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Glasgow in General
Member Name: proxam
Glasgow in General
Date: 28/06/02, updated on 05/05/13 (221 review reads)
Advantages: Fantastic shopping in a friendly, vibrant city
Disadvantages: Gritty. some areas are best avoided
Scotland's largest city, GLASGOW, has a colourful past and is now a diverse, modern cosmopolitan city, full of contrasts.
Situated in West Central Scotland, it is just an hour away from the Capital, Edinburgh in the East. From stylish restaurants to Continental style pavement cafes, from lively modern clubs to quiet wine bars, theatre, cinema, opera.....Glasgow has it all!
Since being named as European City of Culture during 1990 the city has reinvented itself and is now probably as well known for its art and architecture. During 1999 Glasgow was named as City of Architecture and Design.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery, holds one of the UKs finest art collections and was the only UK stop on the recent world tour of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls.
Glasgow's tourist sights are spread over a wide area. The city centre is built on a grid system on the north side of the River Clyde. The two train stations (Central and Queen St) and the Buchanan St. Bus Station are within a couple of blocks of George Square, the main city square.
Running along a ridge in the northern part of the city, Sauchiehall St. has a pedestrian mall with numerous High St shops at its eastern end, and pubs and restaurants at its western end. Argyle St., running parallel to the river, and pedestrianised Buchanan St, at right angles to Argyle St, are important shopping streets. Merchant City is the commercial district, east of George Square.
A BRIEF HISTORY
The history of the City of Glasgow stretches back to the 4th century AD when the ground on which Glasgow Cathedral now stands was consecrated by St. Ninian.
In 1451 Glasgow University, the second university to be built in Scotland, was fo
unded by Bishop Turnbull and in 1568 Mary Queen of Scots staged her final bid for power at Langside (near Queen's Park) after her escape from Leven Castle.
Unfortunately, with the exception of the cathedral, virtually nothing of the medieval city remains. The city has always been a victim to progress.
The first great surge in the population of the area occurred in the 1600s with the importation of tobacco, sugar, rum and cotton from the Americas.
The American War of Independence proved a major setback for the city's trading activities, although many merchants, having foreseen the dangers, had already diversified their business interests so that Glasgow continued to flourish.
With the onset of the industrial revolution, the region continued to grow and prosper into the 1800s, excelling in the production of textiles, iron, chemicals, engineering and coal mining. Evidence of this bustling economic prosperity can be seen today in the shape of some stunning Victorian architecture.
Once famous for its shipbuilding and steelmaking industry, producing such famous names as the QE2, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, Britannia and the Cutty Sark to mention a few. Clyde-built ships were world renowned for their quality and ground-breaking technology.
The new industries created a huge demand for labour, and peasants poured in from Ireland and the Highlands to crowd the city's tenements. In the mid-18th century the population had reached 17,500. By the end of that century, it had risen to 100,000. After 20 years, that figure had doubled and, by 1860, it was home to 400,000 people.
The outward facade of prosperity, however, was tempered by the dire working and living conditions for the masses, particularly for women and children. In the second half of the 19th century the city experienced four major cholera outbreaks, and life expectancy was a mere 30 years.
Meanwhile, the textile barons and shipping magn
ates prospered, and Glasgow could justifiably call itself the second city of the empire. Grand Victorian public buildings were constructed, and fortunes were spent amassing the large art collections which now form the basis of the city's superb galleries.
In the first half of the 20th century, Glasgow was the centre of Britain's munitions industry, supplying arms and ships for the two world wars. By this time the population had reached well over a million. After those boom years, however, the heavy industries began to decline and by the early 1970s, the city looked doomed. Glasgow had always been proud of its predominantly working class and industrial nature, but, unlike Edinburgh with its varied service industries, it had few alternatives when recession hit and unemployment spiraled.
