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The Best of Glasgow Sights

Glasgow Cathedral
The most complete of Scotland’s cathedrals, this is an unusual double church dedicated to Glasgow’s patron saint, St. Mungo. In the lower church is the splendid crypt of St. Mungo, who was originally known as St. Kentigern, but who was nicknamed St. Mungo (meaning “dear one”) by his early followers. The site of the tomb has been revered since the 6th century, when St. Mungo founded a church here.

Burrell Collection
An elegant, ultramodern building of pink-sandstone and stainless steel contains items of all descriptions, from ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts to Chinese ceramics, bronzes, and jade. You’ll also find medieval tapestries, stained-glass windows, Rodin sculptures, and exquisite French impressionist paintings, among other things.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Glasgow takes great pride in buildings by its great homegrown architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who designed, among other buildings here, the Glasgow Herald (now the Lighthouse Centre for Architecture, Design, and the City); Queen Margaret’s Medical College; the Martyr’s Public School; the Hill House; the Willow Tearoom; and Queen’s Cross Church, completed in 1899 and now the headquarters of the Mackintosh Society. Throughout 2006, Mackintosh’s legacy is being celebrated with the Glasgow Makintosh Festival 2006. To take it all in, purchase a ticket at major sites, visitor centers, or online from the Mackintosh Society ( It includes transportation and one-day admission to many sites.

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City Chambers
Dominating the east side of George Square, this exuberant expression of Victorian confidence, built by William Young in Italian Renaissance style, was opened by Queen Victoria (1819–1901) in 1888. Among the interior’s outstanding features are the marble-and-alabaster staircases, the banqueting hall, and Venetian mosaics.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
The stunning red-sandstone edifice is an appropriate home for an art collection—including works by Botticelli, Rembrandt, and Monet—hailed as “one of the greatest civic collections in Europe.” The Glasgow Room houses extraordinary works by local artists. Due to reopen in 2006 after a complete renovation, the museum will have more accessible gallery space, several study centers, a theater, a visitor center, and a restaurant.

Glasgow School of Art
The exterior and interior, structure, and furnishings of this art nouveau building reflect the inventive genius of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who was only 28 years old when he won the competition for its design. Architects and designers from all over the world come to admire it, but because it’s a working school of art, general access is sometimes limited. Guided tours are available.

Hunterian Art Gallery
This Glasgow University gallery houses William Hunter’s collection of paintings together with prints and drawings by Tintoretto, Rembrandt, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Auguste Rodin, as well as a major collection of paintings by James McNeill Whistler. The Hunterian aso contains magnificent reconstructions of rooms by Charlie Rennie Mackintosh, including the principal rooms at 78 Southpark Avenue (the architect’s home) plus the recreation of a room at 78 Derngate, Northampton.

060426_glasgow_willow.jpgThe Willow Tearoom
This compelling space has been restored to its original Charles Rennie Mackintosh art nouveau design, right down to the decorated tables and chairs. The building was designed by Mackintosh in 1903 for Kate Cranston, who ran a chain of tearooms. The tree motifs reflect the street address—sauchie is an old Scots word for willow. 217 Sauciehill Street, City Center. 0141/332-0521.

McClellan Galleries
In an understated Victorian building designed by James Smith, the McClellan hosts temporary exhibitions and is therefore not always open: past shows have showcased 16th- and 17th-century paintings by Dutch and Italian masters, as well as contemporary work by both Scottish and international artists, such as David Hockney and David Mach.

St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art
An outstanding collection of artifacts, including Celtic crosses and statuettes of Hindu gods, reflects the many religious groups that have settled throughout the centuries in Glasgow and the west of Scotland. This rich history is depicted in the stunning Sharing of Faiths Banner, which celebrates the city’s many different faiths.

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