Glasgow, United Kingdom 2020

Glasgow is a place with an ancient history and a unique culture. The people of Glasgow, as its citizens are called, are known for their distinctive accent and dialect. The name Glasgow comes from Brittonic or Brythonic, an ancient Celtic language, and means green hollow or glen, believed to refer to a ravine near Glasgow Cathedral. Others believe it was derived from the ancient Gaelic word Glas Caomh, meaning a “Dear Green Place” – a nickname that some still use to refer to the city. In modern Celtic, the name of the city is Glaschu. Historically an industrial city, art and culture lovers have plenty to explore in Glasgow, home to Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and the National Theater of Scotland. Glasgow is close to the stories of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, making it a popular hub for nature lovers.

Geography and Climate of Glasgow

A wide view of a street, buildings and rooftops in Glasgow city centre, Scotland, UK.

Glasgow is a port on the River Clyde about 20 miles from its mouth in the North Atlantic, in the region known as the Western Lowlands. It lies approximately 45-72 km west of Edinburgh. The city districts stretch along most of the lower Clyde Valley, and most government and commercial sectors are on the north side of the river. Prior to 1975, Glasgow was part of the former county of Lanarkshire. From 1975 to 1996 it became part of the Strathclyde region. Since 1997 Glasgow has been named a Council Area, one of 32 in Scotland.

Due to its proximity to the North Atlantic, Glasgow experiences an oceanic climate according to the Köppen climate classification. Winters are generally cool, with cloudy skies and average daytime temperatures of around 7.2°C from December to February. Extreme cold and heavy snowfall are rare. Summers are relatively cool, with conditions that can be quite variable. Daytime highs range from 18.3°C to just under 19.4°C from June to August. Humidity and rain are frequent, but heat events are rare. Spring is mild and the unsettled weather of summer often settles into a more stable fall. Rain is frequent throughout the year, with an average of 170 rainy days per year.

Glasgow’s history

Glasgow Necropolis, Scotland, UK
Glasgow Necropolis, Scotland, UK. Editorial credit: Ion Mes /

Glasgow was a natural place of colonization. Excavations have unearthed evidence of a prehistoric settlement at the current site of the city. The Romans reached the area in the 2nd century AD, building what is known as the Antonine Wall in 154 AD. Today parts of it, along with other Roman artifacts, are available at the Hunterian Museum. Glasgow is believed to have become a religious center after Saint Mungo, also known as St. Kentigern, founded a cathedral in 540. Archaeological excavations in the area have confirmed aspects of the presence of a religious community in the 6th century. Glasgow Cathedral, which opened in 1197 on the same site, is dedicated to Saint Mungo. Glasgow became a royal burgh in 1450. The University of Glasgow was established in 1451 and became a driving force in the academic and intellectual life of the city. The diocese was elevated to the status of Archdiocese of Glasgow in 1492. When Scottish and English royalty united in 1603, it launched centuries of growth as Glasgow became a major port in Britain’s transatlantic trade with the West Indies and North America in rum. , sugar and tobacco. Glasgow was ripe for the onset of the Industrial Revolution, attracting people from surrounding areas and beyond. From the 20th to the 21st century, Glasgow has evolved into a modern city with a diverse population and economy.

The people of Glasgow

University of Glasgow
A view of the University of Glasgow on a bright summer day.

Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and the UK’s fourth largest. In 1801 the population was estimated at 77,000, which increased to 147,000 in 1821 and 762,000 in 1901. The population peaked in 1925 at around 1,089,000 and remained relatively stable until the 1950s. At this At the time, Glasgow was one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. In the decades that followed, a government effort to expand the urban population to the suburbs resulted in the creation of new communities such as East Kibride and Cumbernauld in the 1960s. downtown. From the 1960s, the population began to decline by about 1% per year until the beginning of the 21st century, when it began a slow increase. The population of Glasgow (council area) is 593,245, according to 2011 census data, with the metropolitan area (Greater Glasgow) at 957,620. The wider Glasgow city region, incorporating outlying areas, has a population of 1.84 million, about a third of all of Scotland.

Economy of Glasgow

Buchanan Street in the city centre, Glasgow, Scotland
Buchanan Street in the city centre, Glasgow, Scotland. Editorial credit: Ion Mes /

Situated between the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands at the mouth of the Clyde, Glasgow has developed into a natural hub for commerce. The colony’s early industries included agriculture, breweries, and fishing. Dried salmon was an early export, with records of it being shipped to mainland Europe in the 1490s. The Acts of Union of 1707 gave Scotland commercial access to all of the British Empire. At one time it was home to more than half of the total British tobacco trade, importing up to £47 million a year at its peak. Glasgow became the largest seaport in Scotland and the tenth largest (measured by tonnage) in Britain. The shipbuilding sector has benefited from its location, alongside the strong presence of the textile, precision marine engineering and chemical industries. The Scott family established the first shipyard in 1711, and industry quickly grew to cluster along the Clyde. As a world center for shipbuilding, the city was known for producing innovative ships, some of which became famous, including the iconic Cutty Sark, launched in 1869, and RMS Queen Mary, launched in 1934. With the largest Scotland’s economy, heavy engineering and manufacturing continues to play a role in the city’s economy in the 21st century, albeit very small. Aerospace technology is a relatively new addition to the industry mix, along with communications and information technology and a major push into biomedical technology and pharmaceuticals. Tourism has become more critical to the city’s fortunes through a concerted effort at the government level.

Attractions in Glasgow

Glasgow Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Glasgow Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

History buffs will simply enjoy strolling through the Old Town, exploring buildings like Glasgow University Cloisters and uniquely atmospheric areas like Glasgow Necropolis, a Victorian graveyard. Glasgow Cathedral is even older, opened in 1197, and the city’s oldest house, known as Provand’s Lordship, was built in 1471.

Main hall of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Main hall of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Editorial credit: SunPanupong /

Streetscapes dating from the 17th and 18th centuries are preserved in Glasgow Cross, and many more feature Victorian and Art Nouveau styles. Glasgow is a city of fascinating galleries and museums to explore, such as the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Gallery of Modern Art and the Riverside Museum. The Hunterian Museum, established in 1807, is located on the campus of the University of Glasgow. Alongside its main cultural institutions, Glasgow has become famous for its street art scene and a vibrant independent music community to be discovered in many pubs and other venues around the city.

From its ancient beginnings and industrial past, modern Glasgow has become a city of diverse culture, education and business, with an increasingly diverse population. Due to its rich and varied past, it is a city with a unique local culture that has endured and flourished into the 21st century. Today, it can be experienced as a vibrant, multi-tiered city where a six-and-a-half-year-old university is at the forefront of biotechnology, and a reverence for history blends with vibrant nightlife and a trendy restaurant scene.

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