By this time, the name Glasgow came to be synonymous with unemployment, economic depression and urban violence. It was known for the bloody confrontations that occurred between rival supporters of the Protestant Rangers and Catholic Celtic football teams, and as the home of the Glasgow Kiss (a particularly unfriendly head butt). Over the years, however, the city has reinvented itself, rediscovering its rich cultural roots and proclaiming a new pride through a well-orchestrated publicity campaign.
Glasgow has the reputation of being one of Europe's most colourful and cultural cities, and rightly so. Renowned for the range and quality of its fine art museums and galleries, it is a city teeming with heritage, culture and a vast array of arts and entertainment to suit all tastes.
ARTS, MUSEUMS and FESTIVALS
The city houses some of the finest arts treasures in the world. No-where is this more obvious than at Glasgow's top attraction, The Burrell Collection which was amassed by wealthy industr
ialist Sir Will
iam Burrell before it was donated to the city.
It's now housed in a prize-winning museum in the Pollok Country Park, 5km (3mi) south of the city centre and includes everything from Chinese porcelain and medieval furniture to paintings by Renoir and Cézanne.
** Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum **
Opened in 1902, this grand Victorian edifice of culture should not be missed, particularly for its excellent collection of Scottish and European art. The impressive central hall is dominated at one end by organ pipes; recitals are an integral part of the museum program. The museum is on the lower floor and mostly concentrates on the natural history of Scotland.
The art gallery upstairs houses the city's art collection of 19th and 20th century works. Scottish painters of landscapes and still lifes well represented and other paintings include works by Rembrandt , Botticelli, Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso.
Located on the edge of Glasgow Green, the People's Palace relates the story of Glasgow from 1175 to the present day.
The rise of the Tobacco Lords, who built fabulous mansions in the City, and the conditions of the poor, forced to live in their Single Ends, are both graphically illustrated.
The museum also features the elegant "Winter Gardens" where visitors can stroll through lush tropical vegetation.
The Transport Museum, has a popular collection of Glasgow Trams, locomotives, an exact reconstruction of a 1930?s Glasgow street, and the city?s new Museum of Football.
Pride of place in St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, is given to Salvador Dalis's masterpiece - Christ of St John of the Cross.
The Hunterian Art Gallery in the city's West End boasts the James McNeill Whistler Collection.
One of Glasgow's most famous sons - designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh - whose intriguing Art Nouveau style is still much admired almost a century aft
er it appeared. If you are in the city centre, Glasgow School of Art or the Willow Tea Room are an excellent examples of his work.
Glasgow is home to many national arts organisations, including Scottish Opera, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish Ballet.
Mayfest is now the UK's second largest arts festival and is complemented by the International Jazz Festival.
The city offers some of the best shopping facilities in the country, second only to London in the UK. From elegant malls to small boutiques, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets. If you are looking for sophisticated top-quality designer names, visit the Princes Square, with 6 floors of exclusive shopping and dining, or the Italian Centre - a conversion of a handsome Merchant City building.
The St Enoch Centre is the largest glass building in Europe with 80 stores and Scotland's largest food court.
At the other end of pedestrianised Buchanan Street is the Buchanan Galleries, another large indoor mall.
By contrast, hundred of traders sell their wares at the huge Barras Market - part flea market, part entertainment and an intrinsic part of the Glasgow shopping experience.
A DEAR GREEN PLACE
The name Glasgow means "dear green place", well named as Glasgow has over 70 parks and open spaces, more than any other city its size. Many of them contain some of the city?s main galleries and attractions, recreational activities, and many fine examples of Victorian sculpture.
Among the many features are:
The exotic Victorian Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens and the Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green .
Victoria Park?s Fossil Grove, a fascinating display of fossilised tree trunks more than 300 million years old.
The newly completed Hous
e for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh almost a century ago, and recently built using his original drawings
The International Rose Garden in Tollcross Park.
Highland cattle and Clydesdale horses in Pollok Country Park and Glasgow Green, and a Riding School in Linn Park.
Some of the most spectacular views of the city are from Queen?s Park.
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This is an excellent site with lots of information and plenty of images.
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