Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom

Aberdeen literally shines. Many of its impressive buildings from the mid-18th Century until the 20th Century were built from locally quarried granite with a high percentage of mica, that reflects light like polished silver. In contrast to many Scottish cities built with softer sandstone, Aberdeen’s corners remain sharp and clean. The venerable city looks proud and prosperous, which it is, since it is also the U.K. hub for North Sea oil production. With two large universities, a large number of prestigious museums and galleries, and 45 quite famous parks and gardens, it is a showplace for Scotland. Of special interest is the Maritime Museum, relating the city’s long history of shipbuilding through the eras of sailing clipper ships and steam.