The city of Glasgow has started to gear up for the 2014 Commonwealth Games which will take place in the city from 23rd July. Elite athletes from 71 nations and territories will meet for 11 days of sporting action in Scotland’s largest and liveliest city. Tickets to the Games are now on sale with the first phase of the ticketing process running until 16th September. Prices start at a very reasonable £15, with half price tickets for under-16s and over-60s. A total of 17 sports will be represented at the Games, from the precision of lawn bowls to the combat of wrestling and judo, the high adrenaline of track events, and the grace and beauty of gymnastics.
As in 2012 for the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games will be preceded by a torch relay which will visit every nation and territory of the Commonwealth, from the plains of Africa to the tiny tropical islands of St Lucia and Dominica and to Canada’s snow-capped mountains. The baton will begin its journey on 9th October at BuckinghamPalace when Her Majesty The Queen will place her message to the Commonwealth into the baton. From there, the baton will travel to Glasgow and begin its epic journey. Upon its return to Scotland, the baton will visit communities across the country before arriving at its final destination – the Opening Ceremony.
At the same time as the sporting festival, a cultural celebration called Festival 2014 will be taking place in the city. This ambitious and accessible calendar of cultural events will see the host city burst into life at Games time and will also ensure the Games touch every part of Scotland as part of a year-long countdown.
Visitors to the Games will find many other attractions to amuse them during their stay in Glasgow, often known as the “friendly city”. At the heart of the city is the magnificent Glasgow Cathedral. Built on the site where St Mungo is thought to have been buried, it is the only cathedral on the Scottish mainland to have emerged virtually unscathed from the 1560 Protestant Reformation.
A visit to the new RiversideMuseum should be high on the visitor’s list. Formerly the Transport Museum, the Riverside Museum, architect Zaha Hadid’s first major public building in UK, sits on the site of a former shipyard, and tells the story of Glasgow’s – and Scotland’s – contributions to travel and transport; a history few cities, or countries, can rival. The 19th century Tall Ship moored alongside the building’s undulating zinc waves beautifully illustrates the museum’s tracing of past to present, as do the displays inside, which put skateboards beside steam trains.
The name Charles Rennie Mackintosh is synonymous with Glasgow. Born in the city, Mackintosh was an architect who greatly influenced European design, but only in more recent times has he achieved recognition in his own country. The Glasgow School of Art is the principal monument to his architectural genius, with original fittings, furnishings, decorative works and documents.
Demand for the Commonwealth Games tickets is said to be very high already. One thing is for sure – Glasgow will be buzzing in 2014.