Manchester is a city and a metropolitan borough of the county of Greater Manchester in England. Manchester obtained its city status in 1853 and had an estimated population of 530,300 in 2015. In turn, it is part of the second urban agglomeration of the United Kingdom and fourteenth of the European Union in terms of population. Manchester is an important artistic, financial, media and higher education center. In a survey of British business leaders published in 2006, Manchester was considered the best place in the United Kingdom to establish a business. A report commissioned by the Association of Manchester, published in 2007, showed Manchester as the "city with the fastest economic growth".
It is the third most visited city in the United Kingdom by foreign tourists. Manchester was the host of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and is home to two Premier League, Manchester United and Manchester City football teams. Historically most of the city was part of the County of Lancashire, with the zones located to the south of Mersey River in County of Cheshire. Manchester was the first industrialized city in the world and played a central role during the Industrial Revolution. It became the main international center of textile manufacturing and cotton spinning. During the nineteenth century it acquired the nickname of "Cottonopolis", suggesting that it was a metropolis of cotton factories.
The center of the city is on a provisional list of Unesco World Heritage Sites, mainly due to the network of canals and mills built during the 18th and 19th centuries.