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Birmingham Travel Guide, Alabama

Birmingham is Alabama's largest city, having a population of 229,424, according to a 2006 census estimate.  The city was established in 1871, shortly after the Civil War in the United States, to be an industrial enterprise.  Birmingham was named after one of the major industrial cities in England.  During the 20th century, the city was the main industrial center for the southern part of the country.  Birmingham grew at an astonishing rate during the century's turn, earning  the nickname of The Magic City, as well as the Pittsburgh of the South, as the major industries of the city were centered around the production of steel and iron, much like the city of Pittsburgh.

Over the century's course, Birmingham's economy diversified.  Even though the industry of manufacturing continues to have a strong presence, other industries, like medicine, biotechnology, insurance, publishing, and banking have increased in stature.  The city has become recognizable as a top city for income growth throughout the southern part of the United States.  Today, Birmingham is ranked one of the more significant business centers for the South, as well as one of the biggest centers for banking in the entire country.  Additionally, the area of the city serves as the headquarters for a Fortune 500 company, called Regions Financial.  There are 5 Fortune 1000 firms that have a headquarters in the city as well.

Transportation wise, the city serves travelers with the Birmingham International Airport, where 3 million passengers pass through the airport each year.  There are over 160 flights operated from the airport every day, offering flights to 37 US cities.  The services are provided by Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, US Airways, Continental Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.

Birmingham has become the entertainment and cultural capital of the state, having several art galleries and being the home of the Birmingham Museum of Art, which is the biggest museum of art in Alabama.  The city is also the home of the major ballet, symphony orchestra, and opera companies, like Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Concert Chorale, Opera Birmingham, Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, Birmingham Ballet, and Alabama Ballet.  The Alabama Theatre is a historic building, hosting performances, concerts and film screenings; the home of the Opera Birmingham and Alabama Symphony Orchestra is at the Alys Stephens Center; and the Birmingham Public Library is a place that presents programs to children, as well as adults.  There are also many more arts and theater places throughout the city that are worth a visit.

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