of the north-east. The traditional industries of fishing, paper-making, shipbuilding, and textiles have been overtaken by the oil industry and Aberdeen's seaport. Aberdeen Heliport is one of the busiest commercial heliports in the world[8] and the seaport is the largest in the north-east of Scotland.[9]

Aberdeen has won the Britain in Bloom competition a record breaking ten times,[10] and hosts the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, a major international event which attracts up to 1000 of the most talented young performing arts companies.



Aberdeen Mercat Cross
The Castlegate and Union Street (c.1900)

The Aberdeen area has seen human settlement for at least 8,000 years.[7] The city began as two separate burghs: Old Aberdeen at the mouth of the river Don; and New Aberdeen, a fishing and trading settlement, where the Denburn waterway entered the river Dee estuary. The earliest charter was granted by William the Lion in 1179 and confirmed the corporate rights granted by David I. In 1319, the Great Charter of Robert the Bruce transformed Aberdeen into a property-owning and financially independent community. Granted with it was the nearby Forest of Stocket, whose income formed the basis for the city's Common Good Fund which still benefits Aberdonians.[11][12]

During the Wars of Scottish Independence, Aberdeen was under English rule, so Robert the Bruce laid siege to Aberdeen Castle before destroying it in 1308 followed by the massacring of the English garrison and the retaking of Aberdeen for the townspeople. The city was burned by Edward III of England in 1336, but was rebuilt and extended, and called New Aberdeen. The city was strongly fortified to prevent attacks by neighbouring lords, but the gates were removed by 1770. During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms of 1644-1647 the city was impartially plundered by both sides. In 1644, it was taken and ransacked by Royalist troops after the Battle of Aberdeen.[13] In 1647 an outbreak of bubonic plague killed a quarter of the population.

In the eighteenth century, a new Town Hall was built and the first social services appeared with the Infirmary at Woolmanhill in 1742 and the Lunatic Asylum in 1779. The council began major road improvements at the end of the century with the main thoroughfares of George Street, King Street and Union Street all completed at the start of the next century.

A century later, the increasing economic importance of Aberdeen and the development of the shipbuilding and fishing industries led to the existing harbour with Victoria Dock, the South Breakwater, and the extension to the North Pier. The expensive infrastructure program had repercussions, and in 1817 the city was bankrupt. However, a recovery was made in the general prosperity which followed the Napoleonic wars. Gas street lighting arrived in 1824 and an enhanced water supply appeared in 1830 when water was pumped from the Dee to a reservoir in Union Place. An underground sewer system replaced open sewers in 1865.[12]

The city was first incorporated in 1891. Although Old Aberdeen still has a separate charter and history, it and New Aberdeen are no longer truly distinct. They are both part of the city, along with Woodside and the Royal Burgh of Torry to the south of the River Dee.


Old Aberdeen is the approximate location of Aberdon the first settlement of Aberdeen; this literally means "at the confluence of the Don [ie. with the sea]" in relation to the local river. The modern name Aberdeen literally means between the Dee (the other local river) and Don. The Celtic prefix; "Aber-" means "the confluence of" in relation to the rivers.[14]

Gaelic scholars believe the name came from the prefix Aber- and da-aevi (variation;Da-abhuin, Da-awin) - which means "the mouth of two rivers". In Gaelic the name is Obar Dheathain (variation; Obairreadhain) and in Latin, the Romans referred to it as Devana. Mediaeval (or ecclesiastical) Latin has it as Aberdonia.


Aberdeen City Council's logo with "Simplified" Coat of Arms.

Aberdeen is locally governed by Aberdeen City Council, which comprises forty-three councillors who represent the city's wards and is headed by the Lord Provost who is currently Provost Peter Stephen.

From May 2003 until May 2007 the council was run with a Liberal Democrat and Conservatives coalition. Following the May 2007 elections the Liberal Democrats formed a new coalition with the Scottish National Party.[15] The council consists of: 15 Liberal Democrat, 13 SNP, 10 Labour, 4 Conservative councillors and a single independent councillor.[16]

Aberdeen is represented in the Parliament of the United Kingdom by three constituencies: Aberdeen North, Aberdeen South and Gordon, of which the first two are wholly within the Aberdeen City council area while the latter also encompasses a large swathe of Aberdeenshire.

In the Scottish Parliament the city is represented again by three constituencies, all of which are solely within the council area: Aberdeen North, Aberdeen Central and Aberdeen South and by a further seven MSPs elected as part of the North East Scotland electoral region.

In the European Union, the city is represented by seven MEPs, as part of the all inclusive Scotland constituency in the European Parliament.


Aberdeen City from Docks

Symbols of the city typically show three castles, such as in the case of the flag and coat of arms. The image has been around since the time of Robert the Bruce and represents the buildings that stood on the three hills of Aberdeen; Aberdeen Castle on Castle Hill (today's castlegate); an unknown building on Windmill Hill and a church on St. Catherine's Hill (now levelled).[17]

Bon Accord, is the motto of the city and is French literally for "Good Agreement". Legend tells that its use dates from the fourteenth century password used by Robert the Bruce during the Wars of Scottish Independence, when he and his men laid siege to Aberdeen Castle before destroying it in 1308.[11]

The leopard has traditionally been associated with the city and its emblem can be seen on the city crest. The local magazine is called the "Leopard" and when Union Bridge was constructed in the nineteenth century small statues of the creature in a sitting position were cast and placed on top of the railing posts.

The city's toast is "Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again", this has been commonly misinterpreted as the translation of Bon Accord.[18]


Being sited between two river mouths, the city has little natural exposure of bedrock. This leaves local geologists in a slight quandary : despite the high concentration of geoscientists in the area (courtesy of the oil industry), there is only a vague understanding of what underlays the city. To the south side of the city, coastal cliffs expose high-grade metamorphic rocks of the Grampian Group; to the south-west and west are extensive granites intruded into similar high-grade schists; to the north the metamorphics are intruded by gabbroic complexes instead. And under the city itself? The small amount of geophysics done, and occasional building-related exposures, combined with small exposures in the banks of the River Don, suggest that it's actually sited on an inlier of Devonian "Old Red" sandstones and silts. The outskirts of the city spread beyond the (inferred) limits of the outlier onto the surrounding metamorphic/ igneous complexes formed during the Dalradian period (approximately 480-600 million years ago) with sporadic areas of igneous Diorite granites to be found, such as that at the Rubislaw quarry which was used to build much of the Victorian parts of the city.[19]

On the coast, Aberdeen has a long sand beach between the two rivers, the Dee and the Don, which turns into high sand dunes north of the Don stretching as far as Fraserburgh ; to the south of the Dee are steep rocky cliff faces with only minor pebble and shingle beaches in deep inlets. A number of granite outcrops along the south coast have been quarried in the past, making for spectacular scenery and good rock-climbing.

The city extends to 184.46 km² (71.22 sq mi)[20], and includes the former burghs of Old Aberdeen, New Aberdeen, Woodside and the Royal Burgh of Torry to the south of River Dee. In 2008 this gave the city a population density of 1,131 /km2 (2,929 /sq mi)[3]. The city is built on many hills, with the original beginnings of the city growing from Castle Hill, St. Catherine's Hill and Windmill Hill.[21]


Aberdeen is far milder than one might expect for its northern location. During the winter, especially throughout December, the daylength is very short, averaging 6 hours and 40 minutes between sunrise and sunset at the Winter Solstice. Though, as winter progresses, the daylength returns fairly quickly, having 8 hours and 20 minutes by the end of January. As summer begins, the days will be around 18 hours long, having 17 hours and 57 minutes between sunrise and sunset, with Nautical Twilight lasting the entire night. Temperatures at this time of year will be hovering around 17 °C during the day.

Climate data for Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17
Average high °C (°F) 6
Average low °C (°F) 0
Record low °C (°F) -18
Precipitation cm (inches) 6.3
Source: Weatherbook[22] January 2009


Aberdeen demographics[23]

In 1396 the population was about 3,000. By 1801 it had become 26,992; (1901) 153,503; (1941) 182,467.[24] In 2001 the UK census records the Aberdeen City Council area's population at 212,125,[25] but the Aberdeen locality's population at 184,788.[26] The latest official population estimate, for 2008, is 210,400.[3] Data from the Aberdeen specific locality of the 2001 UK census shows that the demographics include a median male age of 35 and female age of 38 which are younger than Scotland's average and a 49% to 51% male to female ratio.[25]

The census showed that there are fewer young people in Aberdeen, with 16.4 % under 16, opposed to the national average of 19.2 %.[27] Ethnically, 15.7 % were born outside of Scotland, higher than the national average of 12.9 %. Of this population 8.4 % were born in England.[27] 3 % of Aberdonians stated to be from an ethnic minority (non-white) in the 2001 census, with 0.7% from the Indian-subcontinent and 0.6% Asian; in comparison Scotland's overall population of non-white origin is 2 %. However this is a lower percentage than any of Scotland's other three main cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee.[27] The most multicultural part of the city is George Street, which has many ethnic restaurants, supermarkets and hairdressers

In the household, there were 97,013 individual dwellings recorded in the city of which 61% were privately owned, 9% privately rented and 23% rented from the council. The most popular type of dwellings are apartments which compromise 49% of residences followed by semi-detached at just below 22%.[28] The median income of a household in the city is £16,813 (the mean income is £20,292)[29] (2005) which places approximately 18% households in the city below the poverty line (defined as 60% of the mean income). Conversely, an Aberdeen postcode has the second highest number of millionaires of any postcode in the UK.[30]


Traditionally Christian, Aberdeen's largest denominations are the Church of Scotland (through the Presbytery of Aberdeen) and the Catholic Church. The last census revealed that Aberdeen is the least religious city in Scotland, with nearly 43 % of people claiming to have no religion[27] and several former churches in the city have been converted into bars and restaurants.[31]

In the Middle Ages, the Kirk of St Nicholas was the only burgh kirk and one of Scotland's largest parish churches. Like a number of other Scottish kirks, it was subdivided after the Reformation, in this case into the East and West churches. At this time, the city also was home to houses of the Carmelites (Whitefriars) and Franciscans (Greyfriars), the latter of which surviving in modified form as the chapel of Marischal College as late as the early twentieth Century.

St Machar's Cathedral was formed twenty years after David I (1124–53) transferred the pre-Reformation Diocese from Mortlach in Banffshire to Old Aberdeen in 1137. With the exception of the episcopate of William Elphinstone (1484–1511), building progressed slowly. Gavin Dunbar, who followed him in 1518, completed the structure by adding the two western spires and the southern transept.

St. Mary's Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Gothic style, erected in 1859.

St. Andrew's Cathedral is the Scottish Episcopal Cathedral, constructed in 1817 as Archibald Simpson's first commission. It is notable for having consecrated the first bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

The Salvation Army citadel dominates the east end of Union Street.

