The Romans set up a small fort here, named Mamucium, on a red sandstone bluff overlooking the River Irwell.
In the mediaeval period a small town grew up a mile or so away, and it was this little town that developed from the 18th century into today's giant city. It was the Industrial Revolution that provided the spur, and particularly cotton and the area's transport links. The city soon acquired its nickname of Cottonopolis.
Manchester Cathedral dates back to the 15th century and has the widest nave in England.
The Museum of Science and Industry is housed in a complex of industrial buildings in the Castlefield area, close to the site of the Roman fort. The buildings were associated witrh the Liverpool to Manchester Railway, the world's second, opened in 1830.
One of these is Liverpool Road Station, the world's first passenger terminus, from where short steam rides can be taken.
The Roman fort was reconstructed in the 1970s, and is now another popular tourist attraction. Nearby are the famous Granada TV studios, with the "Coronation Street" set.
The Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894 and added another dimension to the complicated system of canals and railways.
The Town Hall was designed by Alfred Waterhouse in built between 1871 and 1877, and other buildings include the Central Library, John Rylands Library and Royal Exchange Theatre.
The airy and excellently designed Arndale Centre replaced the earlier centre destroyed by an IRA bomb.
One of the most shameful events in English history happened in Manchester in 1819. A crowd of 60,000 gathered for a peaceful protest in St. Peter's Fields, intent on calling for parliamentary reform. Manchester was still without a Member of Parliament, in spite of having 84,000 inhabitants. Soldiers were called to disperse the crowd, ll of whom were killed. The event has been known ever since as the Peterloo Massacre.
The well known newspaper The Guardian was until 1959 the Manchester Guardian.
Manchester has two famous football teams, Manchester United (arguably the most famous team in the world) and Manchester City, while Old Trafford is the headquarters of Lancashire County Cricket Club.
Today, Manchester is one of a small number of British cities who are far sighted enough to have instituted a modern tram system.
Eminent people born in Manchester include James Agate, drama critic; Caroline Aherne, TV writer and actress; William Harrison Ainsworth, novelist; Michael Atherton, England cricketer; Robert Bolt, playwright; Anthony Burgess, novelist; Frances Hodgson Burnett, novelist; Nicky Butt, England footballer; John Byrom, poet and shorthand pioneer; David Coleman, sports commentator; Alistair Cooke, broadcaster; Samuel Crompton, inventor; Peter Maxwell Davies, composer; Brenda Dean, trade union leader; Thomas de Quincey, author; Les Dawson, comedian; Robert Donat, actor; Harold Evans, newspaper editor; Judy Finnigan, TV presenter; Norman Foster, architect; Noel and Liam Gallagher, rock musicians; Trevor Griffiths, playwright; Frank Hampson, cartoonist; John Ireland, composer; Marghanita Laski, broadcaster; Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers; David Lloyd George, Prime Minister; L. S. Lowry, painter; John Moores, founder of retail stores and football pools; Adela, Christabel, Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst, suffragettes; Jack Rosenthal, playwright; Israel Sieff, retail executive; Dodie Smith, novelist; Brian Statham, England cricketer; Mary Sumner, Mothers Union founder; Michael Vaughan, England cricketer; Dudley Watkins, Desperate Dan creator; Ellen Wilkinson, Member of Parliament.
Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby is available to lead Guided Walks around Manchester for groups.
Places in Manchester
1830 Warehouse, Boggart Hole Clough, Chorlton Park, Deansgate Station, Debdale Park, Didsbury Park, Fletcher Moss Gardens, Heaton Park, Holy Name of Jesus Church, Manchester Cathedral, Manchester Oxford Road Station, Manchester Piccadilly Station, Manchester Victoria Station, Old Moat Park, Philips Park, Platt Fields Park, St. Ann`s Church, St. Benedict`s Church, Victoria Baths, Wythenshawe Park