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Built at the mouth of two of Scotland’s major rivers, the Dee and the Don, with the spectacular Grampian Mountains to the west, and miles of unspoiled and beautiful coastline to the east, Aberdeen is a perfect destination for nature lovers. But travellers who would rather stay in urban surroundings will also have plenty to see – despite its northerly location, Aberdeen features splendid architectural delights, a highly cosmopolitan feel, exciting nightlife and a wide variety of cultural sights and events bound to please all. Early Aberdeen consisted of two settlements: one in what is today known as Old Aberdeen, and another on St Katherine’s Hill near the harbour. Modern Aberdeen began to take shape in the late 18th century on St Katherine’s Hill in a development that featured some spectacular engineering projects. Engineering is still a theme in today’s Aberdeen, following the discovery of oil in the North Sea in 1969, which has earned Aberdeen its modern nicknames, the “Oil Capital of Europe” or the “Houston of the North.” The oil has been highly significant for the development of this thriving city, as it has boosted the local economy, resulting in low unemployment rates and a reputation for being one of the most desirable places in Britain to live and work.
Visitors to Aberdeen love to wander through the streets admiring the unique granite edifices and taking in the historical sights like King's College, St. Machar's Cathedral, Marischal College and the Kirk of St. Nicholas Uniting. But there is also plenty in the way of attractions, museums, parks and gardens, and of course, there are numerous fairy tale castles and historic distilleries within easy reach of the city which should not be missed.
Given its location by the sea, Aberdeen truly is a dream destination for travellers with a culinary interest and a taste for seafood, with fresh fish, crab and lobster in abundance. However, being a multi-cultural city, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes, with offers ranging from traditional Scottish dishes to Italian, French, Greek, Turkish and Chinese, as well as some highly praised Hungarian restaurants.
Aberdeen may be better known for its pubs than its cafes, but the city is host to a wide range of quaint and often unique tea and coffee houses. From beach-front locations to charming courtyards, you can find everything from chocolate coffee houses to special vegan bakeries and bookstore cafes, all perfect places to take a break from sightseeing.
With two universities and a large number of people spending time in the city while on leave from the North Sea oil rigs, Aberdeen has a raft of bars and pubs to cater for their needs, making it an ideal party city. With such an abundance of great bars, it comes as no surprise that Aberdeen also offers some great clubs that are bound to give you a memorable experience. But do not ignore the city's numerous cultural events and offerings, with plenty of live music venues and world-class theatres putting on some unique and memorable shows.
As the traditional centre for commerce for the whole of northeastern Scotland, Aberdeen has been the region’s number one shopping centre for hundreds of years and boasts a wide range of shops and malls. The traditional main streets are Union Street and George Street, which offer superb swanky shopping, while the Bon Accord, St. Nicholas and Trinity shopping centres offer visitors the chance to buy high-quality items indoors, as well as Castlegate Market, a cobblestone square that hosts a market seven days a week.
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