Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and third largest in the United Kingdom. Historically part of Lanarkshire, it is now one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. It is situated on the River Clyde in the country's West Central Lowlands. Inhabitants of the city are referred to as Glaswegians.
Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become the largest seaport in Britain. Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, it became a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century. From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Great Britain's main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies.
With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the population and economy of Glasgow and the surrounding region expanded rapidly to become one of the world's pre-eminent centres of chemicals, textiles and engineering; most notably in the shipbuilding and marine engineering industry, which produced many innovative and famous vessels. Glasgow was the "Second City of the British Empire" for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period, although many cities argue the title was theirs. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Glasgow grew in population, reaching a peak of 1,128,473 in 1939. Comprehensive urban renewal projects in the 1960s, resulting in large-scale relocation of people to new towns and peripheral suburbs, followed by successive boundary changes, reduced the population of the City of Glasgow council area to 599,650 with 1,209,143 people living in the Greater Glasgow urban area. The entire region surrounding the conurbation covers about 2.3 million people, 41% of Scotland's population. At the 2011 census, Glasgow had a population density of 8,790/sq mi (3,390/km2), the highest of any Scottish city.
Glasgow hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games and is also well known in the sporting world for the football rivalry of the Old Firm between Celtic and Rangers. Glasgow is also known for Glasgow patter, a distinct dialect that is noted for being difficult to understand by those from outside the city.
Glasgow is located on the banks of the River Clyde, in West Central Scotland. Its second most important river is the Kelvin whose name was used in creating the title of Baron Kelvin and thereby ended up as the SI unit of temperature. On older maps Glasgow is shown within the area of the pre-1975 county of Lanarkshire; from 1975 to 1996 it appears within Strathclyde Region; more recent maps will generally show Glasgow as one of 32 Council Areas in Scotland.
Despite its northerly latitude, similar to that of Moscow, Glasgow's climate is classified as oceanic (Köppen Cfb). Data is available online for 3 official weather stations in the Glasgow area: Paisley, Abbotsinch and Bishopton. All are located to the West of the city centre. Owing to its westerly position and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Glasgow is one of Scotland's milder areas. Temperatures are usually higher than most places of equal latitude away from the UK, due to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream. However, this results in less distinct seasons as compared to much of Western Europe. At Paisley, the annual precipitation averages 1,245 millimetres (49.0 in) Panorama over Glasgow's South Side and West End from Queen's Park, looking North West. Left of centre can be seen the Clyde Arc bridge at Finnieston, while beyond is the tower of the University of Glasgow, with the Campsie Fells in the distance on the right.
Winters are cool and overcast, with a January mean of 5.0 °C (41.0 °F), though lows sometimes fall below freezing. Since 2000 Glasgow has experienced few very cold, snowy and harsh winters where temperatures have fallen much below freezing. The most extreme instances have however seen temperatures around −12 °C (10 °F) in the area. Snowfall accumulation is infrequent and short-lived. The spring months (March to May) are usually mild and often quite pleasant. Many of Glasgow's trees and plants begin to flower at this time of the year and parks and gardens are filled with spring colours.
During the summer months (June to August) the weather can vary considerably from day to day ranging from relatively cool and wet to quite warm with the odd sunny day. Long dry spells of warm weather are generally very scarce. Overcast and humid conditions without rain are frequent. Generally the weather pattern is quite unsettled and erratic during these months, with only occasional heatwaves. The warmest month is usually July, with average highs above 20 °C (68 °F). Summer days can occasionally reach up to 27 °C (81 °F), and very rarely exceed 30 °C (86 °F). Autumns are generally cool to mild with increasing precipitation. During early autumn there can be some settled periods of weather and it can feel pleasant with mild temperatures and some sunny days.
The city has many amenities for a wide range of cultural activities, from curling to opera and ballet and from football to art appreciation; it also has a large selection of museums that include those devoted to transport, religion, and modern art. Many of the city's cultural sites were celebrated in 1990 when Glasgow was designated European City of Culture.
The city's principal municipal library, the Mitchell Library, has grown into one of the largest public reference libraries in Europe, currently housing some 1.3 million books, an extensive collection of newspapers and thousands of photographs and maps. Of academic libraries, Glasgow University Library started in the 15th century and is one of the oldest and largest libraries in Europe, with unique and distinctive collections of international status.
Most of Scotland's national arts organisations are based in Glasgow, including Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Youth Theatre.
Glasgow has its own "Poet Laureate", a post created in 1999 for Edwin Morgan and occupied by Liz Lochhead from 2005 until 2011, when she stood down to take up the position of Scots Makar. Jim Carruth was appointed to the position of Poet Laureate for Glasgow in 2014 as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy.
In 2013, PETA declared Glasgow to be the most vegan-friendly city in the UK.
The city has three international airports within 45 minutes travel of the city centre, as well as a centrally-located seaplane terminal. Two are dedicated to Glasgow while the third is Edinburgh International which, as it is situated on the west side of Edinburgh, is relatively close to Glasgow. These airports are Glasgow Airport (GLA) (8 miles (10 km) west of the city centre) in Renfrewshire, Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK) (30 miles (50 km) south west) in Ayrshire, Edinburgh Airport (EDI), (34 miles (50 km) east) in Edinburgh, and Glasgow Seaplane Terminal, by the Glasgow Science Centre on the River Clyde. There are also several smaller, domestic and private airports around the city. There is a heliport, Glasgow City Heliport located at Stobcross Quay on the banks of the Clyde.
All of the international airports are easily accessibly by public transport, with GLA and EDI directly linked by a bus routes from the main bus station, and a direct rail connection to PIK from Glasgow Central Station. A plan to provide a direct rail link to Glasgow International was dropped with the cancelling of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link in 2009, though the Scottish Government is actively, as of 2014, considering alternative rail-based surface-access possibilities.