Located in the shadow of the North Pennines, Newcastle is known as the coldest and driest city in England. Newcastle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back to the 2nd century AD when Roman Emperor Hadrian built a fort and a bridge spanning the Tyne river. The city was then named "Pons Aelius" in honor of Hadrian, and the remains of Hadrian's wall can still be seen throughout the city today.
Newcastle has seen the birth of several notable personalities, including England's beloved Rowan Atkinson, also known as Mr. Bean, and singer Cheryl Cole. Newcastle is also the site of the world's first covered train station. Inaugurated in 1850 by Queen Victoria,
Throughout its long history, Newcastle has survived its share of strife. During the 1630s, when the plague claimed an untold number of lives all along Europe, Newcastle lost about 47 percent of its population to the disease. In 1854, most of Newcastle was destroyed by a series of fires that claimed 53 lives and left behind hundreds of people injured, but the people of the city have always managed to bounce back from tragedy, and today it is a bustling city that is home to one of the world's best universities: Newcastle University.
Newcastle is also known for being the first city in the world to achieve a wide range of innovations, including the invention of the steam turbine and having the first street to be illuminated by electric lighting. In 1879, Mosley Street became the first public roadway to use incandescent lights. Because of the innovative, celebratory, and artistic spirit of its residents, Newcastle is considered to be one of the friendliest cities in the United Kingdom.