Aberdeen, is Scotland‘s third most populous city, one of Scotland’s 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom’s 37th most populous built-up-area with an official population estimate of 220,420.
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, which can sparkle like silver due to its high mica content. 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. The area around Aberdeen has been settled since at least 8,000 years ago, when prehistoric villages lay around the mouths of the rivers Dee and Don. The city has a long, sandy coastline. Aberdeen received Royal Burgh status from David I of Scotland (1124–53), transforming the city economically.
The city’s two universities, the University of Aberdeen, founded in 1495, and 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 and the seaport is the largest in the north-east of Scotland.
In 2012, Mercer named Aberdeen the 56th most liveable city in the World, as well as the fourth most liveable city in Britain. In 2012, HSBC named Aberdeen as a leading business hub and one of eight ‘super cities’ spearheading the UK’s economy, marking it as the only city in Scotland to receive this accolade.
Aberdeen has won the Britain in Bloom competition a record-breaking ten times, 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 is home to a number of events and festivals including Aberdeen Jazz Festival Rootin’ Aboot (a folk and roots music event), Triptych, the University of Aberdeen‘s literature festival Wordand DanceLive, Scotland’s only Festival of contemporary dance, which is produced by the city’s Citymoves dance organisation.
The Aberdeen Student Show, performed annually without interruption since 1921, under the auspices of the Aberdeen Students’ Charities Campaign, is the longest-running of its kind in the United Kingdom. It is written, produced and performed by students and graduates of Aberdeen’s universities and higher education institutions. Since 1929—other than on a handful of occasions, it has been staged at His Majesty’s Theatre. The Student Show traditionally combines comedy and music, inspired by the North-East’s Doric dialect and humour.
National festivals which visited Aberdeen in 2012 included the British Science Festival in September, hosted by the University of Aberdeen but with events also taking place at Robert Gordon University and at other venues across the city. In February 2012 the University of Aberdeen also hosted the Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival, the longest running folk festival in the United Kingdom.