5 tips for Glasgow

Clyde Arch, Glasgow

Glasgow – the disreputable city. With about 600,000 inhabitants, Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, which is mainly due to its industry.  However, it is precisely this industry that has given the city its reputation as a dirty factory town. After the decline of industry, Glasgow suffered from mass unemployment and other crises for a long time. In some neighborhoods, the life expectancy of “Glaswegians” is still only 53 years today.

Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Glasgow is one of the most fascinating cities in Scotland: it has many stories to tell. Despite many old and run-down buildings, Glasgow also has many new buildings and green spaces that you can use to relax. Moreover, millions have been invested in the renovation of the city and today it has many cultural and especially artistic strongholds.

Tourist highlights are George Square in the city center, where you can see famous Scottish personalities immortalized in statues. The art museum in Kelvingrove Park is one of the most beautiful in the country. There are also numerous shopping arcades and St. Mungo’s Cathedral, which was built around the 14th century, is also worth a visit for tourists.

Tip 1: Georges Square

George Square is Glasgow’s central square, named after King George III and surrounding the City Hall, the City Chambers. Built in 1781, the square is home to numerous statues of famous Scottish heroes and poets, such as Robert Burns, James Watt, Sir Walter Scott and Queen Victoria.

George Square in Glasgow
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The square is considered the center of the city, as every visitor almost automatically encounters George Square upon arrival. In the immediate vicinity are the main Queen Street Station and the stops of airport and sightseeing buses. The tourist information office is also located here and provides tourists with information brochures and necessary tickets for public transport and various sights. The geographical center of Glasgow, however, is Blythswood Square, located about a kilometer to the west.

George Square, located in the Victorian Merchant City center, is a popular meeting place for tourists and Glasgow residents who spend their lunch break here. Various events such as concerts, parades, ceremonies and public meetings are also held here regularly.

Tip 2: Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral, also called St. Mungo’s Cathedral is dedicated to St. Mungo and was built between the 13th and 15th centuries AD and expanded from a small sacred building to the imposing cathedral it is today.

Glasgow Cathedral
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Saint Mungo is said to have built a church here as early as the 6th century. Saint Mungo is considered the founder of the city of Glasgow. In the beautiful crypt under the age, the city and church founder is buried today; once this grave was a much visited pilgrimage destination. Glasgow Cathedral was the seat of the archbishopric until the 17th century. Today, the oldest school in Scotland, belonging to St. Mungos Church, still teaches its students. The former choir school is now called the High School of Scotland and is one of the most famous schools in Scotland.

Inside, the church stands out for its numerous marble columns that separate the nave from the aisles and give the space a great perceived height. Above the large organ, which dates from 1971, is a striking ribbed vault with a four-paned window below. The cathedral is often the festive setting for widely acclaimed church concerts. A visit to Glasgow Cathedral is a must of any Glasgow visit.

Tip 3: The Necropolis

With an area of 15 hectares, Glasgow Necropolis is one of the largest green spaces in the center of Glasgow. Here in the Gothic cemetery there are more than 3,000 tombs and tens of thousands of graves. The municipal cemetery was founded in 1831 and was associated with the transformation of a city park and arboretum. The first person to find his final resting place here in the cemetery was the Jewish jeweler Joseph Levi. Today the cemetery contains many monuments designed by well-known Glasgow people, including artist James Hamilton and architect Charles Mackintosh.

Glasgow Necropolis
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Mackintosh’s Celtic cross, John Henry Alexander’s Baroque tomb, John Knox’s 21-meter-tall monument and the Hindu gargoyles placed atop the Monteath Mausoleum for Archibald Douglas Monteath are just a few of the burial sites. Learn more about the necropolis on a guided tour. Volunteer guides tell you more about the major gravesites, historical figures and architects on a free tour. Combine the cemetery walk with a visit to the beautiful St. Mungo’s Cathedral as well as the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. All of these sites are part of the city’s Heritage Trail, which passes by major historic buildings.

Tip 4: Kelvingrove Art Museum

Every year, over a million people visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, one of the most visited museums outside London. The museum opened in 1901 as part of the Glasgow International Exhibition. From 2003 to 2006, it underwent extensive renovations, including the addition of a restaurant that invites visitors to take a leisurely break and enjoy “afternoon tea.” The museum was built in Spanish Baroque style and red sandstone, which makes it a real eye-catcher.

Kelvingrove Art Museum at Glasgow
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There is also a lot to marvel at inside: in 22 galleries you can experience interesting exhibits from the fields of natural history, art and technology. Highlights include exhibits by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the weapons and armor collection, the natural history collection, and the museum’s own beehive. Visitors can experience all of this while strolling through the imposing entrance hall and galleries with their grand chandeliers, listening to the music of the giant organ that is played daily.

Tip 5: The Lighthouse

One of the major museums that has enjoyed growing popularity in recent years is the Lighthouse. The exhibition house, founded in 1999, is now located in the former Herald Building. The building, which dates back to 1885 and was designed by architect Charles Macintosh, offers an ideal venue for exhibitions with its bright and large rooms. Even the Macintosh Tower, which is part of the building complex, is a small work of art in itself.

The Lighthouse in Glasgow
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Not only does it offer a unique view of downtown Glasgow from its large panoramic windows, but even the climb to the observation tower takes on an artistic touch with its helix-like, curving wooden staircase. On the outside, the tower is decorated with countless ornaments and is made of red brick. From the second observation deck, which can only be reached via a lift, one can enjoy a magnificent view of Glasgow’s southern city. The large function rooms regularly host interesting exhibitions or events, which are very popular with both locals and guests.