Founded in 1871, the city of Birmingham soon blossomed into an industrial center and was known for its iron and steel production. Birmingham's early growth was so rapid and dramatic that it was nicknamed "the Magic City."
Because of its rapid growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Birmingham has an international flavor and ethnic diversity that are unusual in the South. This diversity has been enhanced in the last two decades by the phenomenal growth of UAB, which is now the area's largest employer. The population of the metropolitan area is now nearly one million people, making Birmingham large enough to be cosmopolitan, yet small enough to navigate easily.
Historically known for steel and iron production, Birmingham's economy now includes both manufacturing and service industries, especially health care.
Although it enjoys a generally mild Southern climate, Birmingham enjoys all four seasons. The weather allows residents and visitors to enjoy the city's wide variety of attractions such as year-round golf on top-notch courses including the Robert Trent Jones Golf trail, terrific restaurants and shopping, jazz clubs, Botanical Gardens, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the zoo, and Oak Mountain State Park.
Birmingham combines big-city sophistication with Southern charm and hospitality. Home to nearly a million residents, the greater Birmingham area lies in the gently rolling foothills of the Appalachians. The Gulf's pristine white beaches are a few hours' drive to the south, and the Smoky Mountains are a few hours to the north. Atlanta is but a two hour drive, and Nashville is only three hours from Birmingham.