There is a Unitarian Church, established in 1833 in Skene Terrace, near Union Street.

There are two meetinghouses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

There is also an Islamic Mosque in Old Aberdeen and an Orthodox Jewish Synagogue established in 1945. There are no formal Buddhist or Hindu buildings. The University of Aberdeen has a small Bahá'í society.

There is also a Quaker meetinghouse on Crown street, the only purpose built Quaker House in Scotland that is still in use today.


Donside Paper Mill under demolition, 15 February 2006
Oil and Gas Drilling rig
The Aberdeen Coast
Belmont Street Farmers Market

Traditionally, Aberdeen was home to fishing, textile mills, shipbuilding and paper making. These industries have been largely replaced. High technology developments in the electronics design and development industry, research in agriculture and fishing and the oil industry, which has been largely responsible for Aberdeen's economic boom in the last three decades, are now major parts of Aberdeen's economy.

Until the 1970s, most of Aberdeen's leading industries dated from the eighteenth Century; mainly these were textiles, foundry work, shipbuilding and paper-making, the oldest industry in the city, with paper having been first made there in 1694. Paper-making has reduced in importance since the closures of Donside Paper Mill in 2001 and the Davidson Mill in 2005 leaving the Stoneywood Paper Mill with a workforce of approximately 500. Textile production ended in 2004 when Richards of Aberdeen closed.

Grey granite was quarried at Rubislaw quarry for more than 300 years, and used for paving setts, kerb and building stones, and monumental and other ornamental pieces. Aberdeen granite was used to build the terraces of the Houses of Parliament and Waterloo Bridge in London. Quarrying finally ceased in 1971.

Fishing was once the predominant industry, but was surpassed by deep-sea fisheries, which derived a great impetus from improved technologies throughout the twentieth Century. Catches have fallen due to overfishing and the use of the harbour by oil support vessels,[32] and so although still an important fishing port it is now eclipsed by the more northerly ports of Peterhead and Fraserburgh. The Fisheries Research Services is based in Aberdeen, including its headquarters, and a marine research lab in Torry.

Aberdeen is well regarded for the agricultural and soil research that takes place at The Macaulay Institute, which has close links to the city's two universities. The Rowett Research Institute is a world renowned research centre for studies into food and nutrition located in Aberdeen. It has produced three Nobel laureates and there is a high concentration of life scientists working in the city.[33][34]

There is also a dynamic and fast growing electronics design and development industry.[citation needed]

With the discovery of significant oil deposits in the North Sea during the late twentieth Century, Aberdeen became the centre of Europe's petroleum industry. With the second largest heliport in the world and an important service ship harbour port serving oil rigs off-shore, Aberdeen is often called the Oil Capital of Europe.[35]

There is now a concerted effort to transform Aberdeen's reputation as the Oil Capital of Europe into the Energy Capital of Europe as oil supplies may start to dwindle in coming years, and there is considerable interest in the development of new energy sources; and technology transfer from oil into renewable energy and other industries is underway. The "Energetica" initiative led by Scottish Enterprise has been designed to accelerate this process.[36]

The city ranks third in Scotland for shopping. The traditional shopping streets are Union Street and George Street which are now complemented by shopping centres, notably the St Nicholas & Bon Accord and the The Mall Aberdeen. A new retail £190 million development, Union Square, reached completion in late September/early October 2009. Major retail parks away from the city centre include the Berryden Retail Park, the Kittybrewster Retail Park and the Beach Boulevard Retail Park.

In March 2004, Aberdeen was awarded Fairtrade City status by the Fairtrade Foundation.[37] Along with Dundee, it shares the distinction of being the first city in Scotland to receive this accolade.[citation needed]


Aberdeen's architecture is known for its principal use during the Victorian era of granite, which has led to its local nickname of the Granite City or more romantically the less commonly used name the Silver City, since the Mica in the stone sparkles in the sun. The hard grey stone is one of the most durable materials available and helps to explain why the city's buildings look brand-new when they have been newly cleaned and the cement has been pointed. Unlike other Scottish cities where sandstone has been used the buildings are not weathering and need very little structural maintenance on their masonry.

Granite terrace in central Aberdeen

Amongst the notable buildings in the city's main street, Union Street, are the Town and County Bank, the Music Hall, the Trinity Hall of the incorporated trades (originating between 1398 and 1527), now a shopping mall; the former office of the Northern Assurance Company, and the National Bank of Scotland. In Castle Street, a continuation eastwards of Union Street, is the Town House, built in 1873 by Peddie and Kinnear.[38]

Marischal College on Broad Street, opened by King Edward VII in 1906, is the second largest granite building in the world (after the Escorial, Madrid).[39]


Aberdeen Railway Station

Aberdeen Airport (ABZ), at Dyce in the north of the city, serves a number of domestic and international destinations including France, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and Scandinavian countries. The heliport which serves the oil industry and rescue services is one of the busiest commercial heliports in the world.[8]

Aberdeen railway station is on the main UK rail network and connects directly to major cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, including the overnight Caledonian Sleeper train. The station is currently being updated to bring it into the modern age. In 2007 additions were made and a new ticket office was built in the building.

Until 2007, a 1950s style concrete bus station at Guild Street served out of the city locations; it has since transferred to a new and well presented bus station just 100 metres to the East off Market Street as part of the Union Square development.

There are six major roads in and out of the city. The A90 is the main arterial route into the city from the north and south, linking Aberdeen to Edinburgh, Dundee, Brechin and Perth in the south and Ellon, Peterhead and Fraserburgh in the north. The A96 links to Elgin and Inverness and the north west. The A93 is the main route to the west, heading towards Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms. After Braemar, it turns south, providing an alternative tourist route to Perth. The A944 also heads west, through Westhill and onto Alford. The A92 was the original southerly road to Aberdeen prior to the building of the A90, and is now used as a tourist route, connecting the towns of Montrose and Arbroath and on the east coast. The A947 exits the city at Dyce and goes on to Newmachar, Oldmeldrum and Turriff finally ending at Banff and Macduff.

Aberdeen Harbour is important as the largest in the north of Scotland and as a ferry route to Orkney and Shetland. Established in 1136, it has been referred to as the oldest business in Britain.[40]

FirstGroup operate the city buses in the city under the name First Aberdeen, as the successor of Grampian Regional Transport (GRT) and Aberdeen Corporation Tramways. Aberdeen is the global headquarters of FirstGroup plc, having grown from the GRT Group. First is still based at the former Aberdeen Tramways depot on King Street,[41] soon to be redeveloped into a new Global Headquarters and Aberdeen bus depot.

Stagecoach Group also run buses in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, under the Stagecoach Bluebird name. Also, other bus companies (e.g. Megabus) run buses from the bus station to places North and South of the city.

Aberdeen is connected to the UK National Cycle Network, and has a track to the south connecting to cities such as Dundee and Edinburgh and one to the north that forks about 10 miles from the city into two different tracks heading to Inverness and Fraserburgh respectively. Two particularly popular footpaths along old railway tracks are the Deeside Way to Banchory (which will eventually connect to Ballater) and the Formartine and Buchan Way to Ellon, both are used by a mixture of cyclists, walkers and occasionally horses. It has four Park and Ride sites which service the city, Stonehaven and Ellon (approx 12-17miles out from city centre) and Kingswells and Bridge of Don (approx 3-4miles out from city centre).


University of Aberdeen, Elphinstone Hall
King's College, Old Aberdeen

Universities and colleges

Aberdeen has two universities, the University of Aberdeen and The Robert Gordon University. Aberdeen's student rate of 11.5% is higher than the national average of 7%.[42]

The University of Aberdeen began life as King's College, Aberdeen, which was founded in 1495 by William Elphinstone (1431–1514), Bishop of Aberdeen and Chancellor of Scotland. Marischal College, a separate institution, was founded in "New" Aberdeen by George Keith, fifth Earl Marischal of Scotland in 1593. These institutions were amalgamated to form the present University of Aberdeen in 1860. The university is the fifth oldest in the English speaking world.[43]

Robert Gordon's College (originally Robert Gordon's Hospital) was founded in 1729 by the merchant Robert Gordon, grandson of the map maker Robert Gordon of Straloch, and was further endowed in 1816 by Alexander Simpson of Collyhill. Originally devoted to the instruction and maintenance of the sons of poor burgesses of guild and trade in the city, it was reorganised in 1881 as a day and night school for secondary and technical education. In 1903, the vocational education component of the college was designated a Central Institution and was renamed as the Robert Gordon Institute of Technology in 1965. In 1992, university status was gained and it became the Robert Gordon University.

Aberdeen is also home to two artistic schools: Gray's School of Art, founded in 1886, which is one of the oldest established colleges of art in the UK, and is now incorporated into Robert Gordon University; and The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and The Built Environment, which is situated on the Garthdee Campus of the Robert Gordon University, next to Gray's School of Art.

Aberdeen College has several campuses in the city and offers a wide variety of part-time and full-time courses leading to several different qualifications. It is the largest further education institution in Scotland.[44]

The Scottish Agricultural College is based just outside Aberdeen, on the Craibstone Estate, which is situated on the A90 roundabout for the Dyce Airport. They provide three services - Learning, Research and Consultancy. The college provides many land based courses such as Agriculture, Countryside Management, Sustainable Environmental Management and Rural Business Management which are proving to be the most popular. There are a variety of courses from diplomas through to masters degrees.


There are currently 12 secondary schools and 54 primary schools which are run by the city council. The most notable are Aberdeen Grammar School (founded in 1257), Harlaw Academy, Cults Academy, and Oldmachar Academy which were all rated in the top 50 Scottish secondary schools league tables published by The Times in 2005.[45]

There are a number of private schools in Aberdeen; Robert Gordon's College, Albyn School for Girls (co-educational as of 2005), St Margaret's School for Girls, the Hamilton School (a Montessori school), the Total French School (for French oil industry families), the International School of Aberdeen and a Waldorf/Steiner School.

Primary schools in Aberdeen include Airyhall Primary School, Albyn School, Ashley Road Primary School, Cornhill Primary School (the city's largest), Culter Primary School, Danestone Primary School, Ferryhill Primary School, Gilcomstoun Primary School, Glashieburn Primary School, Greenbrae Primary School, Hamilton School, Mile-End School, Robert Gordon's College, Skene Square Primary School, St. Joseph’s Primary School and St Margaret's School for Girls.


