San Francisco is located on the west coast of the United States in the San Francisco Bay Area and, with a population of 800,000, is the fourth most populous city in California. It is also one of the most densely populated cities in the United States – with a population density of 6,115 inhabitants per square kilometer. The city is largely surrounded by water – the Pacific Ocean in the west and San Francisco Bay. The city also has several islands, such as Alcatraz and Treasure Island. The city also includes the uninhabited Farallon Islands in the Pacific Ocean, 43 kilometers from the city.
The main city center covers an area of about 11 x 11 km and is characterized by uneven terrain with more than fifty hills. Some city districts, such as Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, Potrero Hill or Telegraph Hill, are also named after the hills on which the city lies.
According to IAMACCEPTED.COM, San Francisco is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world due to the large number of attractions and monuments. Many even call it one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is a sought-after pearl of the western United States. It is popular for its Victorian architecture and attractive hilly terrain. San Francisco is said to be the most European city in the world. San Francisco is especially unique for its location in the Golden Gate Bay, which is crossed by the famous Red Gate Bridge, which has become a symbol of the city.
The Golden Gate Strait in San Francisco Bay was ideal for building the city of the same name. Today, together with other cities on the Gulf Coast, such as San José and Oakland, it forms an agglomeration of about 6 million. However, the original inhabitants have visited this area for more than 10,000 years. The first European to reach the local shores was the Spanish explorer Don Gaspar de Portola in 1770. Six years later, the first Spanish mission was established here – Mission San Francisco de Asis – now Mission Dolores.
The first building in the city was a small military fortress, which stood on the site now called Presidio. On the island of Alcatraz, the Spaniards had a small village called Yerba Buena built. The territory first fell to the Mexicans, although it became isolated but independent. Once California was conquered by United States troops, the village was renamed San Francisco in 1847. The small town located in an inhospitable landscape has become a sought-after location within two years. This was mainly due to the gold rush, which broke out in these places in 1848 and caused a large wave of immigration. In 1849, the population increased from 1,000 to 25,000. Banking, mining, and railroads developed in the city, all of which attracted major economic power to San Francisco.
The city is located in a tectonically very turbulent area and is quite often affected by earthquakes. The worst consequences were caused by the earthquake in 1906, when about 80% of the city, including its historic core, was destroyed by earthquakes and a subsequent fire, and about 3,000 people lost their lives at that time. Another major earthquake came in 1989, when a large number of roads and paths were destroyed.
In 1936 and 1937, the Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge were opened in San Francisco, which significantly helped the accessibility of the city and thus also increased the population. Today, the city is an important traffic junction, with the cities of Berkeley and Oakland connected not only by these bridges, but also by the Bart subway. In the second half of the 20th century, the city became attractive to painters, writers, musicians and hippies. It also became a center where homosexuals from all over the United States met. Today, the Castro district is home to the largest population of gay men in the world. At the end of the 19th century, 4 universities were built here.
There’s a lot to see in San Francisco, and it won’t take you a week to get to know the city. You can visit the Museum of Asian Art, Chinatown, plenty of galleries, the Beatnik Vesuvio Café or the modern Financial District. Public transport in the city is also provided by the unique historic Cable Car trams, which are pulled by steel ropes run underground. Nearby in the sea is the famous Alcatraz prison, where the famous mobster Al Capone was serving his sentence. The city is also home to some of the most prestigious universities – Stanford and Berkeley. A good landmark is the Transamerica Pyramid Building on the corner of Washington and Columbus Streets. At 257 meters, it is by far the tallest building in San Francisco.
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
The San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park is located on the outskirts of San Francisco, California. Here you can see historic ships, a submarine that is made into a museum, a well-equipped library and many other interesting exhibits. From 1951, the place was called the San Francisco Maritime Museum, but in 1978, when it was registered with the National Park Service, it was renamed to its current form.
Probably the first naval exhibit that every visitor to San Francisco will see upon arrival at the port is the submarine USS Pampanito. This diesel submarine was built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and first launched on July 12, 1943. During its time in the Pacific until 1945, it had 6 ships and 73 rescued wrecks. It has served as a memorial in San Francisco since 1975 and is open to the public every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The ship is also interesting for visitors because it acted in the comedy “Periscope Up, Periscope Down”. Visitors can walk around the boat without a guide.
Another attractive attraction in the park is the Liberty-class cargo ship “Jeremiah O’Brien”, which is still seaworthy today and has its original configuration. It is also open to the public and holds several ceremonial cruises each year. For example, in 1997, the ship embarked on a long journey through the Panama Canal to the Atlantic and further to the shores of England and France. At that time, its crew consisted of old “sea wolves”, whose age was on average around 70 years. These ships were 134.57 m long, 17.34 m wide, and with a draft of 8.46 m had a carrying capacity of 10,684 tons of cargo. They reached speeds of 11 to 11.5 knots. The ship is open to the public every day until 4 pm.
Perhaps the most impressive and oldest exhibit of the museum is the three-masted Balclutha. It is a merchant ship that was built in 1886 in Scotland and was never used for military purposes. She regularly sailed between Europe and San Francisco with a load of coal and various other products. The San Francisco Maritime Museum purchased the ship in 1954 for $ 250,000. Subsequently, it was renovated and exhibited to the public. In 1985, it was declared a national historical monument.
In addition to the ships already mentioned, the museum also includes the Eureka paddle steamer, the Eppleton Hall paddle steam tug and the Hercules steam tug and the museum buildings. Admission to the museum is $ 5, at which price visitors can move around the complex completely freely and see what they are interested in. Photography is also allowed. It is open daily from 09:30 until 17:30.