Glasgow, set on both banks of the River Clyde on Scotlands west coast, is the country's biggest city. It is also a major tourist destination, possessing some of the finest architecture in Britain and hosting a variety of cultural events and attractions.
Glasgow has been described as the finest surviving example of a great Victorian city. Of particular interest is George Square which is lined by several buildings constructed in the Italian Renaissance style, including the City Chambers (opened by Queen Victoria in 1888) and the Merchants' House. Relatively few buildings pre-date the 18th century. The most prominent of these are Glasgow Cathedral, and Provand's Lordship, which is the city's oldest house (c. 1471) and is now a museum. The cathedral, situated on high ground to the east of the city and dating in parts from the 12th century, is an outstanding example of Gothic architecture. The city has numerous parks and ornamental open spaces, including the Botanic Gardens (which has a collection of orchids and tropical plants) and a zoological gardens.
Glasgow grew around a church built in the mid-6th century by St Kentigern, who converted the Scots to Christianity. However the commercial growth of the community dates from the union of Scotland and England in 1707 and the opening up of trade in the 18th century with the Americas, when Glasgow became a major port and shipbuilder.
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