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Sabadell pioneered the Industrial Revolution in Catalonia with its textile mills, together with its archrival Terrassa. Thus, in the mid 19th century, it became the most important wool city in Spain, being nicknamed the “Catalan Manchester”. Even today many mills from that period can still be seen, with most of them having been refurbished as residential buildings or other services. Nowadays Sabadell is basically a commercial and industrial city: there are no significant agricultural activities.
Sabadell is an important communications point. Two motorways run beside the city: the C-58 (from Barcelona to Manresa) and the AP-7 (from France and Girona to Tarragona, Valencia and Andalusia), and some roads link Sabadell with nearby cities and towns: Terrassa, Sant Quirze del Vallès, Castellar del Vallès, Granollers, Barberà del Vallès, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Rubí, Sentmenat and Molins de Rei. A railroad line crosses the city (the Rodalies Barcelona line from Barcelona to Lleida) and another one terminates in the city (the FGC line from Barcelona to Sabadell via Sant Cugat del Vallès).