Old Aberdeen, Aberdeen
Just over a mile North of the city centre is the district called Old Aberdeen. He name is misleading – although Old Aberdeen is certainly old, the area around Castlegate is older still. This part of the City was originally called Aulton, from the Gaelic for “Village by the pool”, and this was anglicised in the 17th century to Old Town.
It was here the Bishop Elphinstone established King’s College, Aberdeen’s first university, in 1495. The 16th century King’s College Chapel is easily recognised by its crown spire; the interior is largely unchanged since it was first built, with impressive stained glass windows and choir stalls. The nearby King’s College Visitor Centre houses a multimedia display on the university’s history and a pleasant a coffee shop.
The 15th century St Machar’s Cathedral, with its massive twin towers, is a rare example of a fortified Cathedral. According to legend, St Machir was ordered to establish a church where the river takes the shape of a Bishop’s crook, which it does just here. The Cathedral is best known for its impressive heraldic ceiling, dating from 1520 which has 48 shields of Kings, Nobles, Archbishops, and Bishops. Sunday services are held at 11am and 6pm.
Old Aberdeen is a real hidden gem that is worth a visit on your tours of Scotland.