Sep 17 2011
In this series I will be highlighting some of the most beautiful cities in the world. This can serve as an inspiration for our reads to go out and explore this beautiful planet.
1. Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city in British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third-largest metropolitan area in the country, and the most populous in Western Canada. The city proper has more than 640,000 people, making it the eighth largest among Canadian cities, and the most densely populated Canadian city of over 25,000 residents.
The settlement of Gastown grew around a logging sawmill established in 1867, enlarging to become the townsite of Granville. With the announcement that the railhead would reach the site, it was renamed "Vancouver" and incorporated as a city in 1886.
Port Metro Vancouver is the new name for the Port of Vancouver, which is now the busiest and largest in Canada, as well as the fourth largest port (by tonnage) in North America.
Vancouver has ranked highly in worldwide "livable city" rankings for more than a decade according to business magazine assessments and it was also acknowledged by Economist Intelligence Unit as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world's most liveable cities for five straight years.
The first European to explore the coastline of present-day Point Grey and parts of Burrard Inlet was José María Narváez of Spain, in 1791, although one author contends that Francis Drake may have visited the area in 1579. The city is named after George Vancouver, who explored the inner harbour of Burrard Inlet in 1792 and gave various places British names.
Vancouver has hosted many international conferences and events, including the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Expo 86, and the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009. The 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics were held in Vancouver and nearby Whistler, a resort community 125 km (78 miles) north of the city.
2. Paris, France
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France.
The city of Paris has an estimated population of 2,211,297 (January 2008), but the Paris metropolitan area has a population of 11,899,544, and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe.
Paris was the largest city in the Western world for about 1,000 years, prior to the 19th century, and the largest in the entire world between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Paris is also ranked among the ten greenest European cities in 2010.
According to the latest survey from Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, Paris is the world's most expensive city to live in.
Paris and the Paris Region, is the second largest city economy in Europe (after London), and with €552.1 billion in produce, it is the sixth largest in the world.
With about 28 million tourists per year (42 in the whole Paris Region), of which 17 million are foreign visitors, Paris is the most visited city in the world.
The city and its region contain 3,800 historical monuments and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
3. Sydney, Australia
Sydney is the largest city in Australia.
The site of the first British colony in Australia, Sydney was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip, commodore of the First Fleet as a penal colony.
The metropolitan area is surrounded by national parks, and the coastal regions feature many bays, rivers, inlets and beaches including the famous Bondi Beach.
The 2006 census reported 4,119,190 residents in the Sydney Statistical Division, of which 3,641,422 lived in Sydney's urban area. Inner Sydney was the most densely populated place in Australia with 4,023 inhabitants per square kilometre.
Sydney has hosted major international sporting events, including the 1938 British Empire Games, the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the final match of the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
4. Florence, Italy
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with c. 370,000 inhabitants (1,500,000 in the metropolitan area).
The city lies on the River Arno; it is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, especially for its art and architecture and, more generally, for its cultural heritage
A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance; it has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages.
The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the world's 72nd most visited in 2009, with 1.685 million visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site UNESCO in 1982.
Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the city is noted for its history, culture, Renaissance art, architecture and monuments.
5. Venice, Italy
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks.
In 2009, there were 270,098 people residing in Venice and 1,600,000 in the surrounding areas.
The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century B.C. The city historically was the capital of the Venetian Republic.
Venice has been known as the "City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", and "City of Canals".
Luigi Barzini described it in The New York Times as "undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man".
Venice has also been described by the Times Online as being one of Europe's most romantic cities.
The city stretches across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy.
The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto
Venice was also a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain and spice trade) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history.
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