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Albuquerque ( (listen) AL-bə-kur-kee; Spanish pronunciation: [alβu(ɾ)ˈkeɾke] (listen); Navajo: Beeʼeldííl Dahsinil [pèːʔèltíːl tɑ̀xsɪ̀nɪ̀l]; Eastern Keres: Arawageeki; Jemez: Vakêêke; Zuni: Alo:ke:k'ya; Jicarilla Apache: Gołgéeki'yé), abbreviated as ABQ, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of New Mexico, and the 32nd-most populous city in the United States. The city's nicknames are The Duke City and Burque, both of which reference its 1706 founding by Nuevo México governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdés as La Villa de Alburquerque. Named in honor of then Viceroy the 10th Duke of Alburquerque, the Villa was an outpost on El Camino Real for the Tiquex and Hispano towns in the area (such as Barelas, Corrales, Isleta Pueblo, Los Ranchos, and Sandia Pueblo). Since the city's founding it has continued to be included on travel and trade routes including Santa Fe Railway (ATSF), Route 66, Interstate 25, Interstate 40, and the Albuquerque International Sunport. The population census-estimated population of the city as 560,513 in 2019, it is the principal city of the Albuquerque metropolitan area, which has 915,927 residents as of July 2018. The metropolitan population includes Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Placitas, Zia Pueblo, Los Lunas, Belen, South Valley, Bosque Farms, Jemez Pueblo, Cuba, and part of Laguna Pueblo. This metro is included in the larger Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas combined statistical area (CSA), with a population of 1,171,991 as of 2016. The CSA constitutes the southernmost point of the Southern Rocky Mountain Front megalopolis, including other major Rocky Mountain region cities such as Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Denver, Colorado, with a population of 5,467,633 according to the 2010 United States Census.
Albuquerque serves as the county seat of Bernalillo County, and is in north-central New Mexico. The Sandia Mountains run along the eastern side of Albuquerque, and the Rio Grande flows north to south through its center, while the West Mesa and Petroglyph National Monument make up the western part of the city. Albuquerque has one of the highest elevations of any major city in the U.S., ranging from 4,900 feet (1,490 m) above sea level near the Rio Grande to over 6,700 feet (1,950 m) in the foothill areas of Sandia Heights and Glenwood Hills. The civic apex is found in an undeveloped area within the Albuquerque Open Space; there, the terrain rises to an elevation of approximately 6880+ feet (2,097 m).
The economy of Albuquerque centers on science, medicine, technology, commerce, education, entertainment, and culture outlets. The city is home to Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Presbyterian Health Services, and both the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College have their main campuses in the city. Albuquerque is the center of the New Mexico Technology Corridor, a concentration of high-tech institutions, including the metropolitan area being the location of Intel's Fab 11X In Rio Rancho and a Facebook Data Center in Los Lunas, Albuquerque was also the founding location of MITS and Microsoft. Film studios have a major presence in the state of New Mexico, for example Netflix has a main production hub at Albuquerque Studios. There are numerous shopping centers and malls within the city, including ABQ Uptown, Coronado, Cottonwood, Nob Hill, and Winrock. The city is the location of a horse racing track and casino called The Downs Casino and Racetrack, and the Pueblos surrounding the city feature resort casinos, including Sandia Resort, Santa Ana Star, Isleta Resort, and Laguna Pueblo's Route 66 Resort.
The city hosts the International Balloon Fiesta, the world's largest gathering of hot-air balloons, taking place every October at a venue referred to as Balloon Fiesta Park, with its 47-acre launch field. Another large venue is Expo New Mexico where other annual events are held, such as North America's largest pow wow at the Gathering of Nations, as well as the New Mexico State Fair. While other major venues throughout the metropolitan area include the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the University of New Mexico's Popejoy Hall, Santa Ana Star Center, and Isleta Amphitheater. Old Town Albuquerque's Plaza, Hotel, and San Felipe de Neri Church hosts traditional fiestas and events such as weddings, also near Old Town are the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Explora, and Albuquerque Biological Park. Located in Downtown Albuquerque are historic theaters such as the KiMo Theater, and near the Civic Plaza is the Al Hurricane Pavilion and Albuquerque Convention Center with its Kiva Auditorium. Due to its population size, the metropolitan area regularly receives most national and international music concerts, Broadway shows, and other large traveling events, as well as New Mexico music, and other local music performances.
Likewise, due to the metropolitan size, it is home to a diverse restaurant scene from various global cuisines, and the state's distinct New Mexican cuisine. Being the focus of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District gives an agricultural contrast, along acequias, to the otherwise heavily urban setting of the city. Crops such as New Mexico chile are grown along the entire Rio Grande, the red or green chile pepper is a staple of the aforementioned New Mexican cuisine. The Albuquerque metro is a major contributor of the Middle Rio Grande Valley AVA with New Mexico wine produced at several vineyards, it is also home to several New Mexican breweries. The river also provides trade access with the Mesilla Valley (containing Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas) region to the south, with its Mesilla Valley AVA and the adjacent Hatch Valley which is well known for its New Mexico chile peppers.
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