Radiocarbon dating suggests human activity occurred in and around Sydney for at least 30,000 years.
The earliest British settlers called them Eora people.
The population of Sydney at the time of the 2011 census was 4.39 million, 1.5 million of which were born overseas, representing many different nationalities and making Sydney one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
Its natural features include Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park, Bondi Beach, and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Man-made attractions such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are also well known to international visitors.
The first people to inhabit the area now known as Sydney were indigenous Australians having migrated from northern Australia and before that from southeast Asia.
Sydney is the second official seat and second official residence of the Governor-General of Australia and the Prime Minister of Australia.
The Sydney area has been inhabited by indigenous Australians since the Upper Paleolithic period.
The first British settlers arrived in 1788 to found Sydney as a penal colony, the first European settlement in Australia.
Since convict transportation ended in the mid-19th century, the city has transformed from a colonial outpost into a major global cultural and economic centre.
The earliest Europeans to visit the area noted that the indigenous people were conducting activities such as camping and fishing, using trees for bark and food, collecting shells, and cooking fish.