His Majesty's Theatre
Looking down Shiprow with Provost Ross's house on the right
Aberdeen buildings grey.JPG

The city has a wide range of cultural activities, amenities and museums. The city is regularly visited by Scotland's National Arts Companies. The Aberdeen Art Gallery houses a collection of Impressionist, Victorian, Scottish and twentieth Century British paintings as well as collections of silver and glass. It also includes The Alexander Macdonald Bequest, a collection of late nineteenth century works donated by the museum's first benefactor and a constantly changing collection of contemporary work and regular visiting exhibitions.[46]

Museums and galleries

The Aberdeen Maritime Museum, located in Shiprow, tells the story of Aberdeen's links with the sea from the days of sail and clipper ships to the latest oil and gas exploration technology. It includes an 8.5 m (28 feet) high model of the Murchison oil production platform and a nineteenth century assembly taken from Rattray Headlighthouse.[47]

Provost Ross' House is the second oldest dwelling house in the city. It was built in 1593 and became the residence of Provost John Ross of Arnage in 1702. The house retains some original medieval features, including a kitchen, fire places and beam-and-board ceilings.[48] The Gordon Highlanders Museum tells the story of one of Scotland's best known regiments.[49]

Marischal Museum holds the principal collections of the University of Aberdeen, comprising some 80,000 items in the areas of fine art, Scottish history and archaeology, and European, Mediterranean & Near Eastern archaeology. The permanent displays and reference collections are augmented by regular temporary exhibitions.[50]

Performing arts

Aberdeen is home to a host of events and festivals including the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (the world's largest arts festival for young performers), Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Rootin' Aboot (folk and roots music event based at the Lemon Tree), Triptych, and the University of Aberdeen's literature festival Word.

In 2006 Simon Farquhar's play Rainbow Kiss was staged at London's Royal Court Theatre. Directed by Richard Wilson and starring Joe McFadden and Dawn Steele, the play was an uncompromising depiction of Aberdeen life which, despite its strong sexual and violent content, won rave reviews from the liberal press and was applauded by MP for Aberdeen South Anne Begg.

Music and film

Aberdeen's music scene includes a variety of live music venues including pubs, clubs, and church choirs. The bars of Belmont Street are particularly known for featuring live music. Cèilidhs are also common in the city's halls. The many popular venues include The Moorings, The Lemon Tree, Drummonds, Moshulu (now owned by Barfly), Snafu, The Tunnels, the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, and Aberdeen Music Hall.

Notable Aberdonian musicians include Evelyn Glennie, Ronnie McLeod (trumpeter and bandleader), cult band Pallas, and Annie Lennox. Contemporary composers John McLeod and Martin Dalby also hail from Aberdeen.

The first and only Doric speaking feature film by Stirton Productions and Canny Films was released in 2008. 'One Day Removals' starring Patrick Wight and Scott Ironside tells the tale of two unlucky removal men who's day goes from bad to worse! Filmed on location in Aberdeenshire for a budget of £60,000, it is a black comedy/adult drama.

Cultural cinema, educational work and local film events are provided by The Belmont Picturehouse on Belmont Street, Peacock Visual Arts and The Foyer.

Open spaces

Union Terrace Gardens
Duthie Park Winter Gardens
Aberdeen Beach

Aberdeen has long been famous for its 45[10] outstanding parks and gardens, and citywide floral displays which include two million roses, eleven million daffodils and three million crocuses. The city has won the Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom 'Best City' award ten times,[10] the overall Scotland in Bloom competition twenty times[10] and the large city category every year since 1968.[10] At one point after winning a period of nine years straight, Aberdeen was banned from the Britain in Bloom competition to give another city a chance.[51] The city won the 2006 Scotland in Bloom "Best City" award along with the International Cities in Bloom award. The suburb of Dyce also won the Small Towns award.[52][53]

Duthie Park opened in 1899 on the north bank of the River Dee. It was named after and gifted to the city by Miss Elizabeth Crombie Duthie of Ruthrieston in 1881. It has extensive gardens, a rose hill, boating pond, bandstand, and play area as well as Europe's second largest enclosed gardens the David Welch Winter Gardens. Hazlehead Park, is large and forested, located on the outskirts of the city, it is popular with walkers in the forests, sports enthusiasts, naturalists and picnickers. There are football pitches, two golf courses, a pitch and putt course and a horse riding school.

Aberdeen's success in the Britain in Bloom competitions is often attributed to Johnston Gardens, a small park of one hectare in the west end of the city containing many different flowers and plants which have been renowned for their beauty. The garden was in 2002, named the best garden in the British Islands.[10]

Seaton Park, formerly the grounds of a private house, is on the edge of the grounds of St Machar's Cathedral. The Cathedral Walk is maintained in a formal style with a great variety of plants providing a popular display. The park includes several other areas with contrasting styles to this.

Union Terrace Gardens opened in 1879 and is situated in the centre of the city. In recent years however it has become underused and there are several plans to improve it, including the building of an arts centre in the gardens. More recently however a prolific Aberdeen businessman, Sir Ian Wood has agreed to partly fund plans to create a massive civic square by raising the gardens and covering the nearby road and rail links.[citation needed]

Situated next to each other, Victoria Park and Westburn Park cover 26 acres (110,000 m2) between them. Victoria Park opened in 1871. There is a conservatory used as a seating area and a fountain made of fourteen different granites, presented to the people by the granite polishers and master builders of Aberdeen. Opposite to the north is Westburn Park opened in 1901. With large grass pitches it is widely used for field sports. There is large tennis centre with indoor and outdoor courts, a children's cycle track, play area and a grass boules lawn.


Listen to recordings of a speaker of Scots from Aberdeen

The local dialect of Lowland Scots is often known as the Doric, and is spoken not just in the city, but across the north-east of Scotland. It differs somewhat from other Scots dialects most noticeable are the pronunciation f for what is normally written wh and ee for what in standard English would usually be written oo (Scots ui). Every year the annual Doric Festival[54] takes place in Aberdeenshire to celebrate the history of the north-east's language. As with all Scots dialects in urban areas, it is not spoken as widely as it used to be in Aberdeen.


Aberdeen is home to Scotland's oldest newspaper the Press and Journal, first published in 1747. The Press and Journal and its sister paper the Evening Express are printed six days a week by Aberdeen Journals. There are two free newspapers: Aberdeen Record PM and Aberdeen Citizen[citation needed].

BBC Scotland has a small studio in Aberdeen's Beechgrove area, and BBC Aberdeen produces The Beechgrove Potting Shed for radio and Tern Television produce the Beechgrove Garden television programme.[55] The city is also home to STV North (formerly Grampian Television), which produces the nightly regional news programme, STV News at Six, as well as local commercials. The station, based at Craigshaw Business Park in Tullos, was based at larger studios in Queens Cross from September 1961 until June 2003.

There are three commercial radio stations operating within the city, Northsound Radio, which runs Northsound One and Northsound Two, and independent station Original 106. Other radio stations include NECR FM (North-East Community Radio FM) DAB station,[56] and shmu FM[57] managed by Station House Media Unit[58] which supports community members to run Aberdeen's first (and only) full-time community radio station, broadcasting on 99.8 MHz FM.


Pittodrie's Dick Donald Stand


The Scottish Premier League football club, Aberdeen F.C. play at Pittodrie. The club won the European Cup Winners Cup and the European Super Cup in 1983 and the Scottish Premier League Championship four times (1955, 1980, 1984 and 1985), the Scottish Cup seven times (1947, 1970, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1990). Under Sir Alex Ferguson, they were a major force in British football during the 1980s.

The other senior team is Cove Rangers F.C. of the Highland Football League (HFL), who play at Allan Park in the suburb of Cove Bay, although they will be moving to Calder Park once it is built to boost their chances of getting into the Scottish Football League.[59] Cove won the HFL championship in 2001 and 2008.

There was also a historic senior team Bon Accord F.C. who no longer play. Local junior teams include Banks O' Dee F.C., Culter F.C., F.C. Stoneywood, Glentanar F.C. and Hermes F.C..

Rugby Union

Aberdeen hosted Caledonia Reds a Scottish rugby franchise, before they merged with the Glasgow Warriors in 1998. The city is also home to the BT Premiership Division Two rugby club Aberdeen GSFP RFC who play at Rubislaw Playing Fields, and Aberdeenshire RFC which was founded in 1875 and runs Junior, Senior Mens, Senior Ladies and Touch sections from the Woodside Sports Complex[60] and also Aberdeen Wanderers RFC. Former Wanderers' player Jason White was captain of the Scotland national rugby union team.

In 2005 the President of the SRFU said it was hoped eventually to establish a professional team in Aberdeen.[61] In November 2008 the city hosted a rugby international at Pittodrie between Scotland and Canada, with Scotland winning 41-0.[62]


The Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, founded in 1780 and the oldest golf club in Aberdeen, hosted the Senior British Open in 2005.[63] The club has a second course, and there are public golf courses at Auchmill, Balnagask, Hazlehead and King's Links.[64] The 1999 winner of the The Open Championship, Paul Lawrie, hails from the city.

There are new courses planned for the area, including world class facilities with major financial backing, the city and shire are set to become a hotbed for golf tourism.

Donald Trump is building his new state of the art golf course out beside Balmedie.[citation needed]


The City of Aberdeen Swim Team (COAST) is based in Northfield swimming pool and has been in operation since 1996. The team comprises several smaller swimming clubs, and has enjoyed success throughout Scotland and in international competitions. Three of the team's swimmers qualified for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.[65]


Rowing exists on the River Dee, south of the town centre. Four clubs are located on the banks: Aberdeen Boat Club (ABC), Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association (ASRA), Aberdeen University Boat Club (AUBC) and Robert Gordon University Boat Club (RGUBC).


Aberdeen boasts a large cricket community with 4 local leagues operating that comprise of a total of 25 clubs fielding 36 teams. The city has two national league sides, Aberdeenshire, and Stoneywood-Dyce. Local 'Grades'[66] cricket has been played in Aberdeen since 1884. Aberdeenshire recently became the 2009 Scottish National Premier League and Scottish Cup Champions [67]


Aberdeen Oilers Floorball Club was founded in 2007. The club initially attracted a range of experienced Scandinavian and other European players who were studying in Aberdeen. Since their formation, Aberdeen Oilers have played in the British Floorball Northern League and went on to win the league in the 2008/09 season. The club played a major role in setting up a ladies league in Scotland. The Oiler's ladies team ended up 2nd in the first ladies league season (2008/09).[68]

Other sports

The city council operates public tennis courts in various parks including an indoor tennis centre at Westburn Park. The Beach Leisure Centre is home to a climbing wall, gymnasium and a swimming pool. There are numerous swimming pools dotted around the city notably the largest, the Bon-Accord Baths which closed down in 2006. Aberdeen has numerous skateparks dotted around the city in Torry, Westburn Park and Transition Extreme. Transition Extreme is an indoor skatepark built in 2007 it was designed by Aberdeen skate legend Andy Dobson. Aberdeen City council also have a Outdoor Education service which is now known as adventure aberdeen. adventure aberdeen provide abseiling, surfing, white water rafting, gorge walking, kayaking and open canoeing, mountaineering, sailing, mountain biking and rock climbing. They inspire learning through adventure and have many programs for children and adults. For more information on their activities see their website.[3][citation needed]

Public services

Aberdeen's health is provided for most people by NHS Scotland through the NHS Grampian health board. Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is the main hospital in the city, with the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital for children, the Royal Cornhill Hospital for mental health and the Woodend Hospital and Woolmanhill Hospitals.

