Aberdeen, often referred to as the “Granite City,” is a beautiful coastal city located in the northeast of Scotland. Besides its stunning architecture and charming streets, Aberdeen is home to an impressive array of monuments that reflect the city’s rich history and cultural significance. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply interested in exploring the city’s heritage, here is a list of the best monuments to visit in Aberdeen.
Dunnottar Castle, situated on a dramatic cliff top overlooking the North Sea, is one of Scotland’s most captivating and iconic castles. Steeped in history and perched atop rugged cliffs, this medieval fortress offers visitors breathtaking views and a glimpse into the past. The castle has witnessed many historic events, including the escape of the Scottish Crown Jewels from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army in the 17th century. Exploring the ruins of Dunnottar Castle allows you to wander through its ancient chambers, climb its ancient staircases, and imagine the lives of those who once inhabited this legendary structure.
Marischal College, recognized as the second-largest granite building in the world, is another must-see monument in Aberdeen. The building’s impressive architecture showcases a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles, making it a striking landmark within the city. Originally founded in the 16th century, Marischal College has long been home to the University of Aberdeen, contributing to its historical and educational significance. Even if you can’t go inside, the exterior itself is a sight to behold. Take a moment to admire the intricate details of the facade, featuring stunning sculptures and elaborate reliefs that depict various figures and scenes from Aberdeen’s history.
The Mercat Cross
The Mercat Cross, located in the heart of Aberdeen’s historic Castlegate, is a symbol of the city’s medieval market rights and privileges. Historically, this market cross marked the spot where merchants gathered to trade goods and exchange news. The current stone structure, built in 1686, replaces previous crosses that stood on the same spot since the 14th century. The Mercat Cross has become an integral part of the city’s identity, often serving as a meeting point for locals and visitors alike. It is also a popular site for traditional ceremonies and festivals that celebrate Aberdeen’s rich history and culture.
The Gordon Highlanders Museum
The Gordon Highlanders Museum offers a unique opportunity to delve into Aberdeen’s military history. Housed in the former home of the Highlanders Regiment, this museum showcases a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia. The museum tells the story of the Gordon Highlanders, a renowned Scottish infantry regiment, and their contributions to various conflicts over the past two centuries. Visitors can explore the exhibits highlighting the regiment’s proud history, including its involvement in the Napoleonic Wars, both World Wars, and numerous peacekeeping missions. The museum offers an immersive experience that honors and pays tribute to the brave men and women who served with the Gordon Highlanders.
The Castlegate area, located in the heart of Aberdeen, is not only home to the Mercat Cross but also a gateway to significant historical sites such as the Aberdeen Maritime Museum and Provost Ross’s House. The area is named after the original castlegate, a castle that once stood here but was demolished in the 18th century. The Castlegate is a vibrant and bustling part of the city, boasting a wide range of shops, restaurants, and cafes. Taking a leisurely stroll through this area will offer you a chance to appreciate the city’s charming architecture and immerse yourself in its vibrant atmosphere.
Aberdeen is a city steeped in history, and its monuments offer a glimpse into the city’s rich and fascinating past. Dunnottar Castle, Marischal College, The Mercat Cross, The Gordon Highlanders Museum, and the Castlegate are just some of the many impressive monuments that Aberdeen has to offer. Exploring these sites will not only deepen your understanding of the city’s heritage but also leave you enchanted by their beauty and historical significance. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architectural admirer, or simply looking for an escape into the past, visiting these monuments in Aberdeen is an experience you won’t soon forget.