Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland

Monday, 14 November 2011 - 02:30 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, European Union, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  8 minutes

Mitchell Library © Andeggs

Mitchell Library © Andeggs

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country’s west central lowlands. A person from Glasgow is known as a Glaswegian. Glasgow grew from the medieval Bishopric of Glasgow and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, which subsequently became a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century. From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Britain’s main hubs of transatlantic trade with British North America and the British West Indies. With the Industrial Revolution, the city and surrounding region shifted to become one of the world’s pre-eminent centres of Heavy Engineering, most notably in the Shipbuilding and Marine engineering industry, which produced many innovative and famous vessels. Glasgow was known as the “Second City of the British Empire” for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period. Today it is one of Europe’s top twenty financial centres and is home to many of Scotland’s leading businesses. Glasgow is also ranked as the 57th most liveable city in the world. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Glasgow grew to a population of over one million, and was the fourth-largest city in Europe, after London, Paris and Berlin. In the 1960s, comprehensive urban renewal projects resulting in large-scale relocation of people to new towns and peripheral suburbs, followed by successive boundary changes, have reduced the current population of the City of Glasgow council area to 580,690, with 1,199,629 people living in the Greater Glasgow urban area. The entire region surrounding the conurbation covers approximately 2.3 million people, 41% of Scotland’s population.

The city centre is based on a grid system of streets on the north bank of the River Clyde. The heart of the city is George Square, site of many of Glasgow’s public statues and the elaborate Victorian Glasgow City Chambers, headquarters of Glasgow City Council. To the south and west are the shopping precincts of Argyle Street, Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street, the latter featuring more upmarket retailers and winner of the Academy of Urbanism ‘Great Street Award’ 2008. The main shopping centres are Buchanan Galleries and the St. Enoch Centre, with the up-market Princes Square and the Italian Centre specialising in designer labels. The London-based department store Selfridges purchased a site in the city some years ago as part of its plans to expand stores, plans which have now been shelved according to the company. Glasgow’s retail portfolio forms the UK’s second largest and most economically important retail sector after Central London.

To the east is the commercial and residential district of Merchant City. The Merchant City was formerly the residential district of the wealthy city merchants in the 18th and early 19th centuries, particularly the Tobacco Lords from whom many of the streets take their name. As the Industrial Revolution and the wealth it brought to the city resulted in the expansion of Glasgow’s central area westward, the original medieval centre was left behind. Glasgow Cross, situated at the junction of High Street, Gallowgate, Trongate and Saltmarket was the original centre of the city, symbolised by its Mercat cross. Glasgow Cross encompasses the Tolbooth Clock Tower; all that remains of the original City Chambers, which was destroyed by fire in 1926. Moving northward up High Street towards Rottenrow and Townhead lies the 15th century Glasgow Cathedral and the Provand’s Lordship.

University of Glasgow - Gilbert Scott Building © David Iliff John Street Arches © geograph.org.uk - Colin Smith Templetons Carpet Factory © LordHorst St Mungos Cathedral © Michael Hanselmann St Enoch Travel Centre © Túrelio House For An Art Lover by Charles Rennie Macintosh © flickr.com - David Mackay George Square and Glasgow City Chambers © Finlay McWalter Clyde Auditorium by Sir Norman Foster © flickr.com - Ross Goodman Glasgow Science Center © Kanakari Glasgow Royal Exchange Square at night © flickr.com - John Lindie People's Palace Museum © Finlay McWalter Glasgow Panorama, seen from Queens Park © flickr.com - John Lindie Glasgow Montage © flickr.com - ScottFree92 Glasgow Green - Doulton Fountain © Michael Gallacher Mitchell Library © Andeggs
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House For An Art Lover by Charles Rennie Macintosh © flickr.com - David Mackay
The city has many amenities for a wide range of cultural activities, from curling to opera and ballet and from football to art appreciation; it also has a large selection of museums that include those devoted to transport, religion, and modern art. Many of the city’s cultural sites were celebrated in 1990 when Glasgow was designated European City of Culture. The city’s principal library, the Mitchell Library, has grown into one of the largest public reference libraries in Europe, currently housing some 1.3 million books, an extensive collection of newspapers and thousands of photographs and maps. Most of Scotland’s national arts organisations are based in Glasgow, including Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, The National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Youth Theatre.

Very little of medieval Glasgow remains; the two main landmarks from this period being the 15th century Provand’s Lordship and 13th century St. Mungo’s Cathedral. The vast majority of the city as seen today dates from the 19th century. As a result, Glasgow has an impressive heritage of Victorian architecture: the Glasgow City Chambers; the main building of the University of Glasgow, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott; and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, designed by Sir John W. Simpson are notable examples.

Glasgow has many live music venues, pubs, clubs. Some of the city’s more well-known venues include the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the SECC, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (where Oasis were spotted and signed by Glaswegian record mogul Alan McGee), the Queen Margaret Union (who have Kurt Cobain’s footprint locked in a safe) and the Barrowland, a ballroom converted into a live music venue. More recent mid-sized venues include ABC and the O2 Academy, which play host to a similar range of acts. There are also a large number of smaller venues and bars which host many local and touring musicians, including Stereo, 13th Note and Nice N Sleazy. In 2010, Glasgow was named the UK’s fourth ‘most musical’ city by PRS for Music. In recent years, the success of bands such as Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Biffy Clyro, Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, Snow Patrol, Travis and Primal Scream has significantly boosted the profile of the Glasgow music scene, prompting Time Magazine to liken Glasgow to Detroit during its 1960s Motown heyday. More recent successes include The Fratellis and Glasvegas. The city of Glasgow was appointed a UNESCO City of Music on 20 August 2008 as part of the Creative Cities Network.

Read more on Glasgow City Council, Visit Scotland – Glasgow, PeopleMakeGlasgow.com, Wikitravel Glasgow and Wikipedia Glasgow. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organisations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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