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Richmond Travel Guide, Virginia

The year 1737 meant the beginning for Richmond. Located on the James River, Richmond was at first a small settlement with little importance until it was decided to move the capital form Williamsburg to Richmond for protection reasons that later proved to be of little use as the city had to suffer many raids. Still the city flourished and it became the capital of the Confederacy at the beginning of the war. Nonetheless after the war, Richmond began a period of decline and ruin just to come back to life a little later due to its strong point, the economy.

The face of the city has changed during the years and today Richmond is a remarkably elegant city, a beautiful blend of old buildings and new modern towers front onto a riverside park. An example of recent urban revitalization is a 1.25-mile stretch of waterfront into Canal Walk. And as far as economy is concerned, it still remained a strong point. Richmond is an important banking center and its major industry is tobacco that began in 1870s when machine-rolled cigarettes were invented here.

Nowadays Marlboro, the well known brand, has a huge manufacturing plant south of downtown.

The city’s downtown centers on Broad Street and the centre of some important museums, historic sites and well-preserved antebellum homes is the Court End District. The Virginia State Capitol is another top point of the city being the seat of the state government hosting the statue of George Washington, busts of Jefferson and other presidents that were born in Virginia. From its portico you can get the best view of the city, the construction itself being visible wherever you are in the city.

The rich historic heritage of the city is proven by the museums it hosts. And there are quite a few. Among them is the Civil War Visitor Center that gives an interesting insight into the Confederate period with slide show about Civil War history and three floors of exhibits. The main center of the Confederate war machine was the Tredegar Iron Works, another favorite destination of history lovers and there’s even a museum called the Museum of the Confederacy that presents insights of the Civil War including the ”From Sunup to Sunup" exhibition that presents the reality of slavery. Not far is Jefferson Davis’ house dating 1860s and now called White House of the Confederacy. What’s interesting to visit here is the exhibition on Jefferson’s personal belongings.

In the chain of museums the Valentine Museum rises as a neoclassical monolith comprising the Wickham House. On display you can find furniture and pre-Civil War clothing as tracing the lives of working-class and black Americans. Covering similar topics is the Maggie L. Walker House focusing on the woman who founded the first bank owned by a black woman in the US. An interesting gallery of the civil rights movement is to be found at the Black History Museum. With so many museums on black history no wonder there is a live African-American community in the city in the Jackson Ward neighborhood, a neighborhood that was and still is the center of this community that was the largest in US even before the Civil War.

With all these attraction on offer it would be a good idea to take a Richmond City pass that gives access to any five of nineteen attractions around town and is valid for a month, that is if you consider staying more than one day in the city.

After a rich day in visiting museums you can relax at one of the city’s nightlife entertainment hot spots that are concentrated around the riverside Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom areas. Goodfellas is recommended to rock music fans and Have a Nice Day Café to the ones that fancy retro style. There are plenty others to choose from, just pick one and party the night away!

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