SAN FRANCISCO is financial center of the west, and the largest port on the Pacific coast. It is America's most international city speaking in more than 30 languages .San Francisco is called "the Paris of the West", and "Gateway to the Orient". It is hometown of the famous American author Jack London . San Francisco is situated on a peninsula between Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay on the seven hills connected by cabel cars . Its area is 45 sq.ml. The population is over 715,000 . In 1579 , Sir Francis Drake stopped in the vicinity on his voyage around the world .In 1776 a mission and fort were founded at the site . In 1846 , during the Mexican War , a U.S naval force took Yerba Buena /Good Grass/, the settlement that had grown up . The community got the name of its bay named after St.Francis by Spanish voyagers in 1595 .
In 1848, the Californian gold rush began . Newcomers from all over the world gave the city a cosmopolitan air. After the earthquake of 1906 San Francisco was rebuilt and continued to expand.
Ther are two Bay Bridges built in the 1930s . The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge built in 1936 is over 14 km long . The Golden Bay Bridge built in 1937 is shorter /1280 m/ but more impressive.
San Francisco is famous for its historic cable car, Chinatown -the country's largest-with its Oriental architecture , tearooms and tenpfes; little Italy, with its pizzerias, and Japantown. Telegraph Hill which signaled arrival of ships, and Nob Hill, once a home of millionaires . Also of interest are :Fisherman's Wharf; Golden Gate Park; with its planetarium, museum of natural history, agurium and flower gardens ; the Presidio, major Army installation ; mission Dolores , the Veterans War Memorial Building, and the Civic Center . The Cow Palace is the home of political conventions , sports events, аnd livestock exhibitions. The Union Sguare is the commercial heart of the city.