Sister Cities

 

Birmingham, USA

Birmingham is located in the north-central part of the state of Alabama in the USA. It is the largest city in Alabama.

CITY LEADERSHIP / MANAGEMENT

Mayor: Randall Woodfin

City Council: 9 members

HISTORY

Birmingham was founded as an industrial center shortly after the American Civil War in 1871. It was named after the British city of Birmingham, which used to be one of the major industrial cities of the United Kingdom.

From 1880 to 1940, as heavy industry continued to develop, the city grew as an industrial metropolis.  At the height of the nation's manufacturing age, the city’s population grew so fast that it was called the "Magic City." This period of prosperity came to a halt during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the economy remained slow for the next 40 years. Hard times returned during the 1960s, when racial injustice culminated in demonstrations for human rights. Birmingham’s racial issues have always been the center of worldwide attention.

During the 1970s Birmingham transformed itself into a center of medical research and banking with a service-based economy and the growing support of The University of Alabama at Birmingham and a strong banking and business-financial sector. Today Birmingham is among the most important business centers in the southeastern United States and is also one of the largest banking centers in the country.

GEOGRAPHY AND DEMOGRAPHY

LOCATION: The city of Birmingham is located in the north-central part of the state of Alabama, USA. It is nestled in the Jones Valley in the southern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

SIZE: 393.5 km2

POPULATION: 242,820

CLIMATE: Birmingham has a humid subtropical climate with typical hot summers, mild winters and lots of precipitation. The average annual temperature in the city is 17 °C.

ECONOMY

Birmingham used to be the center of the steel industry for the southern part of the USA. Although some former factories originally built for the production of iron and steel are presently used as museums, steel is still produced here in large quantities. Other production is focused on chemicals, building materials, aircraft parts, railway line components, computers and the cotton industry.

Today Birmingham’s foundations of the economy are the automotive and aerospace industry, biotechnology, research, development of services and production of iron and steel. Also several leading regional financial institutions, banks and insurance companies are based in Birmingham.
Major employers of the region are in: education, health, industry, finance and banking, professional and business services, trade and transport.

EDUCATION (IMPORTANT EDUCATIONAL CENTERS)

In Birmingham there is a great emphasis on education. The city is home to a number of schools, which are among the best in the USA.

Some of the most important institutions of higher education are:

  • Birmingham Southern College (private: about 1,300 students)
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham (state: about 20,000 students)
  • largest employer in Birmingham (14,000 employees)
  • Miles College (private Christian: about 1700 students)
  • Miles Law School
  • Birmingham School of Law
  • Samford University
  • University of Montevallo

CULTURE AND TOURISM

The city of Birmingham is the cultural and entertainment center of the state of Alabama. There are many museums and galleries in the city. The largest is the Birmingham Museum of Art. There is also an excellent symphony orchestra and a first-class ballet company. Musical performers and theater groups come to Birmingham from all over the world.

Cultural institutions include:

Alabama Theatre

Alys Stephens Center for the Performing Arts (Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Opera Birmingham)

Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (theater, concert hall, exhibition halls and sports and concert arena)

Carver Theatre (headquarters Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame)

Birmingham Public Library (programs for children and adults)

Verizon Wireless Music Center (outdoor cultural center with 2 stages)

Birmingham Museum of Art (Birmingham Museum of Art)

Zoo and Botanical Gardens - Birmingham Zoo and Botanical Gardens

SPORT

Sports activities are concentrated mainly in colleges and universities.

Football (The University of Alabama and Auburn University) and basketball (The University of Alabama) are especially popular. Baseball and soccer are also of great importance.

Motor sports and fishing are also very important.

The annual marathon Vulcan 10K Run and Mercedes Marathon/Half Marathon have become very popular. Participants come not only from Birmingham, but from all over the USA.

Cycling and mountain-biking are also popular in the area.

Major league clubs of Birmingham:

  • Birmingham Barons (baseball)
  • Birmingham Magicians (basketball)
  • Alabama Steeldogs (soccer)
  • Team Alabama (American football)

ATTRACTIONS

Kelly Ingram Park was a site of famous protests for human rights. It is also the home of The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which presents the history of Birmingham in connection with the American Civil War in a very moving exhibition.

Oak Mountain State Park is located 16 km to the South of Birmingham. It offers beautiful views.

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, a Civil War site, is located in the West of the city and is a reminder of the previous steel industry boom. There is an Iron & Steel Museum with preserved remnants of the original steel mills and blast furnaces.

Vulcan Park is located in the South of the city. There, one can see the largest cast iron statue in the world, known as Vulcan.

McWane Science Center is a regional science museum, which presents science and research in an interactive way. There is also IMAX 3-D theater. The center also presents a number of fossils.

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum features the largest collection of motorcycles in the world.

TRADITIONAL EVENTS

Birmingham hosts a variety of music, film and other festivals, which represent the local cultural heritage.

City Stages is a world-renowned three-day music festival, which takes place in Birmingham's Linn Park on Father's Day and music of all genres is performed on 11 stages.

Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival is a large film festival attended by filmmakers from around the world, who come here to present their films and to award the best of them. It usually takes place in late September.

Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival is another musical festival held annually in September.

Southern Heritage Festival has been held since 1960. It is a festival of music, art and entertainment for the African-American community.

Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil is an annual 2-day music festival held in May to support local charities. Every year around 30,000 visitors come to this festival.

Greek Festival is an annual festival which celebrates Greek heritage and is also devoted to Greek cuisine.

Alabama Bound is an annual book fair and writer’s festival representing authors and publishers from Alabama. It is organized by the Birmingham Public Library. It offers fans an opportunity   to meet their favorite authors, discuss books by those authors and participate in a numerous readings.

CITY PARTNERS OF BIRMINGHAM

  • Hitachi, friendly - Maebashi, Japan
  • Szekesfehrevar, Hungary
  • Vinnitsia, friend - Krasnodon, Ukraine
  • Anshan, friend: Chao Yang District & Senegaal-Guadiawaye Huangshi, China
  • Al-Karak, Jordan
  • Rosh Ha'ayin, Israel
  • Pilsen, Czech Republic
  • Coban, Guatemala

HISTORY OF RELATIONS BETWEEN PILSEN AND BIRMINGHAM

In 2004, Birmingham was recommended to Pilsen in the Czech Republic as a potential partner by the U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic.

The partnership agreement was signed between the cities in May 2005 on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Pilsen by the U.S. Army.

A Rotarian delegation from Birmingham met with the Rotarians of Pilsen. Representatives from UWB (The University of Western Bohemia) visited Birmingham. Seminars, meetings with students, graphic techniques workshops, presentations on Pilsen, Western Bohemia, The Institute of Art and its summer school ArtCamp, as well as negotiations on potential exchanges and a presentation of the project Figurama, were all part of the visit.

The festival "Spotlight Czech Republic" in Birmingham featured a documentary film by Jiří Boudník, a Pilsen native now living in New York city, called "Sugar Cubes and Chocolate, about the liberation of Pilsen .There was a theatre performance of "The Three Musketeers" by The Alfa Theatre, and The Exhibition of the Pilsen Biennial in Drawing was opened.

May 2007 - during the liberation celebrations, there was an exhibition of work by students and teachers from BSC (Birmingham Southern College) in the University Gallery in Pilsen. The exhibition was visited by Pilsen Mayor Rödl, accompanied by Mr. Richard Graber, the U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic.

USEFUL LINKS

 

Published: 2017-11-30, Martin Pecuch