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- Cities XXL 2015Haselbourg is the capital and most populous city of the United Provinces, with a population of 10,758,230. The city is one of the major maritime centers of the world and an important transport hub, thanks to its location on the western shore of the Hasel Bay. It's called 'the big hamlet'.
Haselbourg is a global city, a top tourist destination and a melting pot of several ethnic groups, as it has been a major recipient of millions of immigrants from all over the world.
The Place de la République, where the city was founded in 1620, located in the I commune, it has always been the focal point of political life in Haselbourg. Originally, it was named Place de la citadelle, and served as a public market in colonial times. After the December Revolution in 1808, it got its current name.
The square has two main monuments. On is the Monument de la République, in the center, inaugurated in 1869. Is an allegory of Liberty holding an olive branch in her right hand resting her left on a shield with the national coat of arms. The republic is surrounded with three statues personifying navigation, industry and agriculture. The other, is an equestrian statue of general Mathieu Thibault, hero of the Independence War. It was finished in 1874 and originally located on the left side of the square, as part of a project of renovations which included three more statues. They were never finished and the monument was relocated in 1895.
The Palais du Gouvernement, workplace of the president. It occupies the site of the Citadelle, a fort built by the French and demolished in 1846. Construction began in 1852 and finished in 1873. The palace combines gothic and renaissance elements. Behind the building is the Place Colomb, named after the monument donated by italian immigrants in 1908.
The parc de la Constitution (left) and the Jardin botanique (right), the two most famous public parks in Haselbourg. The parc de la Constitution was opened in 1856, covering an area of 121 hectares. It has two artificial ponds and it's main building is the Galerie Nationale, the national museum of art. The park has became the green heart of the city, ideal for a stroll, to rest down the shade of hornbeams, cedars, elms, chestnuts and tall pines, exercise or sunbathe. In 1865, the first football match in the country was played in one of the lawns of the park.
The Avenue de la Révolution. It was the city's first boulevard, opened in 1884 and connects the Palais du Gouvernement (executive power) with the Palais du Congrès (legislative power). It was the first street to have electric light and the Line 1 of the Haselbourg Metro, opened in 1908, runs beneath the avenue. Born as a residential site for the upper classes, today is an ornate and upscale shopping street, with cafés, theatres, gallery arts and restaurants. It's as major tourist attraction because of the grand architecture of its buildings and the active nightlife.
The Avenue de l'Indépendance, opened in 1921, it's the widest in the city. It has eight lanes on each direction and is flanked on either side by parallel streets of two lanes each. It connects the financial district and the Abraham Roy expressway (in the northern side) with the parc de la Constitution (in the southern side) and it was originally named North-South avenue. Between 1923-1925 ash trees where planted on either side and in the middle, creating the current landscape of the avenue. During the 2002 riots, protesters took the avenue and camped there for over five months, cutting many trees and using them as firewood. The avenue was restored in time for the bicentennial in 2008 and now it's known for its hotels and theatres.
The Colonne de Décembre, a triumphal column commemorating the December Revolution of 1808, starting point of the country's Independence War. It was inaugurated in 1923 and consists of four solid blocks of sandstone decorated with golden garlands. At the top it's a bronze sculpture of Victoria, the personified goddess of victory. The column sits on a hall of pillars with a glass mosaic depicting battles of the Independence War. Since its construction, it has been the center of manifestations and, specially, sports celebrations. Fans of local clubs Rangers FC and Wanderers FC celebrate their titles at the foot of the statue and "We're going to visit Vicky" is a popular chant among fans.
The Opéra is the main opera house in Haselbourg. It was opened in 1883 with Charles Gounod's Faust and is considered to be amongst the best concert venues in the world. It's located in Delacroix street, just in front of the avenue de l'Indépendance, in the former site of the Parc d'artillerie, an artillery park taken by an anti-government movement in the so called Revolution of the Artillery, which ended with a fierce repression of the Federal Government. It was target of four anarchist bombings in 1895, 1904, 1908 and 1914. Is one of the landmarks and most famous buildings in the city and, every five years, a special concert is held for the new president-elect.
The Place du congrès is the biggest public square in the city. It was a swampland until 1888, when works began to transform the site into a square in front of the future Palais du Congrès. It was inaugurated in March 1908, as one of the many city redevelopments for the country's centennial. In the centre, a triumphal arch was built in 1911. The front frieze contains the stone sculpture dedicated to the Congress of 1821 (when independence was declared) and the opposite frieze contains a stone carving depiction of the Congress of 1849 (when the first constitution was drafted). The friezes along the sides of the arch include deptictions of national fauna.
