Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom

Newcastle is so linked to its lifesource, the River Tyne, that its proper name is 'Newcastle upon Tyne.' Originally the site of a small fort and bridge on Hadrian's Wall, the town grew in importance when the Normans built a new castle (hence the name) here in 1080 to serve as a base for their lengthy battles with the Scots to the North. When coal became a universally useful commodity in the 13th century, the seaport grew up around the town to expedite shipment of the valuable product. No less than six major bridges overshadow the waterfront, including the oldest, the High Level, built in 1849 by Robert Stephenson. The unusual Swing Bridge was designed by Lord Armstrong and dates back to 1876. Not surprisingly, shipbuilding and industry remain the economic base for the region.