IT was the year of Sinatra, Pavarotti, and the Queen. Now, three decades on, we look back on the time when Glasgow proved it really was miles better. 

The city fought off competition from eight UK cities - including rivals Edinburgh - to become the first in the country to be named European Capital of Culture in 1990. 

It transformed Glasgow forever, helping to fuel regeneration, bringing Glaswegians closer together, and turning the city into a tourist destination for future generations.Glasgow Times: The Queen during a visit to Glasgow in 1990 The Queen during a visit to Glasgow in 1990

The lasting impact is still being felt today in its vibrant arts scene as the city's culture continues to thrive. Our appetite and ability to stage large scale events, such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games, has never been greater.

Our city continues to be the envy of its rivals, so much so that when Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdam needed a venue for their Edinburgh-based Eurovision film released this year, they had to steal our beloved SSE Hydro and pretend it belonged to the capital. 

READ MORE: Memories of Glasgow's Garden Festival and its Royal opening....

Glasgow claimed the title thanks in no small part to the success of The Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988 and Glasgow's Miles Better Campaign, which kicked off in 1982. Both helped to change the city's violent reputation and showed that people really do make Glasgow. 

Glasgow Times: Our beloved Hydro has become a world famous venue, but it was nicked by Edinburgh for Will Ferrell's Eurovision film Our beloved Hydro has become a world famous venue, but it was nicked by Edinburgh for Will Ferrell's Eurovision film

On March 2, 1990, on the stage of the King’s Theatre, Mayor of Paris Jacques Chirac shook hands with Lord Provost of Glasgow Susan Baird, as the Queen and a 1500-strong audience of local, national and international dignitaries looked on for the official launch. 

The inaugural Glasgow International Jazz Festival and Folk Festival, the Glasgow’s Glasgow exhibition and the Dome of Discovery were just some of the highlights as thousands discovered just what our city can do. 

The year also attracted many international stars - Luciano Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones, Jessye Norman. There were hundreds of community events, including a Kite Festival in Jordanhill, a knit-in in Springburn and the Underground Project, where members of the Glasgow Independent Dance Troupe performed at Ibrox subway station.

The biggest free rock concert ever staged in Scotland was Glasgow’s Big Day, held in June 1990. It featured a diverse mix of acts, from Deacon Blue and Hue and Cry to Wet Wet Wet, Love and Money, Big Country and Sheena Easton. It attracted around 300,000 music fans and it was shown live by Channel 4.

Glasgow Times: Opera star Luciano Pavarotti appeared in the city Opera star Luciano Pavarotti appeared in the city

Glasgow 1990 also marked the launch of Doors Open Day, as it became the first city in Britain to host one.

In total, 8.3 million people participated in the year long cultural celebration, as the city saw a 32 per cent jump in theatre/concert performances than in 1989 and a 40 per cent jump in attendance at theatres, halls, museums and galleries.

READ MORE: Pavarotti, Sinatra and Sheena Easton - memories of Glasgow's year as City of Culture

Nowadays, Glasgow is home to more than 100 cultural organisations and five of Scotland's six internationally renowned national performing artscompanies. Such has been its growth in the three decades since 1990, it was listed as the top cultural and creative centre in the UK in a report from the European Commission last year. 

For Bob Pamer, one of the men behind 1990, the year remains an overwhelming success.

He said: "It was such a powerful example of what we now know as arts-led, or culture-led, regeneration for cities."  

Speaking to The Glasgow Times in 2015, he added: "Glasgow was heralded as a very successful model and I think people are interested in getting behind that story of what happened.

"It's important to bear in mind that Glasgow has been able to build on that success. It wasn't, as has been the case of many Capitals of Culture, a one-off quick fix, or merely a short-lived celebration.

Glasgow Times:

"1990 has had a long and important legacy - not just in terms of physical change in Glasgow but also in terms of increased civic confidence and creativity and ambition.

READ MORE: Glasgow 1990: "it was like managing a volcano, overflowing with the hottest talent and the most incredible excitement"

"If you talk to older people in the arts now, 1990 was a seminal experience for them. For some it was a launching-pad. For others, it was a period when they were able to work internationally.

"It fired people's imaginations as to what Glasgow was capable of developing. You could continue working creatively in a place like Glasgow without having to go down to London."

He added: "There were a number of bold initiatives which enabled Glasgow to achieve this degree of success. Many of the spaces that were used in the Commonwealth Games were spaces that had been developing as creative and cultural spaces.

"More importantly, there was also the continuing spirit of volunteering and the explosion of the creative energy of the people of Glasgow that was also a feature of 1990.

"At the end of the day, leading Glasgow 1990 European Capital of Culture was something like managing a volcano, overflowing with the hottest talent and the most incredible excitement that could be imagined at that time. That creative volcano continues to erupt even now, and perhaps evermore."

What are your memories of Glasgow 1990? Share them with us in the comments or by emailing and we will feature them.