The Palais du Congrès is the seat of the National Congress, located at the western end of the Avenue de la Révolution and was built between 1895 and 1912. It is a Beaux-Arts monument and its dome is the tallest in the city. In the palace is where the president and his/her cabinet make their oath of office. The building has witnessed many historical moments of the country, but maybe the most dramatic was the assassination of senator Gérald Roussel in 1927, while giving a speech denouncing corruption in the government.
The Jardin botanique is a botanical garden built between 1871 and 1894, with an area of 117 hectares and around 30,000 different plant species, sorted by geographical origin and as close to their natural surroundings as possible. A large pond in the middle of the park is famous for rowing competitions. It also has a Rose Garden of around 70,000 rose plants of some 3,000 different varieties. The best-known part of the garden is the Palais de cristal, a glass pavilion inspired by The Crystal Palace in London. Every summer, the garden hosts classical music concerts.
The Quartier Financier, colloquially known as 'Haselhattan', is the major business district in the city. It has 69 steel and glass buildings, of which 58 are completed skyscrapers. Is located on a at the northern end of the Avenue de l'Indépendance, occupying a significant portion of the Hasel river riverbank. The area was intended to be an extention of the Parc du Centenaire, but it was never carried out and it gradually decayed, becoming one of the city's most degraded areas, a mixture of shanties and abandoned factories just in front of the most wealthiest district in Haselbourg. In 1975, the Riverbank Redevelopment Corporation, a joint company between the city and private investors, was founded to urbanize the area. In 1982, the area obtained a special permission to build over the 40-metres limit of the city. In the 1990s, local and foreign investment led to a construction boom and the first skyscrapers were built and the expansion continues until today.
Place du Général Léopold Favreau, named after the father of the nation and main general in the Independence War, and Théâtre de la Ville built between 1904 and 1912 in the Angoulême neighborhood.
Parc du centenaire. It was built for the Centennial Exposition in 1908, held to show the world the greatness of the country and its bright future, altough celebrations were eclipsed by a general strike and numerous public demostrations. Two pavilions on the eastern side and the Palais des Arts (now a museum) on the western side are the only remains of the exhibition.
More permits were granted and the undeveloped areas along the Nativité river were also urbanized with skyscrapers and the manhattanization continues to redesig the Haselbourg skyline.
La petite boite stadium, home of Wanderers Football Club, one of the two professional clubs in the city. Located in the Abattoirs neighborhood, it has a capacity of 67,000 (55,000 seats).
Géant du port stadium, home of Rangers Football Club, main rivals of Wanderers. Located in the Vieux Port neighborhood, it has a 89,000 seating capacity.
Bitter rivals Wanderers and Rangers face each other twice at year and Haselbourg stops completely when the feverish excitement of the Immortal Derby strikes.
Parc des Húsares, with 20 hectares, is the fourth largest public park in the city. Located 1,5 km west of old Haselbourg, the land was owned by The Abattoir Sud Co., a slaughterhouse, until 1894 when the city bought the land to create a public park. The new park was named after the hussars, a patriotic regiment of the Independence War. The park is known for its numerous statues, located in the major paths and walkways, such as Poets' walk, Writers' walk, Artists' walk and Heroes' walk.
The Bois de Lore, located on the western edge of Haselbourg, is the largest public park in the city with 312 hectares. It was built between 1897 and 1912. The purpose of the park was to provide green space and recreation to the working class neighborhoods of western Haselbourg. The park is home to over 18,000 trees, numerous birds and is heavily used by runners, pedestrians and bicyclists. The Haselbourg book fair, one of the biggest in the world, is held every year in the park in September.
The Centre National de Tennis, host of the Haselbourg Open a professional men's tennis tournament played on hardcourts. The main stadium court, Sophie Bélanger Park Arena has a capacity of 23,500 spectators and is also used for basketball, handball and concerts.
The Central Post Office building it is located in the Saint Bernard neighborhood, just two blocks from the Palais du Gouvernement. Built between 1894-1900, it stands out for being the only Russian Revival building in the city. This is due to the fact that it belonged to the Anglo-Russian Telegraph Company, before the company was bought by the federal state in 1916. It was the seat of the Société Nationale de Courrier until 2008, when the offices were relocated and the building was restored and transformed into a cultural center, opening in 2014.
Olympic park and village
The Port of Haselbourg is the principal maritime port in the country. The port is almost as old as the city itself, since Haselbourg was founded as a port in 1620. Thanks to its strategic location it enabled the city to develop into a leading city of trade and a main hub for passengers and freight. The original port was located south of the Hasel bay, in a narrow area easily defended and protected by the old fort. As marine traffic grew and bigger ships were built, the port also grew and new docks, piers, shipyards and warehouse were built and the port expanded further north into the eastern coast of the bay, just in front of the city.
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The queen of the Hasel bay