Phoenix Arizona, United States
Travel to Phoenix Arizona, USA: Vacations and Travel Info
Phoenix is an oasis in the desert, a living city in constant development, making it very attractive for visitors. It is also Arizona's capital, (also known as the "The Valley of the Sun") the fifth most populous city in the US and the fastest growing city in the country (and the fifth in the world). It owes its name to the pioneer Darrel Duppa, who in 1868, while watching the new city growing on top of the ancient ruins of a Hohokam community, decided that this was the perfect manner to describe the birth of this new city.
Phoenix's most famous reference is the hot weather. It presents itself as an option for escaping from the coldness of the northern cities. Located in the middle of the desert, it offers a huge diversity of water parks, golf courts and an enviable urban development, enhancing its malls, the amazing sport's infrastructure which holds numerous professional sports franchises, including representatives from all four major sport leagues (basketball, baseball, football and ice hockey), as well as museums, musical venues and an endless list of attractions.
Half of the population from Phoenix has Latin American roots, predominantly Mexican, so it would not be strange to find many Mexican restaurants on each corner. Actually some other ethnic groups have settled at the metropolitan area, bringing with them a huge diversity of customs and cuisine, such as Brazilian, Korean and French.
A Brief History
The history of Phoenix began a thousand years ago, when a Hohokam community settled on the present site of the capital of Arizona. A creative canals system was developed (135 miles long) to fight against hot weather and the water shortage, making cultivation easier.
The Hohokam community kept a commercial relationship with some of the neighboring communities, such as the Anasasi and the Mogollon, where it is widely believed that a mixing of cultures occurred. Between 1300 and 1450, a severe drought caused the community to migrate.
As time passed, the Conquest came and with it came European culture to the continent. It wasn't until after the war between Mexico and the US that the former lost a huge part of its territory, ceding it to the latter, when settlers came to the Salt River Valley. The civil war produced a strategic defensive movement in the region of the Valley of the Sun (Valle del Sol) for a war that never occurred. Fort MacDowell, however, was established and was the first settlement in the area since the exodus of the Hohokam.
In 1876, a Civil War veteran named Jack Swilling was going about the valley when he noticed the potential of cultivation in the area. The only thing that was missing was an irrigation system. It was discovered that the Hohokam had left behind an ancient canal system and it was that system that was reactivated. The original name of the town was Pumpkinville because of the large number of pumpkins that grew by the canals. Darrel Duppa suggested that the town be renamed Phoenix because it was built on the ruins of a Hohokam village. On February 5, 1881, Phoenix became a part of the state of Arizona.
Nowadays, the city is experiencing a building boom. Urban development has grown at an impressive rate with 54,000 houses a month being constructed and 300-foot tall buildings rising like sentinels out of the ground of this arid desert. Everyday, the city reaffirms its importance in the US as the twelfth largest metropolitan area in the country and offers an interesting and prominent political culture.
The Phoenix metropolitan area is made up of two counties (Maricopa and Pinal) as well as cities such as Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Glendale, Peoria and Gilbert. There are also other communities in the surrounding areas like Sun Lakes, Goodyear, Anthem, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Sun City and Sun City West.
The city has an attractive cultural life. There are lots of interesting events that are presented each month. In the downtown area, there are a considerable number of musical venues that are pretty diverse, going from rock and country to chamber music. The Heard Museum is another art showcase that is very famous in Phoenix.
The water parks are one of the main attractions in the city and many can be found in the surrounding metropolitan area, such as Wet 'n' Wild, Big Surf, Golfland SunSplash, among other parks. There are also a number of parks and natural reserves inside and outside the urban area, created for the preservation of the area's wildlife. South Mountain Park, for example, is the biggest municipal park in the world. Phoenix offers to you an endless number of attractions ready to be discovered. Come have fun in the Valley of the Sun!
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