Richmond has been the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1780. That's the stable part of its identity. What this town is constantly trying to define is its culture: a welcoming, warm Southern city on the one hand, and part of the international milieu of the Northeast Corridor on the other, Maybe it's better to throw away that dichotomy and say Richmond is the northernmost city of the New South: grounded in tradition yet international, well-educated on the one hand, but full of income disparities and social tensions on the other.
This is a handsome town, full of red-brick and brownstone rowhouses that leave a softer impression than their sometimes-staid Northeastern counterparts. History is ubiquitous and, sometimes, uncomfortable; this was where patriot Patrick Henry gave his famous 'Give me Liberty, or give me Death!' speech, and where the slave-holding Southern Confederate States placed their capital. Today a population of students and young professionals makes the 'River City' a lot more fun then you may expect.