Mt McKinley, Denali National Park © Judith Duk
Alaska's largest city is the hub of the state, and
its central position, comparatively mild temperatures and
outstanding transport system to and from the rest of the country,
have made it an important destination for travellers.
Perched on the edge of a vast beautiful wilderness,
Anchorage is encompassed in scenic splendour, surrounded by
mountains, forest, rivers and tundra; a short drive in any
direction offers an abundant variety of wilderness experiences.
The city started out in 1915 as a tented camp for the
workers on the Alaska Railroad, and with the later discovery of oil
at Prudhoe Bay and the construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline,
Anchorage's development was fast and furious. Today this sprawling
city is full of life, with an array of dining options, a thriving
music scene, theatres, and museums.
Its conservative, transient character is due in part
to the fact that many of its residents are from other parts of the
US, working for a few years and then moving on. The rest of the
population is made up of Alaskan indigenous peoples, oil workers,
gold seekers, loggers, and fishermen, together with the moose and
occasional bear that wander into town. As a cosmopolitan urban
area, it has similarities with other small American cities, but
still retains a uniquely Alaskan feel.
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