Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia long has been the cultural and commercial center of the southern United States. Originally founded in the early nineteenth century to facilitate railroad construction from the Atlantic Ocean to the interior of the country, Atlanta was incorporated as a city in 1847 and quickly became a hub of business activity. The confluence of railroad lines in the city made it a natural distribution center for military support for the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War. The city suffered the scourge of General Sherman’s historic “march to the sea” campaign late in the war and took decades to recover from the wholesale destruction of its infrastructure.

Downtown Skyline of Atlanta, GeorgiaBy the 1970s, Atlanta was poised to become one of the major commercial centers and largest cities in the United States. Major companies such as Turner Broadcasting, Coca-Cola Company, Delta Airlines, Home Depot, and UPS make their corporate home in Atlanta, which has led to a tremendous influx of people and entrepreneurial investment in the city over the past forty years. Atlanta’s advantageous geographical position continues to impact the region’s economic viability as major shipping companies distribute products all over the east coast through the city. Other important components of the region’s economy include finance, banking, and scientific research in biotechnology.

Leisure and cultural life in Atlanta are as diverse as the city’s inhabitants and historical legacy. The Georgian capital boasts three major sports franchises: baseball’s Atlanta Braves, the NFL’s Atlanta Falcon’s, and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. The intellectual life of Atlanta draws on the two major research universities that reside within the city’s borders, Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech. Sites of general interest in the city include Atlanta Underground, the Olympic Park that hosted the 1996 Olympic Games, and the Coca-Cola Factory.

Atlanta enjoys a robust fine arts culture. The city benefits from a number of world-class art galleries, primarily the High Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. Lovers of classical music and dance can take in performances by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Opera, Atlanta Ballet, or the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra. The city also enjoys a vibrant theater scene with groups such as the Alliance Theater, Seven Stages Theater, and the Center for Puppetry Arts. The Fox Theatre is one of the most famous historical venues in the world and hosts film screenings, live music, and theatrical performances.

Modern Atlanta is symbolic of the New South, enjoying the economic prosperity of commercial investment while at the same time preserving the historical and cultural legacy of its place as a dynamic Southern city.


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