Belfast is a modern, vibrant and exciting metropolis with an historic heritage. Belfast boasts a wealth of visitor attractions, award-winning restaurants, a vibrant night-life and excellent shopping facilities, making it one of the most popular city destinations in Europe.
The city, which has a population of nearly three hundred thousand - though over half a million people live in the Greater Belfast area - is set at the end of Belfast Lough, a naturally formed harbour at the mouth of the river Lagan. This inlet made the city accessible to large shipping and, during the 18th and 19th centuries, Belfast made its name as the first port of call for trade from the New World across the Atlantic.
From its roots as a small trading post, the city of Belfast has, partly because of the geography of its location, grown into the active port it is today. Built on shipping and the Linen trade and the largest city on the Irish mainland behind Dublin, Belfast is the capital of both Ulster and Northern Ireland.
Location of the biggest dry-dock in the world and home to Harland and Wolff, one of the largest ship-building companies on the planet, Belfast's dock area has long fed the local economy through employment and trade with the rest of the world.
To this day large ship contractors operate from Belfast's extensive docks: the world famous Harland and Wolff, designers of the Titanic, for instance, have a functioning shipyard there dominated by Samson and Goliath - two huge ship-cranes which can be seen for miles.
In recent years the city has undergone redevelopment and is now a major financial and business centre and popular tourist destination.