As with much of England, the North East boasts a rich historical heritage. It was the northern frontier of the Roman Empire, a very powerful force in the history of the world. It was also the major force against Scotland during the time of the border struggle. Northumberland's landscape is speckled with ancient castles, which bear testimony to the political and religious struggles of centuries past. Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is Hadrian's Wall. These are important tourist attractions, but are also key to establishing the identity of this English region.
In terms of its economy, the North East was once an important shipbuilding area. However, Tyneside is now emerging as an international art and culture epicentre. In addition, its science community is well respected and it has a booming night life, which lures locals and visitors alike. Other areas in the North East are supported by tourism, farming and the petrochemical industry. Northumberland and County Durham are particularly rural and are, therefore, used extensively for agriculture.