One of the largest state capitals in the United States, Indianapolis is located in the center of Indiana, and is itself centered around Monument Circle, a neoclassical plaza with the 285-foot Soldiers & Sailors Monument. Founded in 1821, the city was designed by Alexander Ralston, an apprentice to Pierre L'Enfant during the planning of Washington, DC. His original plan called for a city of only one square mile, bordered by North, South, East, and West Streets, today's Mile Square. As part of the UNIGOV plan the city and most of Marion County merged in 1970, incorporating many previously suburban areas.
Major revitalization of the city's core business district began in the 1970s, and the momentum of new development, redevelopment, and preservation continues unabated. Today the city has a diversified economy including biomedical research, insurance, real estate management and development, and manufacturing. In recent years, Indianapolis has cast a new image as a center for amateur sporting activity and hosts many national and international events each year.
Indianapolis maintains active sister city relationships with Cologne, Germany, Monza, Italy, Piran, Slovenia, Taipei, Taiwan, and Scarborough, Canada, now incorporated into Greater Toronto.