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Birmingham AlabamaBirmingham, Alabama is a city made from steel. Not merely in construction; steel was, almost from its founding, Birmingham’s main industry. The city is located near deposits of the three main components of steel-making: iron ore, coal and limestone. Steel made Birmingham the largest city in Alabama and one of the South’s primary industrial cities. Its nickname is “City of Vulcan” after the Greek god of the forge. The largest cast iron piece of statuary in the world is the fifty-ton, fifty-six foot tall statue of Vulcan at the center of the Vulcan Park and Museum on Red Mountain overlooking the city. From this park visitors have a panoramic view of Birmingham. Another facility in Birmingham is dedicated to her largest industry, the Iron and Steel Museum in Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. Located on over 1500 acres, it has the massive stone furnaces of the Tannehill Ironworks as it centerpiece. It also contains a pioneer-era village where, spring to fall, a miller, blacksmith and craftsmen demonstrate their historic trades. Birmingham is also known for its part in the Civil Rights Movement. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is located on 16th Street. The Institute is across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church, which the KKK bombed in 1963, killing four little girls. This tragic event is credited with helping put the Voting Rights Act into law a year later. Birmingham is a city of gardens, and no garden in Birmingham is as lovely as the Birmingham Botanical Garden. Best of all, admission into the garden is free. Last of all, if you can only have one meal in Birmingham, have it at the Highlands Bar and Grill. This world-renowned restaurant is one of only five restaurants to be a finalist for the 2013 James Beard Award.

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