Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England, United Kingdom. With a population of 303,475 at the 2001 Census (306,000 est. 2007), Coventry is the ninth largest city in England and the eleventh largest in the United Kingdom. It is also the second largest city after Birmingham in the English Midlands by population. It was also the world's first 'twin city' when it formed a twinning relationship with the Russian city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) during World War II. The city is also twinned with Dresden, Germany and 27 others around the world.
Coventry is famous for its modern Cathedral, which was built following the World War II bombing of the old cathedral by the Luftwaffe. Coventry has since developed an international reputation as one of Europe's major cities of peace and reconciliation, centred around its Cathedral, and holds an annual Peace Month. Coventry is also notable because Coventry motor companies have contributed significantly to the British motor industry, and also because it has two universities, the city centre-based Coventry University and the University of Warwick on the southern outskirts. Coventry is also famous for the legendary 11th century exploits of Lady Godiva.
Residents and those born in the city are called "Coventrians" (or in the vernacular locally "Cov Kids").
Coventry suffered severe bomb damage during World War II, most notoriously from a massive German air raid (the "Coventry Blitz") on 14 November 1940. This destroyed most of the historic city centre and Coventry's historic Cathedral. Aside from London and Plymouth, Coventry suffered more damage than any other British city during the Luftwaffe attacks, with huge firestorms devastating most of the city centre. The city was targeted due to its high concentration of armaments, munitions and engine plants which contributed greatly to the British war effort. Following the raids, the majority of Coventry's historic buildings could not be saved as they were in ruinous states or were deemed unsafe for any future use, although several were later demolished simply to make way for modern developments. Despite this, only a few tower blocks were built although many housing estates were constructed.
In the postwar years Coventry was largely rebuilt under the general direction of the Gibson Plan, gaining a new pedestrianised shopping precinct (the first of its kind in Europe on such a scale) and the much-celebrated new St Michael's Cathedral in 1962 (incorporating the world's largest tapestry).
Coventry's motor industry boomed during the 1950s and 1960s but during the 1970s the British motor industry underwent decline and Coventry suffered badly as a result. By the early 1980s Coventry had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. In recent years the city has recovered with newer industries locating there, although the motor industry continues to decline.