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Tucson is a unique community that combines Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and pioneer influences with cosmopolitan facilities and scenic beauty.
The name "Tucson" is derived from the Indian word "Stukshon," meaning "blue waters at the foot of black mountain." It has been continuously inhabited for more than 1,000 years.
Located in Pima County, the population is 1,020,200; however, it continues to retain the culture and flavor of the Old West, with its history dating back to Indian settlers in 800 A.D. and later to the Spanish Conquistadors. Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino first visited Tucson in 1692, and in 1700 he laid the foundation for the still active San Xavier Mission. Tucson became part of Mexico when that country gained its independence from Spain in 1821. The Gadsden Purchase in 1854 made Southern Arizona a territory, and in 1912 Arizona became the 48th state to enter the union.
In a desert valley just 60 miles from the Mexican border, Tucson is surrounded on all sides by four mountain ranges. The altitude ranges from 2,400 feet in the Tucson Valley to 9,300 feet atop Mt. Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north of the city. Tucson is renowned for its superb weather, boasting an average of 314 days of sunshine, with warm days and cool nights year-round. The valley climate is conducive to year-round bicycling, tennis, golf, swimming, and running. Yet, just a two-hour drive in wintertime brings you to the southernmost ski area in the U.S. Many are surprised that Tucson is quite green and lush, with a variety of cacti, bushes, and trees unique to the Sonoran Desert. Desert blooms celebrate spring and dramatic lightning displays accompany the summer rainy season.
Tucson is a progressive community and a cultural center. Entertainment on the professional level is provided by a resident symphony, an opera company, a ballet company, a repertory theater, museums of art, natural history, and pioneer history, and two zoos including the unique Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
For more information about Tucson, please visit http://www.visittucson.org/visitor/about/visitorcenter/.