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Cleveland, city of rock and roll, medicine, and sports

Seemingly quiet and unassuming, Ohio's second-largest city is best known for housing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as for having one of the most respected medical centers in the US. It's also where the writer/artist duo Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman.

Skopje, 9 November 2019 (MIA) – Seemingly quiet and unassuming, Ohio’s second-largest city is best known for housing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as for having one of the most respected medical centers in the US. It’s also where the writer/artist duo Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman.

Founded in 1796, Cleveland was one of the wealthiest cities in the USA one hundred years ago, producing steel and iron for famous industrialist John Davison Rockefeller. However, with the decline of industry in the second half of the 20th century, the city came to a temporary standstill, facing poverty, unemployment, and rising crime.

Cleveland is situated in the Northeast of the USA, approximately 60 km from Canada, where the river Cuyahoga—Native American for “crooked river”—flows into Lake Erie. The lake’s currents are considerably strong and create big waves, which, when coupled with the winds coming from Canada, often sink boats, claiming 65 lives since the beginning of this year alone.

The names of Cleveland and sports icon LeBron James go hand in hand. James began his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, then left to win his first championship title in 2012 for the Miami Heat. Nevertheless, Clevelanders are proud of James’s achievements – four-time NBA Player of the Year and three-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.

Basketball and LeBron James aside, Cleveland is a city of baseball as well. If you have the luck to stay in Cleveland during a baseball game, you will truly experience the spirit of this sport.

On game days, everything and everyone bears the logo of the city’s home team, the Cleveland Indians, with street vendors selling t-shirts, badges, and all sorts of souvenirs for symbolic prices.

Still, the main landmark of Cleveland is the fascinating, pyramid-shaped Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located in the center of the city. With its prominent “Long Live Rock” greeting visitors at the entrance, the museum spans six floors full of memorabilia from famous rock and roll musicians. It also features videos of their performances.

This museum takes its patrons on a generation-spanning tour across rock and roll history, starting from The Beatles, moving on to Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, U2, Taylor Swift, and many other stars who have left a permanent mark on the genre.

The building itself is the work of Chinese architect Ieoh Ming Pei, who also designed the Louvre Pyramid.

Pei’s initial idea was to build a 61 m tall tower, but due to its proximity to the airport, the final design was sized down to 49 m.

Cleveland narrowly won the bid to host the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, beating out New York City, Memphis, and Cincinnati. City officials lobbied relentlessly for the museum to be built in their city, promising to contribute 65 million dollars towards the construction.

They also argued that rock and roll’s fame stemmed mostly from the promotion of radio DJ Alan Freed, and that the first rock and roll concert was hosted in Cleveland.

The city lives for rock and roll. Vibrantly colored guitar exhibits draw the gaze and wonder of passengers in the nearby airport from the moment they touch down on the runways.

Cleveland also has strong ties to classical music, featuring a top-tier symphonic orchestra and a famous radio station hosted and operated by 86-year-old journalist Robert Conrad.

Having developed a love for radio at the age of five, Conrad is still enthusiastic about classical music and his career. Even after an impressive 70 years on the job, he still shows up at work every day.

Cleveland is also known as the city of biomedicine. Its crown jewel is the Cleveland Clinic, a renowned academic campus featuring a school of medicine, dentistry, and alternative medicine. The American Cancer Association hosts events annually in this part of the city, and the region is so well-developed that it features an around-the-clock bus service, HealthLine, and even has its own postal code.

The city takes great pride in its skyscrapers, too, and the 32 botanical gardens littered among them.

Rich in vegetation, many of the gardens are themed according to the communities that funded their creation. There are gardens featuring the flora of Italy, Russia, and China, though there is, regrettably, no Macedonian garden.

The Cleveland Museum of Art, one of the largest museums in the USA, is near the gardens. This museum displays works of art from nearly every country on Earth and is one of the world’s most visited museums, rounding out the city’s rich mosaic of culture and art.

A quintessential American city, Cleveland entices with a mixture of both classical and new architecture. Old buildings exist alongside the new, modern style of skyscrapers. However, they are more than just a simple reminder of the past, having been turned into hotels, bars, and cafes always buzzing with tourists.

Biljana Anastasova-Kostikj

Translated by Dragana Knežević

Edited by Magdalena Reed

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