Birmingham is the second largest city in the United Kingdom after London. It is one of the youngest cities in Europe: around 40% of its citizens are younger than 25. Some more interesting facts about Birmingham:
1. The city is known as Brum and it boasts more than 600 parks and open spaces with a surface of more than 8,000 acres.
2. The city has been a market town in medieval times and today continues to be a major shopping city, being the third most popular place to shop in the UK. Iconic brands like Cadbury Chocolate HP Sauce and Typhoo Tea originate from Birmingham as well.
3. Brum is a paradise for foodies – apart from London, in Birmingham, you can find more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else in the UK. The city is also known for the “Balti Triangle”, an area full of restaurants, specialized in the Anglo-Punjabi speciality, Balti cuisine.
4. The history of the Birmingham Balti stretches back in the late 70s, when curry chefs adapted the dish to suit Western tastes, making it lighter and healthier. The dish is cooked in a thin steel bowl, over a hot flame and served in the same bowl, that gives the dish its name. The idea is to keep the curry hot.
5. Birmingham has more canals than Venice, 35 miles to be more precise, so in total 9 miles more than the famous Italian city, and most of them navigable. Taking a boat trip gives a totally different perspective of the city and its sights – industrial mills, workshops and warehouses, and the Cube, one of the city landmarks.
6. The city is also famous for its Jewellery Quarter, with the highest concentration of jewelry shops in Europe. In an area of around 1 sq.km. there are over 100 independent retailers and craftspeople. The area has a long history, stretching back over 200 years and more than 200 buildings are listed for conservation.
7. The Library of Birmingham is the largest public library in Europe with around 2 million visitors annually and 8 million books lent every year. It ranks in the top 10 of the most visited attractions in the UK.
8. Few people know, that The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are inspired by Birmingham and its surrounding countryside. J. R. Tolkien grew up in the city and its landscape influenced its most famous works.
9. Brum is the home of the Cadbury’s chocolate. This iconic for the British brand produces the most favorite confectionery, namely the iconic Dairy Milk chocolate bar. In the 19th century, John Cadbury began selling tea, coffee and drinking chocolate in Birmingham and later on received a Royal Warrant as manufacturers of chocolate and cocoa to Queen Victoria. Many believe, that Roald Dahl got its inspiration for the Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory by Cadbury’s chocolate.
10. Birmingham is famous for its festival and events program. Any kind of art form is covered – music, dance, film, theatre, visual art, and it is taking place all year round!