Privately there is the Albyn Hospital on Albyn Place which is owned and operated by BMI Healthcare.

Aberdeen City Council is responsible for city owned infrastructure which is paid for by a mixture of council tax and income from HM Treasury. Infrastructure and services run by the council include: clearing snow in winter, maintaining parks, refuse collection, sewage, street cleaning and street lighting. Infrastructure in private hands includes electricity, gas and telecoms. Water supplies are provided by Scottish Water.

  • Police: Policing in Aberdeen is the responsibility of Grampian Police (the British Transport Police has responsibility for railways). The Grampian Police headquarters (and Aberdeen divisional headquarters) is located in Queen Street, Aberdeen.

Twin Cities

Aberdeen is twinned with:

Notable people

Fictional references

  • Stuart MacBride's crime novels, Cold Granite, Dying Light, Broken Skin, Flesh House, Blind Eye and Dark Blood (a series with main protagonist, DS Logan MacRae) are all set in Aberdeen. DS Logan MacRae is a Grampian Police officer and locations found in the books can be found in Aberdeen and the surrounding countryside.
  • A large part of the plot of the World War II spy thriller Eye of the Needle takes place in wartime Aberdeen, from which a German spy is trying to escape to a submarine waiting offshore.
  • Stewart Home's sex and literary obsessed contemporary novel 69 Things to Do with a Dead Princess is set in Aberdeen
  • A portion of Ian Rankin's novel Black and Blue (1997) is set in Aberdeen.
  • Sarah Jane Smith from the popular sci-fi show Doctor Who was accidentally returned to Aberdeen instead of her home in South Croydon by the fourth incarnation of the Doctor.
  • The successful Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show (TV series) makes occasional reference to Aberdeen, as the employer of one of the main characters has an office in Aberdeen. In one episode Mark Corrigan is desperate to be put on secondment to Aberdeen so as to spend some time with his love interest, Sophie, whilst in another episode, Mark's boss, Alan Johnston, announces that he is "just back from Aberdeen."
  • The fictional character Groundskeeper Willie, a recurring character on the American TV show "The Simpsons" is heard cheering "Go Aberdeen" upon waking up from a dream in the episode titled 'Scuse Me when I Miss the Sky'

See also


  1. ^ "Browser Population". Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  2. ^ "General Register Office for Scotland - Statistics - Publications and Data". 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Population estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - Mid-year 2008". Office for National Statistics. 2009-08-27. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  4. ^ a b "How Far Is It?". Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  5. ^ "The Granite City". Aberdeen and Grampian Tourist Board. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  6. ^ "About Aberdeen". University of Aberdeen. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  7. ^ a b "Welcome to Aberdeen". Aberdeen Accommodation Index. Retrieved 2007-02-19. 
  8. ^ a b "BAA Aberdeen Airport". Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  9. ^ "Architecture of Aberdeen, Scotland". Archived from the original on 2007-06-09. Retrieved 2007-05-23. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Floral Capital of Scotland". British Publishing. 2007-02-20. 
  11. ^ a b Keith, Alexander (1987). A Thousand Years of Aberdeen. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press. 
  12. ^ a b Fraser, W. Hamish (2000). Aberdeen, 1800 to 2000: A New History. Edinburgh: Tuckwell Press. 
  13. ^ Brown, Chris (2002). The Battle of Aberdeen 1644. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Tempus Publishing. 
  14. ^ Richard Stephen Charnock. Local Etymology: A Derivative Dictionary of Geographical Names. Houlston and Wright. 
  15. ^ Lib Dems and SNP in Aberdeen deal, BBC News, May 14, 2007
  16. ^ "Aberdeen City Councillors". Aberdeen City Council. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  17. ^ Gazetter for Scotland. "Aberdeen City". Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  18. ^ "Aberdeen Official Guide". Aberdeen City Council. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  19. ^ Gazetter for Scotland. "Details of Aberdeen City". Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  20. ^ General Register for Scotland. "Land Area and Population Density" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-03-12. 
  21. ^ "Aberdeen City". The Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2007-02-20. 
  22. ^ "Historical Weather for Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  23. ^ "Data Documentation". Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  24. ^ "Aberdeen Population". Retrieved 2007-02-19. 
  25. ^ a b "Comparative Population Profile: Aberdeen City Council Area, Scotland". Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  26. ^ "Comparative Population Profile: Aberdeen Locality, Scotland". Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  27. ^ a b c d Aberdeen City Council. "2001 Census: Key Statistics - Aberdeen City". Retrieved 2007-02-28. 
  28. ^ "Comparative Household Profile: Aberdeen City Council Area, Scotland". Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  29. ^ Aberdeen City Council. "Low Income Households in Aberdeen". Retrieved 2007-03-12. 
  30. ^ Scottish homes market view 2008, The Times, 28 September 2008
  31. ^ Minister thrown out of trendy nightclub that used to be his church, The Scotsman, 24 May 2006
  32. ^ "Aberdeen Harbour: A History of Service". Aberdeen Harbour Board. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  33. ^ "History and Background". Rowett Research Institute. Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
  34. ^ "A Scientist's guide to Scotland". New Scientist. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  35. ^ "Aberdeen - Introduction to the city". Scottish Enterprise. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  36. ^ "A burst of energy in Europe's oil capital". British Broadcasting Corporation. 2003-11-12. 
  37. ^ "Your browser does not support frames. To view our web site click here:". Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  38. ^ "Overview of Town House". Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  39. ^ "Overview of Marischal College". Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  40. ^ "It's a fact: 50 things you may not have known about Aberdeen". Aberdeen Official Guide. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  41. ^ " The History of 395 King Street 1862–2007". 1989-01-20. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  42. ^ "Comparative Education Profile: Aberdeen City Council Area, Scotland". Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  43. ^ Carter, Jennifer (1994). Crown and Gown: Illustrated History of the University of Aberdeen, 1495-1995. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press. 
  44. ^ Leading Scottish figures to be honoured by the University of Aberdeen, University of Aberdeen Media Release, 19 November 2004
  45. ^ "Times newspaper Scottish state schools league table" (PDF). London. 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  46. ^ "Aberdeen Art Gallery". Aberdeen Art Galleries and Museums. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  47. ^ "Aberdeen Maritime Museum". Aberdeen Art Galleries and Museums. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  48. ^ "Provost Ross' House". The Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  49. ^ "The Gordon Highlanders Museum". Army Museums Ogilby Trust. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  50. ^ "Marischal Museum: Introduction". University of Aberdeen. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  51. ^ Simpson, Maureen (2006-09-22). "We're top of Brit parade". Press and Journal. 
  52. ^ "2006 winners". Royal Horticultural Society. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  53. ^ "Aberdeen's blooming success goes worldwide". Press and Journal. 2006-12-28. 
  54. ^ "The Doric Festival". The Doric Festival. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  55. ^ "The Beechgrove Garden". Tern Television. 
  56. ^ "Digital Radio Now, Station List". Archived from the original on 2007-10-26. 
  57. ^ "Shmu community media productions". Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  58. ^ "Shmu community media productions". Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  59. ^ "Cove Rangers FC". Highland Football League. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
  60. ^ "Aberdeenshire Rugby Football Club - The Community Club". Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  61. ^ "BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | Scottish | Irvine wants an Aberdeen pro-team". BBC News. 2005-09-13. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  62. ^ [1]
  63. ^ "Golf event to swing into Aberdeen". British Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-05-08. 
  64. ^ "Aberdeen City Golf Homepage". Aberdeen City Council. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
  65. ^ "City of Aberdeen Swim Team". Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  66. ^ "Aberdeen Grades Association". 
  67. ^ "CricketScotland". 
  68. ^ "Aberdeen Oilers Floorball Club". 
  69. ^ [2]
  70. ^ "Bot generated title ->". Aberdeen Lifeboat<!. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  71. ^ a b c d e "Twinning". Aberdeen City Council. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 

Further reading

  • Brown, Chris (2002). The Battle of Aberdeen 1644. Tempus Publishing. 
  • Carter, Jennifer (1994). Crown and Gown: Illustrated History of the University of Aberdeen, 1495-1995. Aberdeen University Press. ISBN 1857522400. 
  • Fraser, W. Hamish (2000). Aberdeen, 1800 to 2000: A New History. Tuckwell Press. ISBN 1862321752. 
  • Keith,, Alexander (1987). A Thousand Years of Aberdeen. Aberdeen University Press. ISBN 0900015292. 

Peter Innes - Fit Like New York? An Irreverent History of Rock and Pop Music in Aberdeen and North East Scotland. Publisher The Evening Express, 1998

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Aberdeen (disambiguation).
King's College in Old Aberdeen
King's College in Old Aberdeen

Aberdeen (Scottish Gaelic: Obar Dheathain) is Scotland's third largest city, with a population of about 202,000. Aberdeen is the county town of Aberdeenshire, and the chief seaport in the north-east of Scotland.

Aberdeen is commonly referred to variously as "the Granite City", or the "Silver City" on account of the grey, occasionally sparkling building stone used in older buildings in the city; and the "Flower of Scotland", Aberdeen long having been famous for outstanding parks, gardens and floral displays. These days, Aberdeen also boasts the title of Oil Capital of Europe thanks to the supply of crude oil in the North Sea, and stands on a bay of the North Sea, between the mouths of the rivers Don and Dee.


Aberdeen is a relatively small city - much smaller than Glasgow or Edinburgh. It has a harbour and pleasant beach. It has a distinct identity from other Scottish cities, especially the two largest in the Central Belt. It has some of the oldest university buildings in Europe (King's College was founded in 1495), and its citizens were fond of boasting in centuries gone by that Aberdeen had as many universities (Marischal and King's) as all of England (Oxford and Cambridge). After the discovery of oil in the North Sea, the city expanded greatly and several new suburbs were formed. The city has seen continued growth ever since, and a range of new developments are planned over the next few years. The district of Bridge of Don has become, in just thirty years, one of the largest suburbs in Europe, and is one of many areas of the city which retain the feel of a village in parts. Perhaps the best examples of this are the line of suburbs stretching towards Royal Deeside, including Cults and Peterculter.


Although English is spoken, in many parts of Scotland accents and local dialects can seem confusing to visitors, even native English speakers.

