Bismarck is the capital of the U.S. state of North Dakota, the county seat of Burleigh County, and the second most populous city in North Dakota after Fargo. Its population was 55,532 at the 2000 census. Its metropolitan population was 94,719 in 2000, but was estimated in 2008 to have grown to 104,944. Bismarck was founded in 1872 and has been North Dakota's capital since it gained statehood in 1889.
Bismarck is situated on the east bank of the Missouri River, directly across the river from Mandan.  The two cities make up the core urban area of the Bismarck-Mandan Metropolitan Statistical Area
The North Dakota State Capitol, the tallest building in the state, towers over the central part of Bismarck. The state government employs many people within the city. As a hub of manufacturing, retail trade, and health care, Bismarck is the economic center of a large portion of south-central North Dakota and north-central South Dakota.
The Belle Mehus Auditorium, a historic building in downtown Bismarck dating to 1914, is a center for the arts in the metropolitan area. Northern Plains Dance and Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra hold their performances there.
Theater companies in Bismarck include Sleepy Hollow Summer Theatre, the Shade Tree Players children's theater group, Dakota Stage Ltd, University of Mary, Bismarck State College, and various high school groups. The Gannon and Elsa Forde Art Galleries are at Bismarck State College. The Missouri Valley Chamber Orchestra, founded in 2000, is the community's newest orchestra and performs a variety of musical genres.
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