Aberdeen is Scotland’s third most populated city, one of the country’s 32 local government council areas, and the United Kingdom’s 37th most populous built-up region, with an official population estimate of 196,670 for the city and 228,990 for the local authority area.
Granite City, Grey City, and Silver City with Golden Sands are some of the nicknames given to the city. Aberdeen’s structures employed locally mined grey granite, which may gleam like silver due to its high mica concentration, from the mid-18th to the mid-20th centuries. Since the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s, additional nicknames for the city have included the Oil Capital of Europe and the Energy Capital of Europe. The region surrounding Aberdeen has been inhabited since at least 8,000 years ago, when ancient towns were established at the mouths of the rivers Dee and Don. The city boasts a long, sandy coastline as well as a maritime climate, which results in cool summers and moderate winters.
David I of Scotland (1124–53) bestowed Royal Burgh status to Aberdeen, improving the city economically. Aberdeen is the educational center of the north-east of Scotland, thanks to its two institutions, the University of Aberdeen, established in 1495, and Robert Gordon University, which was granted university status in 1992. The oil sector and Aberdeen’s ports have surpassed the ancient industries of fishing, papermaking, shipbuilding, and textiles. The seaport at Aberdeen is the biggest in the north-east of Scotland, and Aberdeen Heliport is one of the busiest commercial heliports in the world.
Aberdeen has won Britain in Bloom ten years in a row, and it also holds the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, a significant international event that draws up to 1000 of the most outstanding youth performing arts organizations. Aberdeen was voted the 56th most liveable city in the world and the fourth most liveable city in the United Kingdom by Mercer in 2012. Aberdeen was rated a prominent business centre and one of eight’super cities’ powering the UK economy by HSBC in 2012, making it the only city in Scotland to win this honor.
Aberdeen – Info Card
|FOUNDED :||Earliest Charter 1179|
City status 1891
|TIME ZONE :||Time zone GMT (UTC±0)|
Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
|RELIGION :||Christian 30.9%|
|AREA :||184.46 km2 (71.22 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||57.1526°N 2.1100°W|
|SEX RATIO :|
|ETHNIC :||White 91.9%|
|AREA CODE :||01224|
|POSTAL CODE :||AB10-AB13 (part), AB15, AB16, AB21-AB25|
|DIALING CODE :||+44 1224|
Tourism in Aberdeen
Aberdeen is the third-largest city in Scotland, with a population of approximately 220,000 people. It is a port city on Scotland’s north-east coast, around 120 miles (190 kilometers) north of Edinburgh and 400 miles (650 kilometers) north of London, where the rivers Dee and Don meet the North Sea. It is an important seaport, regional center, and the North Sea oil industry’s hub.
Although isolated by UK standards, Aberdeen is no backwater; it is an affluent and sophisticated city, thanks in part to North Sea oil, and is distinguished by its big and opulent architecture. The majority of structures in Aberdeen are made of granite mined in and around the city, and as a consequence, the city is known as The Granite City. It is also well-known for its several spectacular parks, gardens, and flower displays located around the city, as well as its long, sandy coastline. Aberdeen is also known as the Oil Capital of Europe and has been chosen the happiest location in Britain in multiple surveys, with a 2006 poll noting access to big expanses of greenery and community spirit. It has ten times won the Britain in Bloom competition.
Aberdeen is less visited by visitors than other Scottish locations such as Edinburgh or St Andrews, thus it might seem more real. It’s a great place to stop for a couple of days on a tour of Scotland, and it’s especially good as a base for exploring the surrounding area, which has castles, golf, whisky distilleries, scenery, mountains (including skiing and snowboarding), coast, and other attractions in Aberdeenshire and Royal Deeside. If you truly want to get away from the tension, Aberdeen’s distance but comforts and cosmopolitan character make it a fascinating option for a short city holiday.
Aberdeen has a somewhat haphazard mediaeval layout, which is typical of British cities. The city center is separated by Union Street, a mile-long street that runs north-east/south-west (named after the 1800 “union” between Great Britain and Ireland). The major square – the Castlegate – is located at the north-east end, while key roads branching off Union Street include Broad Street, Shiprow, Market Street, St. Nicholas Square, and Union Terrace (from east to west). Guild Street (home to the railway and bus terminals) and Upperkirkgate, which feeds onto Schoolhill, run parallel to Union Street. Roads run to the beach and the sea east of the Castlegate, while roads lead to the West End at the opposite end of Union Street (where many millionnaires live). The port is unusually located in the city center and is easily accessible from the Shiprow, Market Street, Guild Street, and Marischal Street. The River Dee flows somewhat south of the city center rather than through it. The River Don runs through the city’s northern outskirts, roughly two miles (3.2 km) north of the city center.
