Named for the ancient Egyptian capital on the Nile, Memphis is best known for the rise and fall of two men who led vastly different movements. Elvis Presley rocketed to fame here in the mid-1950s. And it was here on April 4, 1968, that the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.
But Memphis culture also draws heavily on its early 20th-century role in giving birth to the blues. Favorite son WC Handy composed the first published blues tune just before WWI, making Memphis the home of the blues and Beale St its address.
Today, the dockside city retains a certain soulful grittiness from a history replete with cotton, riverboats and blues. Highlights include the famous Sun Studios, where Presley made his first recordings; Graceland, Presley's estate; and the glossy stretch of clubs and cafes on Beale St.
Facts for the traveller
Off the beaten track