Since the 18th century Glasgow has played an important role in the history of shipbuilding, but in the last thirty years it has experienced a shift towards the service industry, which has consolidated it as a prime city for tourism. The improvements to the city (it now boasts an amazing number of theaters, art galleries and museums) earned it the title of UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999. :
The influence of the famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh is evident all over Glasgow. On Renfrew Street we can visit the Glasgow School of Art, and the School of Fine Arts with its important collection of furniture and designs, and impressive library. In Sauchiehall Street is the Willow Tea Room, renovated according to the design of Mackintosh. The Lighthouse, near Princes Square, is a beautiful building of the same architect that was the seat of the Glasgow newspaper Herald, it currently houses the Center of Mackintosh Interpretation. From its tower wonderful views of Glasgow can be enjoyed. The prestigious Museum of Contemporary Art in its beautiful neoclassical building is located in Exchange Square. And nearby in George Square, you can admire some of the most beautiful Victorian architecture in the United Kingdom, from the magnificent City Chambers to the elegant Merchants House. Take a walk through Merchant Square, winding among its art galleries, bars and restaurants, and ahead sits the imposing medieval-style Glasgow Cathedral displaying magnificent stained glass windows. In the same area exists the oldest building remaining from the medieval city, Provand s Lordship, and Queens Cross Church in which, once again, Mackintosh mixes Gothic style with that of Japanese art and other Eastern influences.
Without a doubt, many worthwhile sites are found outside central Glasgow the Science Center; Glasgow Tower; the Clyde Auditorium (by the magnificent architect Sir Norman Foster); the Scottish Opera; the Peoples Palace (that explains the society of Glasgow from the 12th century to the present time); the Mackintosh House, a faithful reproduction of the home of the renowned architect and his wife; and many more.