The local Aberdeen dialect is Doric, very different what is heard in other parts of Scotland. At first hearing it (and the distinctive accent) may seem utterly impenetrable, even to other Scots. It has its origins in the farming communities nearby and is not as spoken as widely as it used to be. However, there is still a good chance you will encounter the dialect on your travels, so here are a few commonly used words with translations:

  • "Fit like?" - A greeting, essentially, "How are you doing?".
  • "Nae bad yersel?" - A reply, essentially, "Not bad, how about you?".
  • "Fit?" - "What?".
  • "Fa?" - "Who?".
  • "Far?" - "Where?".
  • "Fan?"- "When?".
  • "Aye" - "Yes".
  • "Na'" - "No" (usually, an n sound followed by a vowel constitutes "no".
  • "Wee" - "Little", though this famous Doric word has become common in other areas worldwide nowadays.
  • "Dinnae ken" - "Don't know".
  • "H'min" - "Excuse me good sir?"
  • "far aboot ye fae?" where are you from?
  • "ben a/eh hoose" - "Through the house/in the other room"
  • "gie" - "give"
  • "guy" - "very"
  • "Here, will ye trap ma mate?" - "Excuse me, will you kiss my friend?"

If you politely suggest you don't understand, almost all Doric speakers will be able to regulate their dialect and adopt more standard English to converse with you. It should be noted that only a small minority actually talk in broad Doric (which is almost unintelligible, even to most Scots), however the accent and dialect will influence the language of a good deal more local people to some degree or another. A good number will have no traces of it whatsoever in their speech, particularly in the middle and upper social classes.

In most of the north east, meals are named differently from other areas. First meal of the day- Breakfast. Second meal of the day- Dinner, sometimes pronounced "daenner" but however it is said, it is usually very easy to recognise.

Get in

By plane

Aberdeen-Dyce Airport is situated 7 miles from the city centre. The airport offers a wide range of domestic and short haul European international flights. Buses run from the airport to the city centre throughout the day. The nearest railway station is Dyce (which is now connected via an Airlink bus 06:45 - 19:00 Mon-Fri, £1.50 each way), and connects to stations in Aberdeen and Inverness. Taxis are available outside the terminal and will cost around £20 to Aberdeen City Centre.

Major hub destinations include London-Heathrow (10 daily), Paris-CDG (3 daily) and Amsterdam (3 daily). Domestic destinations include Birmingham, Norwich, London-Luton (2-3 daily), London-Gatwick (3 daily), Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Newcastle. Other routes heavily cater to the oil industry including Scatsta-Shetland (12 charter flights daily), Stavanger (10 daily), Oslo (6 weekly). Occasional longer distance holiday flights also operate by the likes of flyglobespan.

The list of destinations can be found on the airport's website [1]

By train

Aberdeen Station is located right in the middle of town, next to the Harbour and Bus Station, slightly down from Union Street, the main thoroughfare. Services come from the South via Perth and the North to Elgin, Inverness and similar places.

The three main operators serving Aberdeen are:

  • East Coast, [2]. Three direct trains a day serve the major east coast cities (Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and terminate in London (King's Cross).)
  • ScotRail, [3]. Serves all the major Scottish hubs, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness. The Caledonian Sleeper to London (Euston) leaves every night except Saturdays at around 20.30.
  • Virgin Trains, [4]. Serves a range of destinations on the Cross-Country route, including Carlisle, Manchester and Birmingham. Some services stretch all the way down to Penzance in South West England - the UK's longest train journey.

By boat

Ferries operated by NorthLink [5] arrive at Aberdeen harbour from Lerwick and Kirkwall.

By car

Aberdeen lies halfway along the long A90 arterial road that hugs the eastern, North Sea coast of Scotland between Dundee and Peterhead. With relative ease this permits access by car from points across Britain.

From Aberdeen, the A96 runs roughly north-west over the Gordon Highlands to Elgin and Inverness.

It is also possible to rent a car in Aberdeen from well known companies such as Avis and Hertz and other local companies such as Logan Car Hire [6]

On Foot

Pedestrian Maps

There are quite a few of these located around the city centre, mainly in points of interest. They are very useful for navigating the rather random layout of the city centre and also give details of where to go to catch a particular bus.

Aberdeen walking directions [7] can be planned online with the [8] walking route planner.

By train

Aberdeen does not have a particularly good rail service to the local outlying areas, but it does exist (there's talk of a Crossrail but that's years off). The station is on Guild Street next to the bus station (just south of Union Street). The local services run to:

Dyce - On the north west of the city along the Inverness line. This is an option for travelling to the airport, but you have to catch a taxi (these are generally easily available but a bit pricey). Believe it or not, but the cheap day return (£2.60) is slightly cheaper than catching the bus (£2.70 for a day pass). This is certainly a preferable way to travel in rush hour too as the journey time is 10 minutes as opposed to the hour+ it takes on the bus. There are plenty of trains, though the frequency is quite scattered. The station is located just off the main street.

Inverurie - The next stop up the line from Dyce. Trains are less frequent than to Dyce, but the service has benefitted recently from the addition of some extra journeys. The station is located a short walk from the town centre.

Portlethen - The first stop south on the Dundee/Glasgow/Edinburgh line. There are extremely few services stopping here outwith rush hour. The station is on the east of the town on the road to the old village. A walk from here to the main shopping area will take you around 10-15 minutes, there are buses that run every 20 minutes just outside the station if you need to use them.

Stonehaven - The next stop down from Portlethen. Trains are fairly frequent (at least once an hour). Buses to Stonehaven centre depart from the hotel across from the station, or you can walk. (takes 10-20 minutes depending on your speed)

By bus

Aberdeen has a fairly decent bus network, though it is expensive to use (there are no multi-operator tickets either). The city is served by 2 operators First [9] and Stagecoach [10]. On the whole, buses are modern and fairly comfortable with a few dinosaurs still doing the rounds. If you are connecting buses, it should be noted that you'll probably have to change in the city centre as that's where the majority of services run through/terminate.

First's services are entirely within the city boundary, although they do serve the suburbs of Dyce, Cults & Culter and Kingswells. The network "branded as The Overground" is based on a colour coded system with all the main lines having a colour while the "less important" lines are left grey on the map, which is in the style of that of the London Underground. This makes it fairly easy to find your way around. Services begin around 5AM and end close to midnight with night services run at weekends (currently run at a flat fare of £2.20 single).

Fares are based on a fare-stage system and cost from 70p for a short journey to £1.60 for a longer one. Day passes are available for £3 (£2.70 after 9AM). Show a valid student ID for a discount on the day pass (£2).

First also run the popular (and rightly so) Park & Ride [11] (National Park and Ride Directory) from Kingswells (just off A944) and Bridge of Don (off A90). The Bridge of Don service runs from the Exhibition and Conference Centre, which is easy to spot on the main northbound road. Parking is free, and the service costs £1.80 (per person) for a return journey to anywhere along the route. Up to two under 16s go free when accompanied. Day passes are available for purchase if you are planning to change buses.

Stagecoach run the services to outside the city boundary. Locations closer to Aberdeen generally have more frequent services (for example, a 15 minute frequency to the suburb of Westhill) than those further out. In addition to this, they run 1 service wholly within the city boundary (the 59). For single fares, Stagecoach are generally a cheaper option within the city than First, but they lack the frequency and network of First. Fares are based on destination, however there is a day pass called the Explorer which, for £11, allows you unlimited use of the entire Stagecoach network in the area (as far out as Montrose or Peterhead for example).

By taxi

Taxis are widely available from a number of ranks dotted around the city centre. The main ranks are located on Back Wynd, Market Street and the railway station. There are more located further up Union Street, they're easy enough to spot. Taxis can be difficult to come by at night due to a shortage of them (ranks are patrolled by marshals at night on special nights) and can actually be difficult to flag down on the street as many drivers do not give any indication if they're available for hire and will not pick up groups of males. To call for a taxi, phone ComCab at 01224-35 35 35. Fares are metered and regulated by the Aberdeen City Council and last revised in November 2008.

By bicycle

Due to the many narrow roads and inadequate lane provisions, this can be rather treacherous at times. Cycle lanes are appearing as are cycle "boxes" at traffic lights so the situation is getting better for those who cycle. It's getting easier to park a cycle too, the council are beginning to provide loops for chaining bikes to within the city centre streets and within the municipal multi-storey car parks.

It is possible to cycle from Aberdeen city centre to Peterculter along the Old Deeside Railway line. The line begins just outside Duthie Park and passes through Garthdee, Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber before ending at Station Road. It is mostly paved with very few breaks where it is necessary to cross the road. It is very scenic and relaxing, and is also used by people walking dogs, riding horses, other cyclists, and other people just enjoying a stroll so being courteous is a must. There are signs placed along the line with bits of history about the line and how it came to be.

  • Aberdeen Art Gallery [12] Schoolhill. Tel: 01224 523700, [13] Open Tuesday-Saturday 10.00AM-5.00PM, Sunday 2.00PM-5.00PM. The Aberdeen Art Gallery is set in a Victorian building with an exquisite marble and granite main hall. In the several large rooms there are housed paintings and sculptures numbering in the hundreds, featuring Impressionist pieces as well as modern art and works by the Scottish Colourists. There is also a display of antique silverware and decorative pieces. There are also numerous special exhibits by many acclaimed artists, a recent example being Quentin Blake. For those who like art, an afternoon could easily be spent here, but at least a quick browse is well worth it for anyone. Admission free.
  • The Gordon Highlanders Museum [14] St. Lukes Viewfield Road. Tel: 01224 311200, [15]. Open first Tuesday in April to last Sunday in October, Tuesday-Saturday 10.30AM-4.30PM, Su 1.30PM-4.30PM (last admission 4PM). November-March open by appointment only. Closed Mondays. At the Gordon Highlanders Museum you can re-live the compelling and dramatic story of one of the British Army's most famous regiments, through the lives of its outstanding personalities and of the kilted soldiers of the North East of Scotland who filled its ranks. Exhibits include a real Nazi flag from Hitler's staff car, and there is a small cinema where you can watch a film on the history of the regiment. For the younger visitors there are a number of uniforms to try on, and there is also a coffee shop. For those interested in military history this small gem is a must. Admission: Adults: £2.50, Children: £1.00, Seniors: £1.50, Closed season: £3.00.
  • The Maritime Museum [16] Shiprow. Tel: 01224 337700, [17]. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10.00AM-5.00PM, Sunday 12.00PM-3.00PM. This attraction, rated five-star by the Scottish Tourist Board, offers an extraordinary insight into the mechanics and technology of ships and oil rigs, Aberdeen's rich maritime history and the lives of some of the people who have worked offshore in the North Sea for the past 500 years. The newest part of the complex is a blue, glass-fronted building on the cobbled Shiprow, just minutes from Union Street. Inside is a spiral walkway, rising upwards around an eye-catching model of an oil rig. Connected to this structure are the much older buildings which take visitors through a series of castle-style corridors and staircases to reach the numerous room sets, historical artefacts and scale models. If your time in Aberdeen is limited, go and see this. There is so much to see, and even the buildings themselves are worth a look. There is also a restaurant - slightly expensive, but the food is pretty good. Admission free.
  • The Marischal Museum [18] Broad Street (entrance through arch). Tel: 01224 274301, [19] Open Monday-Friday 10.00AM-5.00PM, Sunday 2.00PM-5.00PM. The museum is currently closed until mid-2010 due to the extensive building work being performed to convert Marischal College into the Aberdeen City Council headquarters. Covering 8000 years of local and world history, this generally undiscovered museum houses the results of numerous expeditions by local people over the past two centuries. The collection, spread over several floors in the stunning Marischal College building, includes pieces from such diverse locations as the Balkans and Tibet. As well as the varied international exhibits, the museum also presents an insightful look at the history of the north-east of Scotland under the banner of The Encyclopaedia of the North-East. Very worthwhile, and considering the range of excellent displays the free admission seems all the better. Admission free.


