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The idea was to conjure up a slice of Middle Eastern splendor, in Florida.The result -- the town of Opa-locka -- came to house the largest concentration of Moorish revival architecture in the United States. Now, however, it is just another poor, crumbling American community, albeit one fighting to resurrect itself with art. The surge saw other communities also arise with particular kinds of architecture such as Coral Gables, with Mediterranean-style buildings, or Miami Springs and its taste of the Spanish missions that dotted the U.S. southwest.While the town was under construction, however, the real estate bubble burst.Twenty buildings here feature on the national registry of historic buildings, including town hall, which boasts towering minarets, six domes and ample gardens.The Opa-locka Community Development Corporation has spearheaded efforts to give the town a facelift, especially with art projects but also through housing construction and restoration of public parks and other green areas -- all with public and private subsidies.
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