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Phoenix is the state capital and largest city of Arizona. Metropolitan Phoenix lies in the Salt River Valley in central Arizona, also known as the 'Valley of the Sun.'
The area was occupied as early as 1300 AD by prehistoric Indians, now known as the Hohokam culture. Named after the legendary phoenix which had been consumed by fire but rose from its own ashes, this Sonoran Desert city would be incorporated in 1881 and flourish from the ancient Indian ruins.
The city's museums include the Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona Science Center, Phoenix Museum of History, Heritage Square, the Hall of Flame, and the Heard Museum.
Phoenix contains over 200 parks and mountain preserves. Papago Park, which contains the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo, lies within the city to the east. South Mountain Park lies south of downtown and is the world's largest city park.