WHEN SHOULD I GO?
The greatest season is throughout the summer. The days are long (up to 18 hours during the summer solstice), and most of them are bright and sunny. The granite gleams in the sunlight and stands out against the (quite frequent) blue sky that continue late into the evening. The majority of the events take place in the summer, which is also the ideal season to see sites in the surrounding area. Late spring and early fall are also ideal seasons to come. Autumn in Aberdeen may be beautiful, especially in the numerous parks and green areas, but be prepared for colder temperatures and even chilly winds. Avoid early September in odd-numbered years (e.g., 2013), when the massive Offshore Europe oil conference takes place and every hotel room in the area is filled up months in advance, with hotels demanding exorbitant prices. Winter months are best avoided unless you want to go skiing or snowboarding in the mountains. These are often gloomy, chilly, and windy, and the grey granite might look dreary on the numerous cloudy days. There is also little activity of interest to tourists.
TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
- Tourist Information Centre, 23 Union Street, AB11 5BP (at the corner with the Shiprow), +44 1224 269180. Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., with less hours on Sundays. A good place to go for additional information about attractions.
Climate of Aberdeen
The climate in Aberdeen is oceanic (Köppen Cfb). Aberdeen has significantly milder winter temperatures than one would anticipate given its northern position, despite being the coldest city in the UK numerically. The duration of the day is quite short throughout the winter, particularly around December, averaging 6 hours and 41 minutes between sunrise and sunset during the winter solstice. The duration of the day increases quite fast as winter approaches, reaching 8 hours and 20 minutes by the end of January. The days will be around 18 hours long during the summer solstice, with 17 hours and 55 minutes between sunrise and dusk. During this time of year, the night is spent under minimal nautical twilight. Temperatures in most of the metropolitan area will be about 17.0 °C (62.6 °F) throughout the day, however closer to 16.0 °C (60.8 °F) immediately on the coast and approximately 18.0 to 19.0 °C (64.4 to 66.2 °F) in the westernmost suburbs, demonstrating the cooling impact of the North Sea during July. Furthermore, from June onwards, the sky are more gloomy than in April/May, resulting in a smaller proportion of probable sunlight (the percentage of daylight hours that are sunny). Summer is mild by European standards as a result of these variables.
Geography of Aberdeen
The city has minimal natural exposure of bedrock due to its location between two river mouths. This puts local geologists in a pickle: despite the huge concentration of geoscientists in the region (thanks to the oil business), there is only a hazy grasp of what lies underneath the city. To the south of the city, coastal cliffs reveal high-grade Grampian Group metamorphic rocks; to the south-west and west, large granites are intruded into comparable high-grade schists; and to the north, metamorphics are intruded by gabbroic complexes. The tiny amount of geophysics done, as well as occasional building-related exposures, along with modest exposures in the River Don’s banks, indicate that it is really located on an inlier of Devonian “Old Red” sandstones and silts. The city’s outskirts extended 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 found, such as that at the Rubislaw quarry, which was used to build much of the city’s Victorian parts.
Aberdeen features a lengthy sand beach between the two rivers, the Dee and the Don, which transforms into towering sand dunes north of the Don and stretches as far as Fraserburgh; steep granite cliff walls to the south of the Dee have only modest pebble and shingle beaches in deep inlets. Several granite outcrops around the south coast have been mined in the past, providing stunning views and excellent rock climbing.
The city has a total area of 184.46 km2 (71.22 sq mi), and it comprises the old burghs of Old Aberdeen, New Aberdeen, Woodside, and the Royal Burgh of Torry to the south of the River Dee. In 2011, the city had a population density of 1,169 people per square kilometer. The city is situated on multiple hills, with Castle Hill, St. Catherine’s Hill, and Windmill Hill serving as the city’s original foundations.
Economy of Aberdeen
Aberdeen was historically known for its fisheries, textile mills, shipbuilding, and paper manufacturing. These industries have mainly been replaced. High-tech breakthroughs in the electronics design and development business, agricultural and fishery research, and the oil industry, which has been primarily responsible for Aberdeen’s economic expansion over the previous three decades, are now significant components of the Aberdeen economy. Until the 1970s, most of Aberdeen’s principal industries were from the 18th century, namely textiles, foundry work, shipbuilding, and paper-making, the city’s oldest business, with paper being created there for the first time in 1694. Paper production has declined in significance with the closures of Donside Paper Mill in 2001 and Davidson Mill in 2005, leaving Stoneywood Paper Mill with a workforce of roughly 500. Richards of Aberdeen closed in 2004, bringing an end to textile manufacture.