The nearest Aberdeen has to a Bohemian Quarter is centred around Belmont Street, halfway down Union St. It has many nice bars, live music venues, a couple of second-hand book stores and an arthouse cinema, named The Belmont.

  • Satrosphere Science Centre (Aberdeen Science Centre), The Tramsheds, 179 Constitution Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5TU, 01224 640340, [20]. Satrosphere Science Centre is Scotland’s first science and discovery centre, and first opened to the public in 1988. The centre has over 50 hands-on interactive exhibits and live science shows, which inspire the scientist within as well as entertain the whole family.  edit


If you feel like a workout, a massage or a fun-filled swim, the Beach Leisure Centre [21] on the Beach Promenade is worth a visit. Access to the gymnasium is £4.40 (over 18's only). The swimming pool offers a wide range of attractions, including water slides, rapids and waves, and is suitable for the whole family. These are the admission prices:

  • Adult: £3.10
  • Child: £1.55
  • Student: £1.55
  • Family: £7.40
  • 5 flume rides: £1.90
  • 10 flume rides: £3.15

If speculating is more your thing, why not go and watch Aberdeen's home grown, Scottish Premier League football (soccer) team Aberdeen Football Club (or "The Dons") at work at their home ground of Pittodrie [22]?

Aberdeen's long beaches are also ideal for water sports such as surfing, windsurfing and Kitesurfing.


If you want to go and see a show or a concert, there are five main venues in Aberdeen, each a distinct and atmospheric setting for any kind of performance:

  • The Music Hall [23] on Union Street offers most of the classical music events, but is becoming a more popular venue for other forms of music.
  • His Majesty's Theatre [24] on Rosemount Viaduct plays host to the vast majority of musicals and plays which visit Aberdeen. Recent examples include the famous Miss Saigon. If you are in town over the Christmas period with children, a trip to a showing of the annual pantomime is a must!
  • The Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) [25] on the A90 (in Bridge of Don) is the venue for most of Aberdeen's pop and rock concerts. In frequent years wrestling has been a fixture as well. The venue has recently been dramatically expanded, and most functions are now held in the brand new building. If you are stuck for finding the AECC, look for the tall viewing tower, a fixture of the new structure. It is easily visible from most points close to the River Don.
  • The Lemon Tree [26] was once regarded as a rather "fringe" venue, and indeed it still is the launching platform for many alternative acts, but the sheer variety of talent on display (blues, rock, comedy and dance, to name but a few genres) rivals that of the three venues above. The interesting location creates a great atmosphere, and is one of the main venues for the annual International Jazz Festival (see below).
  • Moshulu ( This 650 Capacity Live Music Venue is now well established on the circuit, and has played host to some of the worlds most amazing bands such as As i lay dying, Ascension ( Local ) and Dragonforce! it seems to be the medium size venue of choice for touring acts. Recently purchased by the Barfly Chain (, it is also a jumping club night for alternative and indie kids. It serves great cocktails in the back room and the customers tend to practice their pole dancing skills to jaw dropping effect during the club nights.
  • University of Aberdeen, [27]. One of the oldest universities in the UK, it is renowned for its teaching and research.  edit
  • The Robert Gordon University (RGU), [28]. Awarded university status in 1992, this university has very strong ties with industry and has a high level of graduate employment.  edit
  • Aberdeen College, [29]. The largest further education college in Scotland, it has campuses within the city and without.  edit


The main street in Aberdeen is Union Street. It is wide and around a mile long with beautiful buildings on each side. It appears a bit worn and is mainly filled with standard Scottish high street shops. However it is worth a walk. Local independents include Nova on Chapel Street but sadly, Esslemont and Mackintosh, an independent department store, closed in 2007.

Aberdeen has a number of covered central shopping centers including the Bon-Accord Centre (general high street shops), St. Nicholas Centre (general high street shops), The Academy (boutique shops), Trinity Centre (general high street shops) and the newly opened Union Square (general high street shops/boutique shops and with a variety of places to eat inside the centre,[30]

The city has all the department stores and high street shops you would expect in any modern Scottish urban area, clustered around the centres above and along the mile-long Union Street. The table below is a guide on where to find some of the major shops, and what they specialise in.

  • John Lewis, Bon Accord Centre/George Street, department store.
  • Debenhams, Trinity Centre, department store
  • Marks and Spencer, St. Nicholas Square (off Union Street), department store and supermarket
  • Next, St. Nicholas Centre/Berryden Retail Park, clothing and homewares
  • Primark, Bon Accord Centre/Union Street, clothing
  • GAP, St. Nicholas Square, clothing
  • H&M, Union Street, clothing
  • Waterstones, Union Street, books
  • HMV, Trinity Centre/Union Street; music, movies, and games
  • One Up, Belmont Street, brilliant music store

When shopping, don't be limited to the malls and chain stores! Aberdeen has a vast collection of small, tucked-away shops which can provide everything from Bohemian dressware to Indian furniture. If you are adventurous enough then you may uncover a hidden wonder.

  • Ethnic Style, Schoolhill road (Outside of Bon Accords Main entrance). Fairtrade clothing and other assorted items from fairtrade suppliers  edit


Aberdeen has hundreds of restaurants, catering for every taste, to choose from. As with shops, there are well-known, easy to spot places, and out of the way ones. However, we'll leave the exploring up to you. Here is a list of more popular haunts in the central area, sorted by "cuisine":

If you want a lunchtime soup or sandwich try the Beautiful Mountain or Books and Beans on Belmont Street. Both are popular because of their good soup, sandwiches and atmosphere.

  • Earl Of Sandwich, Market Street. The best sandwich shop in town playing the best music in town. Moving soon to just around the corner on 'The Green', the original village center of Aberdeen.
  • Pizza Express, Union Street. A very good menu with great food. Modern setting. Not the cheapest, but reasonable.
  • Lahore Karahi, King Street. A relatively new entrant to the established Aberdonian Curry Houses, Lahore Karahi offers arguably the most authentic Pakistani/Indian cuisine, and at the best of prices too.
  • Musa art and music cafe, 33 Exchange St. A great restaurant/cafe/art gallery with the best food in Aberdeen and sometimes with live music
  • La Lombarda, 2-8 King Street. One of Aberdeen's most popular Italians, and with good reason. Good location next to Castlegate.
  • Little Italy, 79 Holborn Street. A bit pricey, but a wonderfully rustic decor makes for great atmosphere. A bit out of the way.
  • KURY, 22-24 King Street. Consistent rave reviews make this Indian restaurant a hotspot. Slightly overpriced, but it's worth it.
  • The Royal Thai, [31]. The oldest Thai restaurant in Aberdeen and it shows in how exceptional the food is.  edit
  • Yatai, 73-75 Skene Street, a short walk from Union street. Small and a little expensive, but excellent Japanese food including Sushi.
  • Chinatown, 11 Dee Street, just off Union Street. Great Chinese food along with nice, vibrant decor and a bar make this restaurant highly recommended.
  • Jimmy Chung's, 401-405 Union Street.
  • Yu, 347 Union Street. Reasonably-priced food. Good, but nothing to shout about. Convenient location.
  • The Illicit Still, off Broad Street. Sensibly priced pub grub.
  • The Bassment, Windmill Brae, off Union Street. Really good American grill reasonably priced. Also do excellent cocktails, served with more than a little flare!
  • The Beautiful Mountain, Belmont Street. Fine sandwiches, soups, smoothies and Sunday breakfasts!
  • Kilau, Little Belmont Street. Crepes, sandwiches, coffee, art and Irish Tony!
  • Nazma Tandoori, Bridge Street. Alongside the Blue Moon, Holburn Street, this is the most authentic and finest Indian restaurant in Aberdeen.


Like any Scottish city Aberdeen has its fair share of bars and nightclubs here are hundreds of licensed premises in the city to choose from that cater for every taste. Due to the large student population there are always student deals around to find if you want them, that often extend to everyone and not just those with student cards.

The classiest and most approachable starting point for a night out is Belmont Street. Here you can find three nightclubs (the Priory, Exodus and Revolutions) all of which are respectable. There are a number of bars, again all respectable. Slains Castle is very popular and does a good range of cocktails. Set in an old church it has a Gothic feel and is normally quite busy. Across the road is Siberia, the Vodka Bar and Revolutions (a nightclub opens upstairs about 11PM). These are all open for lunches where they all serve meals for around £6 that are well made. They are normally quite at lunchtime and have a good atmosphere.

  • Moshulu. Underground club.
  • Liquid. Dance orientated.
  • Soul in the converted Langstane Kirk. Uppermarket.
  • Albyn Bar and Club. Upppermarket, for over 30's.
  • The Prince of Wales, St Nicholas Square, Just off of Union Street. Boasting one of the longest bars in Aberdeen and eight Real Ale pumps, sometimes called the "PoW" or quite simply the "Prince", this pub is one of the hidden gems of Aberdeen packed with locals, oil workers and Students alike. They keep their beer exceedingly well.
  • St Machar Bar, 97 High Street, Old Aberdeen. Not much more than a hole in the wall, but "the Machar" is an inexpensive and convenient (and hence popular) place with university students at the main campus in Old Aberdeen.
  • Snafu. featuring live bands and DJ's.
  • Five (Castlegate/Union Street) Meals and drinks for reasonable prices. Handy if you're on your way to Snafu (it's right above).
  • The Grill, Union Street (Opposite the Music Hall). A whisky connoisseur's paradise, with an encyclopaedic range. Tasting menus available, rare whiskies can cost £50 per measure  edit
  • The Mariner Hotel, 349 Great Western Road, 01224 588901, [32]. A cozy hotel in Aberdeen's pretty west end. Rates from 70 pounds to 150 (for couple suite). The hotel features an amazing restaurant with excellent options both for meat-lovers and vegetarians. 70-150.  edit
  • Aberdeen Youth Hostel[33], 8 Queen's Road, AB15 4ZT. Tel: 0870 004 1100. A SYHA Hostel in a historic building near the city centre.
  • Abayian Hotel [34] small hotel located outside Aberdeen city centre.
  • The Marcliffe of Pitfoddels is a 5 star hotel just outside the city center with a Spa and conference facilities
  • Ardoe House is set in a Victorian mansion house, that looks somewhat like a castle. It is located just outside of town.
  • Skene House has three hotels in the town, all set in old tenement blocks. Each room has its own kitchen and living room and is basically an apartment that is run like a hotel.
  • The Queens Hotel was purchased by Malmaison and will be open in 2008.
  • Hilton Treetops Hotel is a large comfortable hotel located in a suburb of Aberdeen
  • The Grill, Union Street (Opposite the Music Hall). A small severely plain interior, but a haven for a whisky connoisseur; whiskies from Scotland and around the world. Tasting menu available  edit

Stay safe

Common sense should see that your visit to Aberdeen be trouble free. Petty thefts don't appear to be a problem, at least during the day. Beggars don't tend to bother people further than asking them for spare change or a cigarette. They can just be ignored.

