Boston, the wise old capital of the state of Massachusetts, harbours more than 375 years of tangible history that gracefully reveals itself through a series of architectural and cultural marvels. Boston fostered New England’s first intellectuals and gave rise to revolutions that left their mark on the history of the New World. Overshadowing the young colonies with its cultural and economic expansion, Boston witnessed the birth of the country of which it would become the economic, intellectual and political centre for most of the 19th century: the United States of America.
Known as the “cradle of American intellect” and the “Athens of America,” Boston’s prosperity grew at the same pace as its illustrious reputation. Boston has always been considered a little preppy, perhaps even a tad narcissistic. Is this the result of its Puritan legacy or of a pretentiousness that was brought about by its renowned learning institutions and cultural landmarks? Either way, Boston has every right to be proud of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University. These institutions are so significant that their students account for one quarter of Cambridge's population, and the revenues generated by these prestigious schools rank among the highest in the State of Massachusetts.
The city of Boston was built on the Shawmut Peninsula. Today, it is home to about 600,000 people (nearly 6,000,000 including the greater Boston area). The city faces Massachusetts Bay, at the mouth of the Charles River. Almost half of its 232km2 territory is covered by water: the Charles River, which separates Boston from Cambridge, Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay. Relatively small for a capital of its calibre, Boston has retained several architectural vestiges that bear witness to the city’s key role in the development of the United States of America.