The Town Hall of Manchester
(photo by Jorge-11)
A few cities in the UK and Europe as a whole can rival Manchester in terms of modernity and contemporary urban outlook. The city is famous for different things, from one of the world's richest football clubs - Manchester United to the English longest-established symphony orchestra - Halle Orchestra or music bands, such as Oasis. The presence of many concert halls, equipped the latest technologies, various theatres, night clubs, pubs and cafés is mainly thanks to the one of the country's highest student populations and, of course, the large gay community, who has been strongly defending its rights and finally managed to create a unique Gay Village.
Manchester has a rich history starting long ago during the time of the Roman Empire. That's why it boasts a considerable amount of ancient, medieval and Georgian monuments. But the city is foremost Victorian. This was the time when it grew as a great manufacturing centre. From a very small town in 1750, in the mid 19th century Manchester was already the world's greatest cotton producing city, often called Cottonpolis. The great success came during 18th and the first half of 19th centuries from the huge production of quite good imitations of Indian calicoes. In the process were used the most modern for the time steam-driven machines and the final result was very competitive price of the calico. The fast industrialization was a great success for some people who became exceptionally rich but it threw the majority in extreme poverty. This resulted in frequent demonstrations of the working class against their oppressive, ending with casualties in some cases. Even the young Friedrich Engels wrote his "Condition of the Working Class in England" here, while he was working in his father's cotton plant.
The Beetham Tower (photo by Gene Hunt)
One of the most important events in the city's history was the constructing of the Manchester Ship Canal. Completed in 1894 its main purpose was to give a direct access of the large ocean-going vessels directly to Manchester and away from the rival city of Liverpool, possessing one of the biggest European ports. The Ship Canal played a crucial role for maintaining the competitiveness of Manchester as an important trading port.
From the mid-twentieth century Manchester went into a serious economic decline. The main change surprisingly came from the 1500kg weighing IRA Bomb which destructed the main part of the city's commercial centre in 1996. Ambitious rebuilding plans were immediately created and started by the city council turning Manchester into one of the most modernized and well-developed English cities.
Although the city is not very rich in conventional tourist attractions, it still has to offer the impressive Manchester Art Gallery, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Lowry Arts Centre and the Imperial War Museum.
The city centre of Manchester is compactly organized and it can be easily seen on foot. If you wish not to walk too long or the weather is rainy you can take advantage of the free Metroshuttle bus lines connecting all main points of interest in the central area. There is also a tram public transport. The Metrolink tram lines provide quick and easy transport links around the city centre and to the suburbs. There are two tram lines - one is connecting central Manchester with Bury to the north and Altrincham to the south, the other links it with Salford Quays, where you will find the famous Imperial War Museum and Eccles to the west.