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About city Gallery Where to stay

One of the largest US harbours by the Pacific Ocean – San Francisco – is located in the state of California. The city is known for its big bridges, familiar to many people from films, and a prison located on the island of Alcatraz.

In mid-19th century, San Francisco transformed from a small coastal village into a city. As soon as the surroundings were found to be rich in gold, the village became flooded with gold seekers. In just one year, the population of San Francisco grew from 500 to 25,000, and it soon became a fairly large city. All the way until the 20th century, however, San Francisco had no organised government, lacked in order, and was plagued by chaos, theft and murder.

In 1906, the city was hit by a strong earthquake, called the Big One, which almost destroyed it completely. At that point, people started organising the process of rebuilding, and established a city plan and government structure.

Today, San Francisco is glorified by its harbour – one of the largest in all of America. Its annual cargo turnover is about 50 million tonnes.

The Golden Gate Bridge is the only road connection to the North Bay
Photo taken by Dirk Beyer / wikimedia.org.  The Golden Gate Bridge is the only road connection to the North Bay

Another symbol of San Francisco is its big bridges: among those, a 13 km-long suspended bridge that connects the city with Oakland (built in 1936), and the famous Golden Gate Bridge, built in 1937. Everyone who’d seen at least one film shot in this city known the latter bridge to be the symbol of San Francisco. This almost 3 km-long bridge figures on the Wonders of the Modern World list, drawn up by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The Golden Gate Bridge over the Golden Gate strait connects San Francisco with Marin County. Upon crossing over from San Francisco to Marin County, one notices the many hills that have countless platforms with an excellent view of the Bridge and the Golden Gate strait. The supports of the bridge are 227 m-high. Every day the Golden Gate Bridge is crossed by about 100,000 vehicles.

Alamo Square is one of the most well known parks in the area, and is often a symbol of San Francisco for its popular location for film and pop culture
Photo taken by jjron / wikimedia.org.  Alamo Square is one of the most well known parks in the area, and is often a symbol of San Francisco for its popular location for film and pop culture

Another city attraction worthy of a visit is the Twin Peaks mountain, which’d lent its name to the popular mystery TV series shot at the end of the last century. It’s a perfect overview platform that opens up on some spectacular views of San Francisco and the bay of the same name.

The most popular tourist place in the city is called Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you’ll find many attractions: the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum, the Mechanical Museum, the Wax Museum, and the Cannery Shopping Centre, located in a former fruit factory.

Alcatraz receives 1.5 million annual visitors
Photo taken by jjron / wikimedia.org.  Alcatraz receives 1.5 million annual visitors

Furthermore, the Wharf is the place of departure of sailing tours around the San Francisco Bay. One of the most popular of these tours takes its participants to another city attraction – the Alcatraz Island.

During the past century, this island served as the legendary prison for the cruellest of American criminals. This place of incarceration was operational from 1934 to 1963. The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary had its own rules. One of these was constant silence. The prisoners were allowed only one visit per month, and even then only as a privilege awarded to those who didn’t break any of the prison rules. There are also many other tours around the Bay which can be booked on the same day. These ships sail around Alcatraz, under the Golden Gate Bridge and around other famous spots in the Bay.

By the way, San Francisco is also considered to be the capital of homosexuals and lesbians, as its home to the most same-sex families in the whole country.

Where to stay

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