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Aberdeen, Scotland, Europe Cruise

    Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city and one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. It has an official population estimate of 202,370. Nicknames include the Granite 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, whose mica deposits sparkle like silver. The city has a long, sandy coastline. 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 for at least 8000 years, when prehistoric villages lay around the mouths of the rivers Dee and Don. In 1319, Aberdeen received Royal Burgh status from Robert the Bruce, transforming the city economically. The city's two universities, the University of Aberdeen, founded in 1495, and the 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. 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 a relatively small city - much smaller than Glasgow or Edinburgh. It has a harbour and pleasant beach. It has a distinct identity from other Scottish cities, especially the two largest in the Central Belt. It has some of the oldest university buildings in Europe (King's College was founded in 1495), and its citizens were fond of boasting in centuries gone by that Aberdeen had as many universities as all of England. After the discovery of oil in the North Sea, the city expanded greatly and several new suburbs were formed. The city has seen continued growth ever since, and a range of new developments are planned over the next few years. The district of Bridge of Don has become, in just thirty years, one of the largest suburbs in Europe, and is one of many areas of the city which retain the feel of a village in parts. Perhaps the best examples of this are the line of suburbs stretching towards Royal Deeside, including Cults and Peterculter.

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