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The City of Discovery
Dundee was historically famous for three things: Jam, Jute and Journalism. Whilst the first two remain a mere memory and the third is now only represented by D.C. Thomson, there is much more to this city now, which will spark interest for the visitor.
Once you have entered the City, you will notice that whilst the great industrial days are now gone, the City still celebrates its bygone era. No visitor to the city can leave without hearing the term "3 Js" used or without visiting or seeing evidence of this former glory. The association with jute is all around, the mighty chimney "stacks" tower over you, serving as a very clear reminder of the heavy industry which was widespread in the city. You can visit one of these former mills - the Verdant Works. Or you can just marvel at the remaining architecture which clearly shows the former mill sites.
The jam reference started when James Keiller (a Dundee grocer) bought a cargo of Seville oranges very cheaply from a Spanish ship sheltering from a storm in Dundee harbour. However they were so bitter that he couldn't sell them and his wife, Janet, very cleverly made them into a jam rather than waste them. International fame and fortune for her family and descendants followed, who still make it today.
The final "J" is that of journalism. The City is home to a great tradition of journalism and two of its most famous "residents" - Desperate Dan and Denis the Menace - were created for Dundee-based DC Thomson's comics and papers. D.C. Thomson is still in business and you can still buy their newspapers such as the Dundee Courier, the Sunday Post and the Weekly News all around the world.
This Victorian industrial boom not only created a rich industrial heritage but left the city's public art collections and museums generously endowed with gifts from wealthy citizens. Again there are relics of this today and if you visit one of the many museums and galleries around the City you will find a wealth of interesting and historical exhibits.
One of the most famous museums is in fact an old sailing ship. The RRS Discovery was built in Dundee around 1900 and its claim to fame was when it took Captain Scott on his Antarctic expedition. The ship has now returned to where it started its journey and after restoration, it is now open to the public for viewing. The ship and its history is well documented on its quite magnificent official website but the sensation of actually standing on the ship is quite magical.
This history apart, the modern Dundee has much to be proud of - a recent quality of life survey among UK cities ranked Dundee head and shoulders above many of the rest, despite some unfair criticism and "jokes" from some of Scotland's comedians. Its clean air renowned to be low in pollution, "sunshine hours" and drier climate provides quite literally a breath of fresh air for visitors.
The City centre it could be argued is a shopper's paradise, where major department stores co-exist with specialist shops tucked away in side streets. You will be seduced by the tempting aromas emanating from some of the UK's finest bakers and if you step inside you can sample delicious bridies, speciality pies, tempting butteries and the famous "Dundee Cake". The City also has a major student population and because of this if you are looking for nightlife you will be well catered for with a lively pub and club scene.
If "clubbing" is not really your thing then you also have choices that any modern city will provide you with. There is "The Rep" theatre and other smaller theatres producing an extensive programme of high calibre events. The newest addition to this cultural side is the Contemporary Arts Centre, which opened in 1999.
Sport is also a major contributor to entertainment in the City. Whilst the football teams may not be as well known as say Glasgow Rangers or Celtic, the rivalry (although relatively friendly) is almost as bitter. If you can, soak up the atmosphere in a local derby game. Other sports are well catered for with a large municipal sports centre and a plethora of local golf course of a good standard.
Taking everything into consideration Dundee is certainly a city worth discovering.