There's a big rivalry between the football clubs Aberdeen and Rangers. However a big police presence on match days nowadays ensures minimal trouble in and around the ground and city centre.

Get out

Aberdeen is a good location to stay if you want to see castles, play golf or go on a distillery trail. Within 30 miles you can visit Crathes, Drum and Dunottar Castles.

The Malt Whisky Trail route is about 30 miles north and involves a number of distilleries including the Glenfiddich and Glen Grant tours.

If you want to play golf, the Royal Aberdeen golf course was founded in 1790 and is the sixth oldest in the world and the Royal Deeside course in the River Dee's valley are both excellent.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

="">See Aberdeen (disambiguation) for articles sharing the title Aberdeen.

ABERDEEN, a royal burgh, city and county of a city, capital of Aberdeenshire, and chief seaport in the north of Scotland. It is the fourth Scottish town in population, industry and wealth, and stands on a bay of the North Sea, between the mouths of the Don and Dee, 1302 m. N. E. of Edinburgh by the North British railway. Though Old Aberdeen, extending from the city suburbs to the southern banks of the Don, has a separate charter, privileges and history, the distinction between it and New Aberdeen can no longer be said to exist; and for parliamentary, municipal and other purposes, the two towns now form practically one community. Aberdeen's popular name of the "Granite City" is justified by the fact that the bulk of the town is built of granite, but to appreciate its more poetical designation of the "Silver City by the Sea," it should be seen after a heavy rainfall when its stately structures and countless houses gleam pure and white under the brilliant sunshine. The area of the city extends to 6602 acres, the burghs of Old Aberdeen and Woodside, and the district of Torry (for parliamentary purposes in the constituency of Kincardineshire) to the south of the Dee, having been incorporated in 1891. The city comprises eleven wards and eighteen ecclesiastical parishes, and is under the jurisdiction of a council with lord provost, bailies, treasurer and dean of guild. The corporation owns the water (derived from the Dee at a spot 21 m. W.S.W. of the city) and gas supplies, electric lighting and tramways. Since 1885 the city has returned two members to Parliament. Aberdeen is served by the Caledonian, Great North of Scotland and North British railways (occupying a commodious joint railway station), and there is regular communication by sea with London and the chief ports on the eastern coast of Great Britain and the northern shores of the Continent. The mean temperature of the city for the year is 45.8° F., for summer 56° F., and for winter 37.3° F. The average yearly rainfall is 30.57 inches. The city is one of the healthiest in Scotland.

Table of contents

Streets and Buildings

Roughly, the extended city runs north and south. From the new bridge of Don to the "auld brig" of Dee there is tramway communication via King Street, Union Street and Holburn Road - a distance of over five miles. Union Street is one of the most imposing thoroughfares in the British Isles. From Castle Street it runs W. S. W. for nearly a mile, is 70 ft. wide, and contains the principal shops and most of the modern public buildings, all of granite. Part of the street crosses the Denburn ravine (utilized for the line of the Great North of Scotland railway) by a fine granite arch of 132 ft. span, portions of the older town still fringing the gorge, fifty feet below the level of Union Street. Amongst the more conspicuous secular buildings in the street may be mentioned the Town and County Bank, the Music Hall, with sitting accommodation for 2000 persons, the Trinity Hall of the incorporated trades (originating in various years between 1398 and 1527, and having charitable funds for poor members, widows and orphans), containing some portraits by George Jamesone, a noteworthy set of carved oak chairs, dating from 1574, and the shields of the crafts with quaint inscriptions; the office of the Aberdeen Free Press, one of the most influential papers in the north of Scotland; the Palace Hotel; the office of the Northern Assurance Company, and the National Bank of Scotland. In Castle Street, a continuation eastwards of Union Street, are situated the Municipal and County Buildings, one of the most splendid granite edifices in Scotland, in the Franco-Scottish Gothic style, built in 1867-1878. They are of four stories and contain the great hall with an open timber ceiling and oak-panelled walls; the Sheriff Court House; the Town Hall, with excellent portraits of Prince Albert (Prince Consort), the 4th earl of Aberdeen, the various lord provosts and other distinguished citizens. In the vestibule of the entrance corridor stands a suit of black armour believed to have been worn by Provost Sir Robert Davidson, who fell in the battle of Harlaw, near Inverurie, in 1411. From the south-western corner a grand tower rises to a height of 210 ft., commanding a fine view of the city and surrounding country. Adjoining the municipal buildings is the North of Scotland Bank, of Greek design, with a portico of Corinthian columns, the capitals of which are exquisitely carved. On the opposite side of the street is the fine building of the Union Bank. At the upper end of Castle Street stands the Salvation Army Citadel, an effective castellated mansion, the most imposing "barracks" possessed anywhere by this organization. In front of it is the Market Cross, a beautiful, open-arched, hexagonal structure, 21 ft. in diameter and 18 ft. high. The original was designed in 1682 by John Montgomery, a native architect, but in 1842 it was removed hither from its old site and rebuilt in a better style. On the entablature surmounting the Ionic columns are panels containing medallions of Scots sovereigns from James I. to James VII. From the centre rises a shaft, 122 ft. high, with a Corinthian capital on which is the royal unicorn rampant. On an eminence east of Castle Street are the military barracks. In Market Street are the Mechanics' Institution, founded in 1824, with a good library; the Post and Telegraph offices; and the Market, where provisions of all kinds and general wares are sold. The Fish Market, on the Albert Basin, is a busy scene in the early morning.

The Art Gallery and Museum at Schoolhill, built in the Italian Renaissance style of red and brown granite, contains an excellent collection of pictures, the Macdonald Hall of portraits of contemporary artists by themselves being of altogether exceptional interest and unique of its kind in Great Britain. The public library, magnificently housed, contains more than 60,000 volumes. The theatre in Guild Street is the chief seat of dramatic, as the Palace Theatre in Bridge Place is of variety entertainment. The new buildings of Marischal College fronting Broad Street, opened by King Edward VII. in 1906, form one of the most splendid examples of modern architecture in Great Britain; the architect, Alexander Marshall Mackenzie, a native of Aberdeen, having adapted his material, white granite, to the design of a noble building with the originality of genius.


Like most Scottish towns, Aberdeen is well equipped with churches, most of them of good design, but few of special interest. The East and West churches of St Nicholas, their kirkyard separated from Union Street by an Ionic fa�e, 1472 ft. long, built in 1830, form one continuous building, 220 ft. in length, including the Drum Aisle (the ancient burial-place of the Irvines of Drum) and the Collison Aisle, which divide them and which formed the transept of the 12th-century church of St Nicholas. The West Church was built in 1775, in the Italian style, the East originally in 1834 in the Gothic. In 1874 a fire destroyed the East Church and the old central tower with its fine peal of nine bells, one of which, Laurence or "Lowrie," was 4 ft. in diameter at the mouth, 32 ft. high and very thick. The church was rebuilt and a massive granite tower erected over the intervening aisles at the cost of the municipality, a new peal of 36 bells, cast in Holland, being installed to commemorate the Victorian jubilee of 1887. The Roman Catholic Cathedral in Huntly Street, a Gothic building, was erected in 1859. The see of Aberdeen was first founded at Mortlach in Banffshire by Malcolm II. in 1004 to celebrate his victory there over the Danes, but in 1137 David I. transferred the bishopric to Old Aberdeen, and twenty years later the cathedral of St Machar, situated a few hundred yards from the Don, was begun. Save during the episcopate of William Elphinstone (1484-1511), the building progressed slowly. Gavin Dunbar, who followed him in 1518, was enabled to complete the structure by adding the two western spires and the southern transept. The church suffered severely at the Reformation, but is still used as the parish church. It now consists of the nave and side aisles. It is chiefly built of outlayer granite, and, though the plainest cathedral in Scotland, its stately simplicity and severe symmetry lend it unique distinction. On the flat panelled ceiling of the nave are the heraldic shields of the princes, noblemen and bishops who shared in its erection, and the great west window contains modern painted glass of excellent colour and design. The cemeteries are St Peter's in Old Aberdeen, Trinity near the links, Nellfield at the junction of Great Western and Holburn Roads, and Allenvale, very tastefully laid out, adjoining Duthie Park.


Aberdeen University consists of King's College in Old Aberdeen, founded by Bishop Elphinstone in 1494, and Marischal College, in Broad Street, founded in 1593 by George Keith, 5th earl Marischal, which were incorporated in 1860. Arts and divinity are taught at King's, law, medicine and science at Marischal. The number of students exceeds Boo yearly. The buildings of both colleges are the glories of Aberdeen. King's forms a quadrangle with interior court, two sides of which have been rebuilt, and a library wing has been added. The Crown Tower and the Chapel, the oldest parts, date from 1500. The former is surmounted by a structure about 40 ft. high, consisting of a six-sided lantern and royal crown, both sculptured, and resting on the intersections of two arched ornamental slips rising from the four corners of the top of the tower. The choir of the chapel still contains the original oak canopied stalls, miserere seats and lofty open screens in the French flamboyant style, and of unique beauty of design and execution. Their preservation was due to the enlightened energy of the principal at the time of the Reformation, who armed his folk to save the building from the barons of the Mearns after they had robbed St Machar's of its bells and lead. Marischal College is a stately modern building, having been rebuilt in 1836-1841, and greatly extended several years later at a cost of £ioo,000. The additions to the buildings opened by King Edward VII. in 1906 have been already mentioned. The beautiful Mitchell Tower is so named from the benefactor (Dr Charles Mitchell) who provided the splendid graduation hall. The opening of this tower in 1895 signalized the commemoration of the four hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the university. The University Library comprises nearly ioo,000 books. A Botanic Garden was presented to the university in 1899. Aberdeen and Glasgow Universities combine to return one member to Parliament. The United Free Church Divinity Hall in Alford Place, in the Tudor Gothic style, dates from 1850. The Grammar School, founded in 1263, was removed in 1861-1863 from its old quarters in Schoolhill to a large new building, in the Scots Baronial style, off Skene Street. Robert Gordon's College in Schoolhill was founded in 1729 by Robert Gordon of Straloch and further endowed in 1816 by Alexander Simpson of Collyhill. Originally devoted (as Gordon's Hospital) to the instruction and maintenance of the sons of poor burgesses of guild and trade in the city, it was reorganized in 1881 as a day and night school for secondary and technical education, and has since been unusually successful. Besides a High School for Girls and numerous board schools, there are many private higher-class schools. Under the Endowments Act 1882 an educational trust was constituted which possesses a capital of X155,000. At Blairs, in Kincardineshire, five miles S.W. of Aberdeen, is St Mary's Roman Catholic College for the training of young men intended for the priesthood.

