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Points of Interest: Sunderland
Sunderland can trace its origins back to 674AD and the founding of Wearmouth-Jarrow monastery on the North Bank of the River Wear at Monkwearmouth which still stands today as St Peter’s Church. Three original settlements can be found on the site of the modern day city, as Bishopwearmouth was founded on the south bank of the river in 930AD while a small fishing village called Sunderland was granted charter in 1179AD. The region grew as a port, becoming a major influence on the salt and coal trades throughout the middle ages.
Shipbuilding also took place on the river in the 14th Century, in order to ward of the threat of invasion, and gradually the three regions of Sunderland combined as the port grew. Bridges were constructed across the river to link the sites.
Sunderland was attacked by a Zeppelin during the First World War and bombed heavily by the Luftwaffe in the Second World War. Widespread damage in the latter conflict disrupted the city but several fine old buildings remain, providing fantastic insight into the architecture and culture of the region.
With the decline of heavy industries in the second half of the 20th Century came the introduction of modern technologies, with electronic, chemical, paper and motor manufacturers basing themselves in the city.
The first European factory to be built by a Japanese car maker was developed in 1986 when Nissan set up base in Sunderland.
Wide scale regeneration projects followed from 1990 onwards as housing retail parks and business centres were constructed on the old and unused shipbuilding sites.
The University of Sunderland developed a new campus while other regeneration projects showcase a modern finish on historical foundations. More recently in 2014 Sunderland City Council agreed an £800 million deal to redevelop the site of the former Vaux brewery as well as other key areas of the city.
Sunderland has not forgotten its roots when redeveloping the local area though and there are reminders of days gone by to be found across the city; interspersed with more modern features like the wide range of bars, art galleries, casinos and theatres which provide modern entertainment.
Today, Sunderland can therefore appeal to a wide variety of tastes and has grown into a thriving metropolis for the North East region offering attractions and entertainment both indoors and out.