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Alabama, U.S.A.
Welcome to Mobile, Alabama.
With around 195,111 residents, Mobile is the is the most populous city in Alabama. The city grew out of Alabama's only saltwater port, as Mobile is located at the head of the Mobile Bay and the north-central Gulf Coast. Ever since the very beginning, the Port of Mobile has played an important role in the city's economic health, from functioning as a key trading center between the French and Native Americans to becoming the 12th largest port in the United States. Mobile is a diverse community with an array of cultural influences, ranging from French, Spanish, Creole and Catholic to British and African heritages. Mobile's colorful community separates it from every other city in Alabama, a fact that is merrily celebrated during the annual Carnival fest. Mobile is the birthplace of Mardi Gras, with celebrations dating from the early 18th century French colonial period. The Carnival in Mobile began as a French Catholic tradition, and now, 300 years later, it is a mainstream multi-week fest that bridges a spectrum of cultures. During the Mardi Gras season, mystic societies build beautiful floats and parade throughout downtown, while masked society members toss gifts called throws to the spectators. These masked members are part of exclusive private clubs, which often hold upscale masquerade balls, by invitation only. To further experience the culture of this diverse city, pay a visit to the Mobile Museum of Art. The museum features 95,000 square feet of permanent exhibits with art and culture covering several centuries. Another great attraction is the historic Saenger Theatre. The theatre opened in 1927 as a movie palace, but is today a performing arts center and small concert venue home to the Mobile Symphony Orchestra. Previously part of the theatre but now housed in a separate facility next door, is the contemporary art gallery Space 301 a great venue to visit for art lovers. Other great spots to check out include the Battleship Memorial Park on the shore of Mobile Bay, as well as the History Museum of Mobile, which displays 300 years of the city's history. In terms of green space, Mobile is blessed with a generous amount. Mobile in fact has more than 45 public parks within its limits, and some of them are more noteworthy than others. For example, the Bienville Square is a historic Park from around 1850, and was once a principal gathering place for Mobile's citizens. While you're strolling around the many parks, check out Cathedral Square, a one-block performing arts park in the Lower Dauphin Street Historic District, and then stop by the reconstructed Fort Conde.
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