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Richmond is a city in Virginia, a state in the South Region of the United States of America. Richmond has a population of 200,000 and the adjacent counties of Henrico and Chesterfield combine to create a local population of more than 500,000 people.
Richmond has been called a city of neighborhoods, each one with a distinct look, flavor, and identity. All are recognized by Richmonders as unique neighborhoods, almost as though the city were a collection of several small towns.
Central The area includes The Fan, Carytown and the Museum District.
Downtown Includes Shockoe (split into Shockoe Bottom and Shockoe Slip), Jackson Ward and Tobacco Row.
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was settled in 1607 by an English settler named Christopher Newport. The site previously inhabited by the Powhatan Indians. It was named Richmond after the London suburb of Richmond-upon-Thames by its founder William Byrd II. The settlement did not become a city until 1742, and in the 135 years in between served as little more than a trading post for furs, hides, and tobacco. In 1782 Richmond became the state capital of Virginia.
Richmond is one of the oldest American cities, and boasts history that even other cities on the east coast cannot claim. The Shockoe Bottom entertainment area is where slave rebellion leader Gabriel had his head hung from a pike. During the Civil War, it served as the capital of the Confederacy, and when the Northern Army invaded Richmond, most of the city burned when the fleeing Confederate government set fires to the cities munitions stores and government records they were unable to take with them which grew out of control when winds picked up. The solders from the Union helped to put out the fires upon their arrival and the day after the city fell Abraham Lincoln made a visit to the city. Though much of its colonial past has disappeared, it is rich in Civil War history and lore. There is, among other things, a Civil War prison site on Belle Isle, the house Robert E. Lee lived in, the state Capitol (Which Thomas Jefferson designed and said was inspired by the Maison Carrée at Nimes, France) which served as the Confederate Capitol during the war, a museum of the Confederacy, the original Confederate White House, and Hollywood Cemetery in the heart of the city where more than 18,000 Confederate soldiers are laid to rest. Richmond has the most forged iron outside of New Orleans, and one of the first African American neighborhoods (Jackson Ward).
Richmond is located on I-95 about 2 hours south of Washington DC. I-64 runs east-west through the city which provides easy access to Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and Charlottesville. In addition, several other majar roadways such as the Powhite Parkway (Route 76), the Chippenham Parkway (Route 150), and Route 288 connect Richmond to other areas such as Chesterfeild and Midlothian.
Two Amtrak train stations serve Richmond.
Staples Mill station (RVR) is Richmond's primary station, located in an older section of suburban Henrico County, and is served by Northeast Corridor trains as well as several lines continuing south toward the Carolinas and Florida. Travelers heading downtown should plan on a $20-$25 taxi fare.
Main Street station (RVM) the historic station has recently been renovated and reopened, but is only served by the few Northeast Corridor trains terminating at Newport News, and the segment between Staples Mill and Main Street can be affected by delays as the train traverses CSX's ACCA rail yard, a major freight hub.
Richmond International Airport (RIC) is located in nearby Sandston, about a $20 taxi ride east of downtown, and is served by most major domestic carriers plus discounters JetBlue and Airtran. Chesterfield County Airport (ICAO KFCI) to the south of the city and Hanover County Airport (ICAO KOFP) to the north handle general aviation.
Grayhound Bus Lines has a large terminal located on Boulevard...about 4 miles west of Downtown Richmond and 1 mile north of the Museum District.
The easiest way to get around Richmond is by car. Roadside parking spaces are relatively easy to find but be in the look-out for no parking areas - particularly the "Fan District." The city is laid out on a grid system and is easy to navigate, however, many streets in the oldest parts of the city are very narrow and one-way.
The Greater Richmond Transit Company, or GRTC www.ridegrtc.com, operates a bus service across the city and partially into neighboring Henrico and Chesterfield Counties. The average fare is $1.25 for local routes and $1.75 for the express routes, exact change only.
Belle Isle. In the middle of the James River, this island includes a mountain-biking trail. Fans of the movies Cold Mountain, Hannibal, and The Jackal may recognize the area. It offers great views of the falls and the river, but be wary of copperheads, which abound on the island. Also many teenagers enjoy swimming and laying out on the rocks. There are even rope swings set up on the bridges nearby. It is a great hangout for teenagers and young adults.
The Historic Downtown. The cobblestoned Bottom area is rich in history, and well-worth the trip, if only to see one of the many Edgar Allan Poe houses in the Northeast. Though much of the area was washed out during Hurricane Isabel and Tropical Storm Gaston, the rebuilding continues.
Maymont Park. A wealthy landowner donated his estate to the city, and Richmond turned it into one of the most beautiful urban parks in the nation. Fountains, Italianate gardens, and a Japanese tea garden are a pleasure to walk through. The nature center here is all-encompassing and free, and its exhibits on Virginia Wildlife include two otters who are glad to show off for visitors. Gray foxes, red-tailed hawks, and other exhibits are located outside. Kids like the farm area, where sheep, lambs, chickens, and other sundry animals are exhibited.
Monument Avenue This grand avenue stretches from downtown Richmond at Lombardy St out into Henrico's West End at Horsepen Dr. Along the avenue in the city are statues to Confederate heroes J.E.B. Start at Lomabardy St., Robert E. Lee at Allen St., Jefferson Davis at Davis Ave.,and Stonewall Jackson at the Boulevard. Matthew Fountaine Muarry, who served in the Confederate Navy, but who is memorialized for his contributions to oceanic navigation and his invention of the torpedo is located at Belmont St. Tennis star and humanitarian Arther Ashe is located at Roseneath St.