Parliament Building, Stormont, Belfasthttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parliament_Buildings_Stormont_5.jpg
is the capital and most populous city in Northern Ireland. It is also the second most populous city on the island of Ireland, after Dublin, and the 15th most populous city in the United Kingdom.
Belfast covers 115 sq km (44.4 sq mi) and has a population of 267,500 (2011 estimate) within a metropolitan area of 642,000 people. The area around Belfast has been inhabited for some five thousand years, based on the age of the prehistoric Giant's Ring.
The modern city of Belfast traces its history to the Middle Ages. From a village, it grew to become a town in the 17th century. During that period, the town received an influx of Protestant immigrants from England and Scotland. By the 18th the town has become the main commercial and industrial hub for the northern part of Ireland, its economy based on the linen, rope-making and tobacco industries as well as engineering and shipbuilding.
Belfast City Hallhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:997055128_c8fb27b317_b.jpg
Belfast was a city divided during the sectarian conflicts between its Roman Catholic and Protestant population, making it one of the least-safe travel destination in the United Kingdom. Some 1,500 people became casualties to The Troubles, as the conflict was known, before peace was secured in 2001.
Belfast has since made huge strides to ensure lasting peace, bolstered by commitments from both sides. This can be seen from increased tourist arrivals to the city, which has even been voted as one of the safest in the United Kingdom.
The George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD) is about 5 km from downtown Belfast. It gets flights from the United Kingdom and Ireland. Arriving here, you can take Metro 600 bus to downtown. The fare is £2 one way and £3 return.
The Belfast International Airport (BFS) is a larger, farther-away airport. It is served by Aer Lingus, Continental Airlines, Easyjet and Jet 2, with regular flights from London-Heathrow as well as major cities in Europe. Continental Airlines has a flight service linking it to Newark International Airport in New Jersey (for New York City). Arriving at this airport, you can take the 300 Airport bus to downtown Belfast. The fare is £7 one way, and £10 return.
Victoria Square, Belfasthttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Belfast_%28243%29,_October_2009.JPG
Places of Interest in Belfast
- Albert Memorial Clock Tower
A well-known landmark in Belfast, the clock tower stands facing the river.
- Belfast Botanic Gardens
Gardens with an excellent collection of plants and Victorian garden architecture.
- Belfast City Hall
Landmark civic building erected in 1906. It is sited at Donegall Square, from which the main roads of Belfast radiate out.
- Crown Liquor Saloon
A flamboyant drinking establishment opened in the 1880s, and went on to become the most famous pub in Belfast.
- Giant's Ring
Prehistoric enclosure with a diameter of 200 meters (66o ft), with prehistoric human remains found under the dolmen at centre.
- Grand Opera House
Late-Victorian style opera house designed by renowned theatre architect Frank Matcham, and completed in 1894.
- Lagan Weir Lookout
A good place to view the activities at Belfast Harbour.
- Linen Hall Library
Library founded in 1788 by the Belfast Society for Promoting Knowledge today holds thousands of rare, old books.
- Ormeau Baths Gallery
Contemporary visual art gallery housed in a former Victorian swimming hall.
- Queen's University
The most prestigious university in Northern Ireland.
Building erected in 1932 to house the Northern Ireland Parliament, which was disbanded in 1972.
- St Anne's Cathedral
Protestant church in the Neo-Romanesque style consecrated in 1904.
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