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Known locally and historically as Derry, Londonderry is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland, by population, next to Belfast.

The River Foyle flows through the city. Historically, Derry was on the west side of the river, but it now extends to both sides. The west side is known as Cityside, while the east side is known as Waterside. The east and west sides of the city are joined by two road bridges and a footbridge.

Although Derry occupies a place in the northwestern part of Northern Ireland, it is a border city, as a portion of the Republic of Ireland extends north, along Northern Ireland's western border.

The name of the city has long been in dispute, as it is a matter of contention between nationalists and unionists. With some exceptions, nationalists favour the name Derry, which is an anglicisation of the Irish Doire, while the unionists prefer Londonderry. Legally, the city is named Londonderry, although the local government district containing the city is called Derry City and Strabane, and the city council refers to itself as the Derry City Council.

The earliest Irish name for the site of the current city was Daire Calgaich, meaning "oak wood of Calgach", for an unknown pagan. A Celtic Christian monastery was founded there in the 6th century, and, as the monastery grew in prominence, the name was shortened to Doire, and later anglicized to Derry.

The Irish Society, a consortium of livery companies in London, paid to build the walled city across the River Foyle from the old site in the early 1600s, and, in recognition of this investment, the 1613 city charter renamed the city Londonderry, and the county created by the same charter was also named Londonderry.

This wasn't a significant point of contention until the outbreak of the Troubles in the 1960s and 1970s. While its formal name was Londonderry, most people in Northern Ireland referred to it as Derry.

Derry became a focal point for a civil rights movement in Northern Ireland during the 1960s. Discriminated against by the Unionist government in Northern Ireland, Catholics were nevertheless in the majority in Derry. A 1968 civil rights demonstration was banned by the government, and blocked by the Royal Ulster Constabulary. This resulted in a large 3-day riot by residents of the Catholic residents of Derry's Bogside district, who clashed with the Constabulary and loyalists. Known as the Battle of the Bogside, this event sparked widespread violence throughout Northern Ireland, and this widespread violence became known as the Troubles.

Although the Troubles have ceased, sensitivities remain, and the name of the city has played a part in this. Although several efforts have been made to unite the city, Protestants and unionists live on the eastern side of the river (Waterside), while the rest of Derry is mostly Catholic and nationalist.

With some exceptions, the city is Derry to the Catholics and Londonderry to the Protestants.

Built as a symbol of commitment to unity, the Peace Bridge opened in 2011. The bicycle and footbridge is the newest of three bridges crossing the River Foyle in Derry, the others being road bridges, the Craigavon Bridge and the Foyle Bridge.

The topography of Derry is hilly. The river forms a deep valley as it flows through the city. The original walled city is on a hill on the west bank of the river. At one time, the river branched to enclose this hill as an island. However, over the years, the western branch of the river dried up and became the boggy region now known as the Bogside.

Today, the city extends north and west of the city walls, east of the river, and into the more rural areas to the southeast.

Derry is known for its architecture. Constructed between 1613 and 1619, the city walls are at the centre of the history city of Derry, and they have never been breached. Within the walls are the Apprentice Boy's Hall and St. Columb's Cathedral, the first Protestant cathedral built for that purpose within the city.

Other significant architecture in Derry include Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demense, part of the 18th-century estate of Earl/Bishop Frederick Hervey. The current structure known as Derry Guildhall was built in 1890 after its predecessor was destroyed during the 1689 Siege of Derry. Today, it is the meeting place of the Derry City and Strabane District Council, but is also open to the public for tours.

Situated just inside the city walls, within Union Hall Place, the Tower Museum includes a viewing platform at the top of the tower.

There are several other museums and historical places within the city highlighting its architecture, struggles, and triumphs over the centuries.

Topics related to the city of Derry/Londonderry are the focus of this portion of our guide. These may include any organizations, businesses, or places within the city.


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