For almost 300 years, grey granite was mined at the Rubislaw quarry and used for pavement setts, kerb and construction stones, monumental and other decorative items. Aberdeen granite was used to construct the terraces of London’s Houses of Parliament and Waterloo Bridge. Quarrying was ultimately phased out in 1971. The present owners have started extracting 40 years of rain water from the quarry in order to build a historical center on the site.
Fishing was originally the most important industry, but it was superseded by deep-sea fisheries, which benefited greatly from better technology during the twentieth century. Because to overfishing and the usage of the harbour by oil support boats, catches have declined, and the port, although still significant, has been surpassed by the more northerly ports of Peterhead and Fraserburgh. The Fisheries Research Services is based in Aberdeen, and a marine research facility is located at Torry.
The James Hutton Institute (previously the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute), which has strong connections to the city’s two institutions, is well-known for its agricultural and soil research. The Rowett Research Institute, based in Aberdeen, is a world-renowned research center for food and nutrition studies. It has produced three Nobel laureates, and the city has a large concentration of life scientists.
As North Sea oil reserves decline, there is a push to rebrand Aberdeen as the “Energy Capital of Europe” rather than the “Oil Capital of Europe,” and there is interest in the development of alternative energy sources, as well as technology transfer from oil to renewable energy and other sectors. The “Energetica” effort, coordinated by Scottish Enterprise, aims to speed up this process. Aberdeen remained a key global hub for subsea petroleum technologies in 2013.
THE NORTH SEA AND ABERDEEN
Throughout the nineteenth century, Aberdeen was a significant maritime center, culminating in the introduction of the first steam-powered trawler by a consortium of local entrepreneurs. The steam trawling business grew, and by 1933, Aberdeen was Scotland’s leading fishing port, employing approximately 3,000 people and sailing 300 boats from its harbor. By the time oil was discovered, the majority of the trawling fleet had shifted to Peterhead. Although Aberdeen continues to bring in significant catches, the tugs, safety boats, and supply ships that crowd the port vastly outweigh the trawlers.
Since the mid-twentieth century, geologists had theorized about the possibility of oil and gas in the North Sea, but extracting it from its deep and hostile waters was a different story. However, as Middle Eastern oil sheiks became increasingly cognizant of the political and economic power of their oil deposits, as well as government rationing threats, the industry started to view the North Sea as a potential supply of oil. Exploration began in the 1960s, and the first significant discovery in the British sector occurred in November 1970 at the Forties field, 110 miles (180 km) east of Aberdeen.
After years of hard work, the required infrastructure was in place by late 1975. The Queen clicked the button that would start the entire affair in motion in Aberdeen, at BP’s (British Petroleum) headquarters. The oil flowed straight from the rig to the distant Grangemouth refinery. While many ports have declined, Aberdeen has remained busy due to the oil trade and the inflow of people associated with the business, as well as a following surge in housing values, which has brought affluence to the region.
The business still employs over 47,000 people in the area, and proven reserves indicate that oil will continue to flow long into the twenty-first century.
Aberdeen, being a significant port in the United Kingdom, gets a large number of visiting sailors from ships stopping at the port. Apostleship of the Sea, a seafarers’ welfare organization, employs a port chaplain in Aberdeen to provide practical and pastoral help.
Aberdeen was designated the best-placed city for development in Britain by the Centre for Cities in 2011, as the nation sought to recover from the recent economic slump. With energy still being the backbone of the local economy, considerable new investment in the North Sea has occurred in recent years as a result of increased oil prices and attractive government tax incentives. As a result, numerous oil majors and independents have established new worldwide headquarters in the city.
Aberdeen City and Shire’s GDP is expected to be more than £11.4 billion, accounting for more than 17 percent of total Scottish GDP. Aberdeen is home to five of Scotland’s top ten enterprises, with a combined sales of £14 billion and a profit of more than £2.4 billion. Along with this, 29 of Scotland’s top 100 firms are situated in Aberdeen, which has a 77.9 percent employment rate, making it the second most populous city in the United Kingdom.
According to 2016 data, Aberdeen has the second highest number of patents processed per inhabitant in the UK.
In terms of retail, the city is ranked third in Scotland. Union Street and George Street are the main retail routes, which are now supplemented by shopping centers, most notably the Bon Accord & St Nicholas and the Trinity Shopping Centre. Union Square, a new retail complex worth £190 million, was completed in late September/early October 2009. Away from the city center, major retail parks include the Berryden Retail Park, the Kittybrewster Retail Park, and the Beach Boulevard Retail Park.
The Fairtrade Foundation designated Aberdeen as a Fairtrade City in March 2004. It shares the distinction of being the first city in Scotland to gain this honor, together with Dundee.