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Birmingham is often referred to as 'The Second City', as it is the largest city in the UK, aside from the capital, London. Situated in the heart of England, the city serves the greater borough of the West Midlands as its administration centre.
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Birmingham has hosted many major sports, music and cultural events, and is set to become a European City of Culture in 2008. Recent highlights include:
The NEC Group manage the 4 biggest performance venues in the city, hosting over 200 major exhibitions and events each year, which now makes it the busiest exhibition centre in the whole of Europe.
Being a very multicultural city, there are many different languages spoken. However, the primary language is English.
The city has existed as a trade centre since Saxon times and the tradition has continued through to present day. During the industrial age, foundaries were built around the area, then the canal, road and rail networks grew north and south, bringing more industry to the area. The Jewellery Quarter and the Gun Quarter still exist today as do many of the car manufacturing plants. However, today the city is much more well known for its shops. Following a multi-million pound investment, the last 10 years have seen the city transform into a thriving commercial centre. The new Bullring centre, The Mailbox and many other rejuvenation projects in the city centre have bought many London and European fashion houses and major store retailers to the city centre.
As with the rest of the UK, our currency is Pound Sterling (GBP). If you arrive with Euros, there are plenty of banks, building societies, bureau de changes and post offices around the city, that will all provide a currency exchange service.