Aberdeen is an ancient city, with records dating back to 1179, and is the commercial centre of the North East of Scotland. In past times it flourished with native industries of farming, granite quarrying, fishing and trade with the continent especially the Baltic. In recent times, with the coming of, North Sea oil it has become the European Capital of the Oil Industry.
With an official population estimate of 217,000 in the city and a further 245,000 (2010) in the hinterland it is self-sufficient being 100 miles from Inverness and 80 miles from Dundee, the nearest big cities. There is a wide range of employment in services and light industries and unemployment stands at 2.2% (2010).
In January 2011 Aberdeen was named one of five cities which could help the UK climb its way out of the recession because of its high levels of employment, abundance of skilled workers, and an increase in average weekly earnings. Aberdeen City and Shire was dubbed in the report by officials as the "one to watch" with its rapid growing economy, size and oil reserves.
Known as the Granite City, due to the locally quarried granite construction of the Victorian properties, there is also a growing number of modern estates at the periphery. The countryside is very close and commuting from a wide range of small villages is possible within 30-40 minutes.
The city centre is active and had many excellent shopping opportunities from large tasteful shopping malls to small specialist shops. Travelling and parking in the centre can be difficult at times due to heavy traffic but a network of Park and Ride buses are being developed to give access from the edge of the town. Smaller shopping centres are located in a number of areas such as Rosemount, Mannofield, Seafield, Cults, Kittybrewster, Bridge of Dee, Mastrick and Woodside.
There is an excellent Hospital and Primary care medical network and a wide range of schools from private Robert Gordons College, Albyn School and St Margarets School for Girls, to State Schools and the International School of Aberdeen that offers the International Baccalaureate. There are two Universities The Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen University offering a wide range of vocational and academic courses.
Sport and leisure are well catered for with a notable football team Aberdeen Football Club who’s fortunes fluctuate much to the frustration of the fans who extend worldwide. There are many public and private sports facilities, including beautiful public parks and at least 54 Golf courses throughout the North East – most recently and famously the Trump International Golf Links at Balmedie. In the countryside there are opportunities for hill walking, riding, gliding, sailing and even surfing if you have a good wet suit.
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
There is an excellent theatre, His Majesty's Theatre, hosting a mixture of opera, ballet, plays and musicals as well as an excellent Concert hall and many smaller performance venues. There are several cinemas ranging from large multiplex venues to small specialist cinemas. There is also the Aberdeen Exhibition Centre , which hosts the International Oil Exhibition every two years and a range of interesting museums, The Maritime Museum and The Gordon Highlanders Museum as well as the Main Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum.
There are flourishing local papers including The Press & Journal and Evening Express as well as local Independent and BBC Television Stations and Local radio stations and local community news papers and Internet groups The city is serviced by an excellent airport Aberdeen Airport Dyce and a well developed harbour which deals equally well with fishing boats, supply boats, ferries and Royal yachts.
There is a flourishing selection of towns and small villages in the area from the small fishing village Pennan where 'Local Hero' was filmed and Ballater and Braemar near Balmoral where the Queen has her holiday home to Stonehaven on the coast near Dunottar Castle where Hamlet was filmed.
There is a plentiful supply of housing available for rent varying from city centre accommodation for students, professionals and executives, to smaller houses and rural cottages up to large penthouse apartments and detached family homes or even country estate houses.
Hopefully Aberdeen can provide you with an exciting and interesting place to stay and you will enjoy a warm North East welcome.