Norfolk is located at the core of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, named for the large natural harbor of the same name located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. It is one of nine cities and seven counties that constitute the Hampton Roads metro area, officially known as the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA. The city is bordered to the west by the Elizabeth River and to the north by the Chesapeake Bay. It also shares land borders with the independent cities of Chesapeake to its south and Virginia Beach to its east. Norfolk is one of the oldest cities in Hampton Roads, and is considered to be the historic, urban, financial, and cultural center of the region.
The city has a long history as a strategic military and transportation point, where many railroad lines started. Norfolk was the terminus of the Atlantic and Danville Railway in 1890. The largest naval base in the world, Naval Station Norfolk, is located in Norfolk along with one of NATO’s two Strategic Command headquarters. The city also has the corporate headquarters of Norfolk Southern Railway, one of North America’s principal Class I railroads, however the company is currently in the process of relocating their headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia. Norfolk is also home to Maersk Line, Limited, which manages the world’s largest fleet of US-flag vessels. As the city is bordered by multiple bodies of water, Norfolk has many miles of riverfront and bayfront property, including beaches on the Chesapeake Bay.
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