Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe after the capital Harare, with an estimated metropolitan population in 2007 of 731 003. It is located in Matabeleland, 439 km southwest of Harare, and is now treated as a separate provincial area from Matabeleland. The capital of Matabeleland North is now Lupane, as Bulawayo is a stand-alone province.
Bulawayo is also known as the 'City of Kings', 'Skies', 'Bluez', 'Bulliesberg' or 'KoNtuthu ziyathunqa' – a SiNdebele word for 'a place of smoky fires'. It is a multicultural city with most residents able to speak at least three languages (including English, Ndebele, Shona, Xhosa, Kalanga, Sotho, Nambya, Tonga and Venda). The majority of the Bulawayo's population belongs to the Ndebele ethnic and language group, who descend from a 19th century Zulu migration and are a minority in Zimbabwe.
Bulawayo has long been and is still regarded as the industrial and business capital of Zimbabwe and is home to the National Railways of Zimbabwe because of its strategic position near Botswana and South Africa. It is the nearest large city to Hwange National Park, Matopo National Park and Victoria Falls