Castlegate, Aberdeen

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Aberdeen's Mercat Cross
The Castlegate and Union Street (c.1900)

The Castlegate is a small area of Aberdeen, Scotland, located centrally at the east-end of the city's main thoroughfare Union Street. Generally speaking, locals would consider it to encompas the square at the end of Union Street where the Mercat Cross and the Gallowgate are located.

At the upper end of Castlegate stands The Salvation Army Citadel, an effective castellated mansion, on the site of the medieval Aberdeen Castle. Castlegate was the site of the castle gates until its destruction in 1308, hence the name of the area.

Aberdeen's Mercat Cross was built in 1686 by John Montgomery, a native architect. This open-arched structure, 21 ft (6 m) in diameter and 18 ft (5 m) high, comprises a large hexagonal base from the centre of which rises a shaft with a Corinthian capital, on which is the royal unicorn. The base is highly decorated, including medallions illustrating Scottish monarchs from James I to James VII.

Originally erected opposite the Mercat Cross, a statue of George Gordon, 5th Duke of Gordon, erected in 1844, was relocated to Golden Square in the 1950s.[1]

To the east of Castle Street were the military barracks, which were demolished in 1965 and replaced with two tower blocks.

The Gallowgate which is just off the main square is called so because it is where the cities gallows used to be located. Today a small area of the old granite road pavings remains in the bus lane next to the courts. It is the exact spot where public hangings used to be conducted.

To the west, just off the main square is the Castlegate Well. No longer used, a small bronze statue has been erected over the top by William Lindsay a goldsmith who was in charge of the city's water at the time.


  1. ^ "The Castlegate". The Silver City Vault. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 

Coordinates: 57°08′53″N 2°05′36″W / 57.14804°N 2.09337°W / 57.14804; -2.09337