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Bristol — England

Bristol is a large city on the River Avon in the South West of England, with a coastal feature on the Severn Estuary, which empties into the Bristol Channel; and Bristol has the distinction of being a unitary authority as well as being a ceremonial county.

Bristol Cabot Circus Bristol Cathedral Bristol Clifton Suspension Bridge Bristol Queen Square Saint Augustine Parade, Bristol Welsh Back Ferry Landing, Bristol

Bristol is a cosmopolitan city that offers amenities worthy of some of the largest cities in the world, with the added attraction of offering a glimpse into its historic Paleolithic origins. The archeological finds in and around Bristol are believed to be about 60,000 years old; Bronze Age artifacts have actually been found in the city centre, while Iron Age forts can be found at Clifton and Burwalls among others; all providing evidence of human activity in the Bristol area during prehistoric times; as well as more recent indications of Roman habitation, such as the 4th century Kings Weston Roman Villa whose remains can still be seen.

This is a city that is rich in history, yet maintains a modern economy, is culturally adept and provides several unique universities, all of which can make life in Bristol a rich experience. For the theatre lovers, there is the Bristol Old Vic, on King Street consisting of the 1766 Theatre Royal, a grade I listed building (the oldest continuously operating theatre in England) and the New Vic in the adjacent Coopers' Hall built in 1743, in addition to a number of other theatres that includes the Bristol Hippodrome. All of the Arts are well represented in Bristol, with many famous individuals on the list including many world renowned notables. There are also a number of museums, such as the Bristol City Museum and Art gallery with historical, natural history and archaeological displays; there is the Bristol Zoo, over 50 Grade I listed buildings and over 500 Grade II buildings ranging in architectural styles. Spectator sports are readily available, with the Ashton Gate stadium offering only one of several venues for the two League football clubs, the rugby clubs, as well as offering a speedway; not to mention the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta held each summer at Ashton Court, just west of the city.

Bristol has been considered a major city since medieval times, and is presently among the most populated city in the South West, having a population of approximately one and a half million people when combined with the Larger Urban Zone. During centuries past Bristol was a maritime city whose economy grew through trade, as with Ireland. During the 1700's there was a huge slave trade, from Africa to the Americas, with more than 2,000 slaving ships fitted out in Bristol; making collection of information on the slave trade accessible to abolitionists like Thomas Clarkson who used the Seven Stars Public House as a base for his research of slavery; the pub is still in existence and is a Grade II listed building.

Of course Bristol also has its share of castles and estates, with Berkeley Castle, an extremely well preserved family fortress that dates back to the late 12th century. The 900 year history includes the murder of Edward II, the meeting place for the Barons of the West prior to the Magna Carta and where Queen Elizabeth I hunted and played bowls. Or visit one of the many historic churches in the city, such as Bristol Cathedral founded in 1140, with its tall Gothic windows which when viewed makes it difficult to believe that it was built more than 700 years ago. There is also Glastonbury Abbey whose ruins are said to be where King Arthur was buried; or the 12th century St. John the Baptist's Church, built in the Old City where you will find old cobbled streets with some wonderful original buildings.

During World War II the Luftwaffe bombs destroyed much of Bristol's city centre, leaving behind what is now a park with two bombed out churches and some few remains of the castle, with one other church, St. Nicholas, which was restored and turned into a museum housing items moved from other parts of the city as some statutes, a triptych and some 13th century figures, all with details of their history.

Today Bristol is a modern teeming city with a financial centre, shops, restaurants and more, with a growing tourism industry. There is the huge Cabot Circus, a three tier retail shopping development to delight all; and then of course, there are the markets which meet once a week, at St Nicholas Market. Established in 1743, this is the oldest market in Bristol and it is located in the heart of the Old City.

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