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Miami today is a city full of emotion, colour and texture. It is hot, sexy and affects all the senses, a strong reflection of its growing Latin culture. Hardly the brash, drug-ridden crime capital of America that was made famous in the 1980s television series Miami Vice, today's booming metropolis has since been dubbed ‘America's Casablanca,' the ‘Magic City' and, more recently, the ‘America of the Millennium.'      These various appellations touch on one aspect of Miami that distinguishes it from other US cities - its identity as a truly multicultural American city. It is a gateway to South and Central America and the third most popular city in the United States for international visitors (after Los Angeles and New York). In fact, Miami just might be more Latin American than simply American.      Despite being a city famed for its sunny weather, spicy nightlife and fine dining, Miami had surprisingly humble beginnings. Located on the far south coast of Florida, perched between a mangrove swamp and a barrier reef, Miami was founded 100 years ago, when a tycoon called Henry Flagler extended his railroad to carry citrus fruits from the frost-free south. Development was slow until the Florida land boom in the 1920s. During Prohibition, Al Capone came here when the heat was on in Chicago.      After WWII, the Mafia moved in and later, once Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1959, waves of Cuban refugees arrived. Before long, they had established Miami as the Latin capital of the USA - with later mass immigration in the 1980s as well. The cultural climate the Cubans created in Miami inspired residents of other Latin American countries (Colombia, Dominica, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Haiti and others) to seek an escape from poverty or oppressive governments and emigrate. And now, Spanish is spoken as pervasively in Miami as English.      Yet the city is one of America's most ultramodern cities - the second largest in Florida (after Jacksonville) but easily its most exciting, exotic and cosmopolitan. Miami, known as Greater Miami and the Beaches or just Greater Miami for short, includes a number of islands and mainland communities, including two cities - Miami and Miami Beach.      Much of Miami's appeal is due to its diverse neighbourhoods, which range from the big-city, towering skyscrapers of downtown Miami (the commercial heart of the city) to Little Havana, home to the Cuban community, or to the trendy Miami Beach neighbourhood of South Beach. South Beach is probably most recognisably ‘Miami,' with its candy-coloured art deco buildings set against a pure South Florida backdrop of cloudless skies, dazzling blue ocean, pale sandy beaches and swaying palm trees.

If you would like to experience a bundle of positive emotions and exotic sensations, it is about time for you to visit Miami. This is one of America’s most rapidly evolving cities, with the Latin culture booming in it. Since the 1980s, when the Miami Vice series hit the TV screen, the city has been referred to as ‘America’s Casablanca’, the ‘America of the Millenium’ and ‘the Magic City’.     Miami concentrates numerous cultural trends, and this is actually the most intriguing thing about the place. After New York and Los Angeles, Miami is the most visited city in the United States. For Americans, the city serves as a gateway to Latin and South America, and there are so many traits of Latin American life in Miami that it looks even more like a Latin American city.     Miami was founded 100 years ago, when Henry Flagler built a railroad that was supposed to facilitate the transportation of fruits from the south. The city is located on the far south coast of Florida. In fact, the city’s history has a dreary beginning, and, to tell the truth, things were not very good here until the land boom in the 1920s. When the Prohibition came into force, Al Capone moved here from Chicago.     Criminal activity continued after WWII. The 1959 Cuban Revolution resulted in massive immigration of Cubans to the United States and particularly to Miami. That earned Miami the informal status of the United States’ Latin capital. There was another spate of immigration in the 1980s. The Cuban immigration rebounded all the way across Latin and South America, prompting residents of other countries (such as Columbia, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, etc.) to arrive in Miami, especially those seeking shelter from poverty and political repression. Today, in Miami, Spanish is as commonly spoken as English is.     Miami is the second largest city in Florida, and it is way ahead of many other American cities in terms of cosmopolitism and modernity. It looks different than most US cities. Compared to America’s other large and cosmopolitan cities, Miami is relatively compact in size. However, the city is often called Greater Miami and the Beaches, and its territory includes a number of islands. The city consists of two parts – Miami and Miami Beach.     What makes the city particularly attractive is its rich and variegated culture. This diversity is clearly observable in the large amount of neighborhoods, ranging from cosmopolitan high-rise downtown Miami to Little Havana, populated by Cuban immigrants. The Miami Beach neighborhood (South Beach) is actually the city’s trademark area, famous for its sophisticated architecture set on a splendid background of boundless oceanic waters, clear skies, yellowish beaches and exotic local flora.