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Nothern irland Belfast
Belfast is the capital and the largest city of Northern Ireland. Most of Belfast is in Count Antrim, but parts of East and South Belfast are in County Down. It is on the flood plain of the River Lagan.
By population it is the 4-th largest city in the United Kingdom and 2 largest on the island of Ireland. It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly. The city of Belfast has a population of 579,276 and lies at the heart of the Belfast urban area. Belfast was granted city status in 1888.
Today, Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as the arts, higher education and business and is the economic engine of Northern Ireland. Belfast city centre has undergone considerable expansion and regeneration in recent years, notably aroundVictoria Square. Belfast is served by two airports: George Best Belfast City Airport in the city, and Belfast International Airport 15 miles west of the city. Belfast is also a major port, with commercial and industrial docks dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline.
The architectural style of Belfast's buildings range from Edwardian, like the City Hall, to modern, like Waterfront Hall. Many of the city'sVictorian landmarks, including the main Lanyon Building at Queen's University Belfast and the Linenhall Library, were designed by Sir Charles Lanyon.
The City Hall was finished in 1906 and was built to reflect Belfast's city status, granted by Queen Victoria in 1888. The Edwardian architectural style of Belfast City Hall influenced the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, India.The dome is 173 ft high and figures above the door state "Hibernia encouraging and promoting the Commerce and Arts of the City" .
Among the city's grandest buildings are two former banks: Ulster Bank in Waring Street and Northern Bank, in nearby Donegall Street. The Royal Courts of Justice in Chichester Street are home to Northern Ireland's Supreme Court. Many of Belfast's oldest buildings are found in the Cathedral Quarter area, which is currently undergoing redevelopment as the city's main cultural and tourist area.
Windsor House, 262 ft (80 m) high, has 23 floors and is the second tallest building in Ireland. Work has started on the taller Obel Tower, which already surpasses the height of Windsor House in its unfinished state. In 2007, plans were approved for the Aurora building. At 37 storeys and 358 ft (109 m) high, this will surpass both previous buildings.
The architecture of the Grand Opera House has an oriental theme and was completed in 1895. It was bombed several times during the Troubles but has now been restored to its former glory. The Lyric Theatre, the only full-time producing theatre in the country, is where film star Liam Neeson began his career. The Ulster Hall(1859–1862) was originally designed for grand dances but is now used primarily as a concert and sporting venue.
Parks and gardens Sitting at the mouth of the River Lagan where it becomes a deep and sheltered lough, Belfast is surrounded by mountains that create a micro-climate conducive to horticulture. From the Victorian Botanic Gardens in the heart of the city to the heights of Cave Hill Country Park, the great expanse of Lagan Valley Regional Park to Colin Glen, Belfast contains an abundance of parkland and forest parks.
Parks and Gardens are an integral part of Belfast's heritage, and home to an abundance of local wildlife and popular places for a picnic, a stroll or a jog. Numerous events take place throughout including festivals such as Rose Week and special activities such as bird watching evenings and great beast hunts.
Belfast has over forty public parks. The Forest of Belfast is a partnership between government and local groups, set up in 1992 to manage and conserve the city's parks and open spaces. They have commissioned more than 30 public sculptures since 1993. In 2006, the City Council set aside £8 million to continue this work.The Belfast Naturalists' Field Club was founded in 1863 and is administered by National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland.
With 700,000 visitors in 2005, one of the most popular parks is Botanic Gardens in the Queen's Quarter. Built in the 1830s and designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, Botanic Gardens Palm House is one of the earliest examples of a curvilinear and cast iron glasshouse. Other attractions in the park include the Tropical Ravine, a humid jungle glen built in 1889, rose gardens and public events ranging from live opera broadcasts to pop concerts.
Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, to the south of the city centre, attracts thousands of visitors each year to its International Rose Garden. Rose Week in July each year features over 20,000 blooms. It has an area of 128 acres (0.52 km2) of meadows, woodland and gardens and features a Princess Diana Memorial Garden, a Japanese Garden, a walled garden, and the Golden Crown Fountain commissioned in 2002 as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Belfast Zoo is owned by Belfast City Council. The council spends £1.5 million every year on running and promoting the zoo, which is one of the few local government-funded zoos in the UK and Ireland. The Zoo is one of the top visitor attraction in Northern Ireland, receiving more than 295,000 visitors a year. The majority of the animals are in danger in their natural habitat.
The zoo houses more than 1,200 animals of 140 species including Asian Elephants, Barbary Lions, a White Tigers ,three species of penguin, a family of Western Lowland Gorillas, a troop of Common Chimpanzees, a Red Panda and several species of langur. The zoo also carries out important conservation work and takes part in European and international breeding programmes which help to ensure the survival of many species under threat.