The Ave Maria Grotto, located at Southern Benedictine College near Cullman, contains miniature reproductions of the Vatican and of temples, mosques, and churches from around the world. Bellingrath Gardens, set on a bluff near Mobile, are filled with thousands of colorful flowering plants.
The Boll Weevil Monument, at Enterprise, was erected “in profound appreciation of the boll weevil, and what it has done to herald prosperity,” after the insect had destroyed most of the 1910 cotton crop and farmers had turned as a result to the cultivation of peanuts. Birmingham’s Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens, used as headquarters by General J. H. Wilson in his raid through the state in 1865, is one of the most frequently visited sites associated with the American Civil War (1861-1865).
Another is the First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, the home of President Jefferson Davis during the early months of the Confederacy.
The State Capitol in Montgomery is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the nation. It served as the first capitol of the Confederacy. Ivy Green, an ivy-covered frame cottage in Tuscumbia, was the birthplace and childhood home of Helen Keller, the renowned author and lecturer.
A huge statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and the patron of metalworkers, stands on Red Mountain overlooking the city of Birmingham. The 17-m (55-ft) statue is mounted on a 37-m (120-ft) tower and is said to be the largest iron statue in the world. The battleship Alabama, anchored in Mobile Bay and open to the public, attracts many visitors.
The Civil Rights Memorial, in Montgomery, honors 40 people who lost their lives in support of the civil rights movement between 1954 and 1968. The monument was designed by architect Maya Lin, who also designed the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Mardi Gras is a legal holiday in Alabama. It is celebrated in Mobile by an annual five-day carnival ending traditionally on Shrove Tuesday. Another popular event is the Azalea Spectacular, a flower festival held in Mobile in February or March. A similar festival, the annual Birmingham Rose Show, is held in May. Classic plays are staged each summer at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival at Anniston. Annual sporting events include the Alabama Shooting Trials, held at Union Springs in the fall, and the River Boat Regatta, held at Guntersville in August. Three post-season college football games, the Senior Bowl, the Hall of Fame Bowl, and the Blue-Gray Classic, are played annually at Mobile, Birmingham, and Montgomery, respectively. Two major automobile races are held each year at the Talladega Superspeedway.
Alabama has a strong tradition of college football. It is the home of one of the nation’s most intense intrastate rivalries, that between Auburn University and the University of Alabama. Notable sports personalities from Alabama colleges include football coach Bear Bryant, football players Joe Namath and Bo Jackson, basketball player Charles Barkley, and track star Jesse Owens, winner of four gold medals during the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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