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Your destination - Houston

Houston, called the Bayou City because of its many winding waterways, is located at the head of the Houston Ship Channel which links the city to the Gulf of Mexico and the primary shipping lanes of the world. Spread over three counties, Houston covers more land area than any other major city in the United States. Though the coastal areas are sandy, other parts of the city are either prairie grass or pine forests. It also is a city of lakes, rivers, and canals. Houston's neighborhood diversity is reflective of its arts and architecture, historic sites and museums, dining and shopping. Today its multicultural population is more than 1,700,000, and the population of its sprawling metropolitan area exceeds 4,100,000.

Oil and petrochemicals are still major factors in Houston's economy which has expanded dramatically to include the Johnson Space Center administered by NASA and such research and technology facilities as the Texas Medical Center, the world's largest medical complex renown for pioneering organ transplants. Houston's port is one of the nation's busiest, and Transco Tower is one of Americas tallest suburban office buildings. Major employers are service industries, trade, government, and education which includes Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Houston. The area is served by an extensive freeway/highway system, several railroads, and the Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Notable points of interest are the Uptown/Galleria, an international marketplace; Space Center Houston; George Ranch Historical Park; Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Science; Burke Baker Planetarium; Mercer Arboretum and Moody Gardens Aquarium; the Lone Star Flight Museum; and the Zoo; San Jacinto Battleground, where Texas gained its independence from Mexico; the Astrodome; the Battleship Texas in nearby Pasadena; the Six Flags AstroWorld entertainment complex; Trader's Village outdoor market; Lake Houston and Reliant Park. Also the Ballet, Grand Opera, Symphony Orchestra, the Society for the Performing Arts, Broadway Series, and Theater Under the Stars. Nightlife is as varied as country/western, blues, jazz, and rock. For sports fans: Astros major league baseball, Rockets NBA basketball, Aeros AHL hockey, and thoroughbred horse racing. The area's special events include the Annual Wings Over Houston Airshow, the International Quilt Festival, the Texas Renaissance Festival, and the Livestock Show and Rodeo.

After Texas won its independence from Mexico in the battle of San Jacinto in 1836, this city was founded by two brothers near the Buffalo Bayou. In the following year, this city was incorporated and named first capital of the Republic of Texas. In 1846 Texas was admitted to the Union as the 28th state. Oil was discovered in the area in 1901, and a year later when Congress appropriated $1 million for development of the city's Ship Channel for deep water vessels it was the beginning of the area's economic stability.


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