Dordrecht is a port city in in South Holland province (western Netherlands). By population (around 120,000, metro 290,000) the city is ranked province's 4th-largest. The municipality includes Dordrecht Island (aka Het Eiland van Dordt / Dordt Island), which is bordered by 5 rivers (Oude Maas, Beneden Merwede, Nieuwe Merwede, Hollands Diep, Dordtsche Kil).
Dordrecht is the largest among South Holland's Drecht cities (Alblasserdam, Dordrecht, Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, Papendrecht, Sliedrecht, Zwijndrecht). The city is also part of the megalopolis Randstad (consisting of Holland's 4 largest Dutch cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht).
The town was established in the early 11th century and granted city status in 1220, which makes it Holland's oldest city. Due to its strategig location, in 12th-13th centuries the town became an important market trading in wine, wood, cereals. Its first school (Johan de Witt Gymnasium) was founded in 1253, making it Holland's oldest. Following the flooding of 1421, Dordrecht became an island.
In the 18th century, city's importance waned as Rotterdam became the region's main city. During WW2 (1939-1945), in May 1940, when the German army invaded Holland, many buildings in the city were destroyed. In 1970, Dubbeldam and part of Sliedrecht merged into Dordrecht, making the entire Dordrecht Island one municipality.
Among the city's main tourist attractions are Grote Kerk (Big Church with 67 bells / the largest of which weighs nearly 10 tons / Holland's heaviest), Augustijnenkerk (Augustinian Church and Monastery), Nieuwkerk (New Church buit 1175 / city's oldest building), Munt van Holland (Mint of Holland, built 1366, now music school), Kyck over den Dyck (city's last windmill, built 1612, used for malt production by beer brewers), Groothoofdspoort (original city gate built 14th-15th centuries), Arend Maartenshof (Court built 1625), Stadhuis (city hall, built 1383), Biesbosch (national park, one of Holland's largest).
Traditionally for Holland, Dordrecht has numerous river quais and canals, merchant houses, museums, around 20 annual festivals. City's economy is based on shipbuilding, wood and steel industries. By cargo shipping volume, its seaport is ranked Holland's 6th largest port. Dordrecht also has Holland's longest shopping street (Voorstraat) wit hlength 1200 m (3940 ft).
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