==Charities== The Royal Infimary, in Woolmanhill, established in 1740, rebuilt in the Grecian style in 1833-1840, and largely extended after 1887 as a memorial of Queen Victoria's jubilee; the Royal Asylum, opened in 1800; the Female Orphan Asylum, in Albyn Place, founded in 1840; the Blind Asylum, in Huntly Street, established in 1843; the Royal Hospital for Sick Children; the Maternity Hospital, founded in 1823; the City Hospital for Infectious Diseases; the Deaf and Dumb Institution; Mitchell's Hospital in Old Aberdeen; the East and West Poorhouses, with lunatic wards; and hospitals devoted to specialized diseases, are amongst the most notable of the charitable institutions. There are, besides, industrial schools for boys and girls and for Roman Catholic children, a Female School of Industry, the Seabank Rescue Home, Nazareth House and Orphanage, St Martha's Home for Girls, St Margaret's Convalescent Home and Sisterhood, House of Bethany, the Convent of the Sacred Heart and the Educational Trust School.

Parks and Open Spaces

Duthie Park, of 50 acres, the gift of Miss Elizabeth Crombie Duthie of Ruthrieston, occupies an excellent site on the north bank of the Dee. Victoria Park (13 acres) and its extension Westburn Park (13 acres) are situated in the north-western area; farther north lies Stewart Park (1 acres), called after Sir D. Stewart, lord provost in 1893. The capacious links bordering the sea between the mouths of the two rivers are largely resorted to for open-air recreation; there is here a rifle range where a "wapinschaw," or shooting tournament, is held annually. Part is laid out as an 18-hole golf course; a section is reserved for cricket and football; a portion has been railed off for a race-course, and a bathing-station has been erected. Union Terrace Gardens are a popular rendezvous in the heart of the city.


In Union Terrace Gardens stands a colossal statue in bronze of Sir William Wallace, by W. G. Stevenson, R.S.A. (1888). In the same gardens are a bronze statue of Burns and Baron Marochetti's seated figure of Prince Albert. In front of Gordon's College is the bronze statue, by T. S. Burnett, A.R.S.A., of General Gordon (1888). At the east end of Union Street is the bronze statue of Queen Victoria, erected in 1893 by the royal tradesmen of the city. Near the Cross stands the granite statue of the 5th duke of Gordon (d. 1836). Here may also be mentioned the obelisk of Peterhead granite, 70 ft. high, erected in the square of Marischal College to the memory of Sir James ? M ` Grigor (1778-1851), the military surgeon and director-general of the Army Medical Department, who was thrice elected lord rector of the College.

==Bridges== The Dee is crossed by four bridges, - the old bridge, the Wellington suspension bridge, the railway bridge, and Victoria Bridge, opposite Market Street. The first, till 1832 the only access to the city from the south, consists of seven semicircular ribbed arches, is about 30 ft. high, and was built early in the 16th century by Bishops Elphinstone and Dunbar. It was nearly all rebuilt in 1718-1723, and in 1842 was widened from 142 to 26 ft. The bridge of Don has five granite arches, each 75 ft. in span, and was built in 1827-1832. A little to the west is the Auld Brig o' Balgownie, a picturesque single arch spanning the deep black stream, said to have been built by King Robert I., and celebrated by Byron in the tenth canto of Don Juan. Harbour. - A defective harbour, with a shallow sand and gravel bar at its entrance, long retarded the trade of Aberdeen, but under various acts since 1773 it was greatly deepened. The north pier, built partly by Smeaton in 1775-1781, and partly by Telford in 1810-1815, extends nearly 3000 ft. into the North Sea. It increases the depth of water on the bar from a few feet to 2 2 or 24 ft. at spring tides and to 17 or 18 ft. at neap. A wet dock, of 29 acres, and with 6000 ft. of quay, was completed in 1848 and called Victoria Dock in honour of the queen's visit to the city in that year. Adjoining it is the Upper Dock. By the Harbour Act of 1868, the Dee near the harbour was diverted from the south at a cost of L80,000, and 90 acres of new ground (in addition to 25 acres formerly made up) were provided on the north side of the river for the Albert Basin (with a graving dock), quays and warehouses. A breakwater of concrete, 1050 ft. long, was constructed on the south side of the stream as a protection against south-easterly gales. On Girdleness, the southern point of the bay, a lighthouse was built in 1833. Near the harbour mouth are three batteries mounting nineteen guns.


Owing to the variety and importance of its chief industries Aberdeen is one of the most prosperous cities in Scotland. Very durable grey granite has been quarried near Aberdeen for more than 300 years, and blocked and dressed paving "setts," kerb and building stones, and monumental 'and other ornamental work of granite have long been exported from the district to all parts of the world. This, though once the predominant industry, has been surpassed by the deep-sea fisheries, which derived a great impetus from beam-trawling, introduced in 1882, and steam line fishing in 1889, and threaten to rival if not to eclipse those of Grimsby. Fish trains are despatched to London daily. Most of the leading industries date from the 18th century, amongst them woollens (1703), linen (1749) and cotton (1779). These give employment to several thousands of operatives. The paper-making industry is one of the most famous and oldest in the city, paper having been first made in Aberdeen in 1694. Flax-spinning and jute and combmaking factories are also very flourishing, and there are successful foundries and engineering works. There are large distilleries and breweries, and chemical works employing many hands. In the days of wooden ships ship-building was a flourishing industry, the town being noted for its fast clippers, many of which established records in the "tea races." The introduction of trawling revived this to some extent, and despite the distance of the city from the iron fields there is a fair yearly output of iron vessels. Of later origin are the jam, pickle and potted meat factories, hundreds of acres having been laid down in strawberries and other fruits within a few miles of the city.


Aberdeen was an important place as far back as the 12th century. William the Lion had a residence in the city, to which he gave a charter in 1179 confirming the corporate rights granted by David I. The city received other royal charters later. It was burned by the English king, Edward III., in 1336, but it was soon rebuilt and extended, and called New Aberdeen. The burgh records are the oldest in Scotland. They begin in 1398 and with one brief break are complete to the present day. For many centuries the city was subject to attacks by the neighbouring barons, and was strongly fortified, but the gates were all removed by 1770. In 1497 a blockhouse was built at the harbour mouth as a protection against the English. During the struggles between the Royalists and Covenanters the city was impartially plundered by both sides. In 1715 the Earl Marischal proclaimed the Old Pretender at Aberdeen, and in 1745 the duke of Cumberland resided for a short time in the city before attacking the Young Pretender. The motto on the city arms is "Bon Accord," which formed the watchword of the Aberdonians while aiding Robert Bruce in his battles with the English.


In 1396 the population was about 3000. By 180r it had become 26,992; in 1841 it was 63,262; (1891) 121,623; (1901) 153,503.


- The charters of the burgh; extracts from the council register down to 1625, and selections from the letters, guildry and treasurer's accounts, forming 3 vols. of the Spalding Club; Cosmo Innes, Registrum Episcopatus Aberdonensis, Spalding Club; Walter Thom, The History of Aberdeen (1811); Robert Wilson, Historical Account and Delineation of Aberdeen (1822); William Kennedy, The Annals of Aberdeen (1818); Orem, Description of the Chanonry, Cathedral and King's College of Old Aberdeen, 1724-1725 (1830); Sir Andrew Leith Hay of Rannes, The Castellated Architecture of Aberdeen; Giles, Specimens of Old Castellated Houses of Aberdeen (1838); James Bryce, Lives of Eminent Men of Aberdeen (1841); J. Gordon, Description of Both Towns of Aberdeen (Spalding Club, 1842); Joseph Robertson, The Book of Bon-Accord (Aberdeen, 1839) W. Robbie, Aberdeen: its Traditions and History (Aberdeen, 18 93); C. G. Burr and A. M. Munro, Old Landmarks of Aberdeen (Aberdeen, 1886); A. M. Munro, Memorials of the Aldermen, Provosts and Lord Provosts of Aberdeen (Aberdeen, 1897); P. J. Anderson, Charters, &c., illustrating the History of the Royal Burgh of Aberdeen (Aberdeen, 1890); Selections from the Records of Marischal College (New Spalding Club, 1889, 1898-1899); J. Cooper, Chartulary of the Church of St Nicholas (New Spalding Club, 1888, 1892); G. Cadenhead, Sketch of the Territorial History of the Burgh of Aberdeen (Aberdeen, 1876); W. Cadenhead, Guide to the City of Aberdeen (Aberdeen, 1897); A. Smith, History and Antiquities of New and Old Aberdeen (Aberdeen, 1882).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




From Pictish aber (river mouth) + Don (the site of Old Aberdeen). Written Aberdon c. 1187 and Aberden c. 1214.

Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. A city in Scotland.



  • 2003, A. D. Mills, A Dictionary of British Place-Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198527586


Proper noun


  1. Aberdeen

Derived terms


Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to John Errol Chandos Aberdeen article)

From Wikispecies

1913-1996 (Aberdeen)

British mycologist.

Simple English

Union Street, Aberdeen, on Market Day

Aberdeen is a city on the north east coast of Scotland where the rivers Dee and Don flow into the North Sea. It is the capital of the Grampian region of Scotland. Aberdeen is the third largest city in Scotland. The city's motto is Bon Accord.

Aberdeen is famous for its buildings made from granite. Because of the silver-grey colour of the stone, Aberdeen is called the "Silver City by the Golden Sands". Aberdeen has a university, the University of Aberdeen which was founded on 10 February 1495 by Bishop William Elphinstone.

The local people sometimes speak in a dialect called Doric. They are called Aberdonians.

Aberdeen has its own football team, Aberdeen F.C.. The team plays in the Scottish Premier League.

Each year in August, Aberdeen hosts the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. This is one of the most important annual events in Scotland. Hundred of groups of young performing artists come to Aberdeen each year for the festival.

Aberdeen shares its name with Aberdeen, Idaho, in the United States of America.


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