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The third-largest city in Scotland, Aberdeen, commonly known as the Granite City, lies 120 miles northeast of Edinburgh, on the banks of the rivers Dee and Don smack in the middle of the northeast coast.
Aberdeen divides into five main areas. The city centre, features the opulent Marischal College, the colonnaded Art Gallery, and homes that predate Aberdeen's nineteenth-century town planning and have been preserved as museums. Union Street continues west to the comparatively cosmopolitan West End, where much of the nightlife can be found. To the south, the harbour still heaves with boats serving the fishing and oil industries, while north of the centre lies Old Aberdeen, a village neighbourhood presided over by King's College and St Machar's Cathedral. The long sandy beach with its esplanade development, marks Aberdeen's eastern border.
Kirkwall is the largest town and capital of the Orkney Islands. The town is first mentioned in the Orkneyinga saga in the year 1046. Founded by Earl Rognvald Brusason, the City and Royal Burgh of Kirkwall is the capital and administrative centre of Orkney. The name comes from the Old Norse, 'Kirkjuvagar' meaning 'church-bay' and refers to a much older church than the present day Cathedral. The original town is one of the best preserved examples of an ancient Norse town. Kirkwall's geography takes a little working out, but is in reality pretty straightforward. Harbour Street runs east to west along the waterfront, with the port facilities extending to its north. It is connected to the south by the medieval dog-leg pattern of Bridge Street and Albert Street to Kirkwall's other main point of focus, Broad Street. This in turn is fronted by St Magnus Cathedral, the Tourist Information Centre, the Town Hall, and the Orkney Museum.