By population, it is the fourteenth largest city in the United Kingdom and second largest on the island of Ireland. It is the seat of the devolvedgovernment and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly. The city of Belfast has a population of 281,000 and lies at the heart of the Belfast urban area, which has a population of 579,276. The Larger Urban Zone, as defined by the European Union, has a total population 641,638. Belfast was granted city status in 1888.
Historically, Belfast has been a centre for the Irish linen industry (earning the nickname "Linenopolis"), tobacco production, rope-making and shipbuilding: the city's main shipbuilders, Harland and Wolff, which built the well-known RMS Titanic, propelled Belfast on to the global stage in the early 20th century as the biggest and most productive shipyard in the world. Belfast played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, establishing its place as a global industrial centre until the latter half of the 20th century. Industrialisation and the inward migration it brought made Belfast, if briefly, the biggest city in Ireland at the turn of the 20th century and the city's industrial and economic success was cited by Ulster unionist opponents of Home Rule as a reason why Ireland should shun devolution and later why Ulster in particular would fight to resist it.
Murals in Northern Ireland have become symbols of Northern Ireland, depicting the region's past and present political and religious divisions.
Northern Ireland contains arguably the most famous political murals. Almost 2,000 murals have been documented in Northern Ireland since the 1970s. The murals tend to represent one side's political point of view, or commemorate an event or person(s) involved in the history of Northern Ireland, particularly during the Troubles.