Port Elizabeth stands on the underbelly of South Africa, nestling in a wide bay, the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country and, by reputation, the friendliest.
It is a place weighed down by epithets. Dubbed the "Detroit of South Africa" because of its vehicle assembly plants, it might also be known as the "Chicago of South Africa" on account of the wind that often whips across Algoa Bay.
The city stands apart in the country's history: as home to the Xhosa people, as the site of the first recorded European landing, by Portuguese explorer Stet Bartholomew Diaz, in 1488, and as the precise place where 4 000 British settlers arrived in 1820.
Much of this period's ambience is retained in exceptional 19th century architecture of The Hill, the oldest residential area, but Port Elizabeth was also a city at the forefront of the liberation struggle, the place that produced heroes such as Steve Biko.
Respectful of its past, the city now embraces the future as a prime tourist destination. New developments along the beachfront, now a vibrant water sports centre, complement nearby attractions such as the surfing paradise at Jeffrey's Bay.
No visiting team ever anticipates an easy match in Port Elizabeth. The city's sporting lore has always been built on a tradition of physical commitment.
However, resolve on the field is matched by warm hospitality off the field and the city has frequently proved a successful host for major international sporting events.
The Eastern Province RFU Stadium, situated five minutes from the beach and five minutes from the airport, was a host venue for the 1996 African Cup of Nations and also staged four matches during the 1995 Rugby World Cup. The St George's Park cricket stadium was selected as one of the semi-final venues for the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup.
The Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, is to be specially built for 2010, with a capacity of 50 000. It will host five first-round matches, one second-round, one quarter-final, and the third-place playoff.
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