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Norfolk in Virginia.
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach.
Norfolk is located at the core of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, named for the large natural harbor of the same name located at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. It is one of nine cities and seven counties that constitute the Hampton Roads metro area, officially known as the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA. The city is bordered to the west by the Elizabeth River and to the north by the Chesapeake Bay. It also shares land borders with the independent cities of Chesapeake to its south and Virginia Beach to its east. One of the oldest of the cities in Hampton Roads, Norfolk is considered to be the historic, urban, financial, and cultural center of the region.
Norfolk is the cultural heart of the Hampton Roads region. In addition to its outstanding museums, Norfolk is the principal home for several major performing arts companies. Norfolk also plays host to numerous yearly festivals and parades, mostly at Town Pointe Park in downtown.
The Chrysler Museum of Art, located in the Ghent district, is the region's foremost art museum and is considered by The New York Times to be the finest in the state. Of particular note is the extensive glass collection and American neoclassical marble sculptures.
Nauticus, the National Maritime Center, opened on the downtown waterfront in 1994. It features hands-on exhibits, interactive theaters, aquaria, digital high-definition films and an extensive variety of educational programs. Since 2000, Nauticus has been home to the battleship USS Wisconsin, the second to last battleship to be built in the United States. It served briefly in World War II and later in the Korean and Gulf Wars.
The General Douglas MacArthur Memorial, located in the 19th century Norfolk court house and city hall in downtown, contains the tombs of the late General and his wife, a museum and a vast research library, personal belongings (including his famous corncob pipe) and a short film that chronicles the life of the famous General of the Army.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world's largest animal rights organization, is based in Norfolk.
The Hermitage Foundation Museum, located in an early 20th century Tudor style home on a 12-acre (49,000 m2) estate fronting the Lafayette River, features an eclectic collection of Asian and Western art, including Chinese bronze and ceramics, Persian rugs, and ivory carvings.
Norfolk has a variety of performing groups with regular seasons.
The Virginia Opera was founded in Norfolk in 1974. Its artistic director since its inception has been Peter Mark, who conducted his 100th opera production for the VOA in 2008. Though performances are staged statewide, the company's principal venue is the Harrison Opera House in the Ghent district.
The Virginia Stage Company, founded in 1968, is one of the country's leading regional theaters and produces a full season of plays in the Wells Theatre downtown. The Company shares facilities with the Governor's School for the Arts.
The Virginia Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1920 and directed by JoAnn Falletta, has been a regular staple on the regional fine arts scene. Most Norfolk performances take place at Chrysler Hall in the Scope complex downtown. The orchestra also provides musicians for many other performing arts organizations in the area.
Large scale concerts are held at either the Norfolk Scope arena or the Ted Constant Convocation Center at ODU, while The Norva provides a more intimate atmosphere for smaller groups. Other Norfolk cultural venues include the Attucks Theatre, the Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Canter (formerly the Loew's State Theater) and the Naro Expanded Cinema.
The revitalization of downtown Norfolk has helped to improve the Hampton Roads cultural scene. In particular, a large number of clubs, representing a wide range of music interests and sophistication now line the lower Granby Street area.
Norfolk celebrates the rich ethnic diversity of its population with sights, sounds, attractions and special events that pay tribute to the city’s long multicultural heritage.
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