Belfast is the largest city in Northern Ireland (or the Irish Province of Ulster), with a population of 500,000 - a third of Northern Ireland's population. It is the seat of government for Northern Ireland, and in times past this was located at Hillsborough fort. Belfast is the county town for County Antrim.
The name Belfast originates from the Irish Beal Feirste, or the mouth of the Farset, the river on which the city was built. Interestingly, the river Farset has been superceded by the River Lagan as the most important river, and languishes under Bridge Street in obscurity.
Belfast is situated at the mouth of the River Lagan at Belfast Lough and is surrounded by hills (Black Mountain and Cavehill - The famous Napoleon's nose is a basaltic outcrop here which forms the border with neighbouring Glengormley). The Lagan riverfront has been regenerated, and much of the city centre is pedestrianised.
The City Hall, dating from 1903, Queen's University (1849) and other Victorian and Edwardian buildings display a large number of sculptures. Among the grandest buildings are two former banks: Ulster Bank (1860) and Northern Bank (1769).
It has two airports Belfast City Airport adjacent to Belfast Lough and Belfast International Airport which is near Lough Neagh.