The town became the most important Slovak cultural center in the 19th century. Several cultural institutions (including the Slovak Matica and the Slovak National Museum) were founded there. Most political activities leading to the Slovak national emancipation in the 19th and early 20th centuries were organized in or from Martin. The town was also industrialized at this time. Martin lies at the crossroads that interconnects the main road (as well main railway) from Bratislava to Košice with Banská Bystrica. The city is surrounded by Malá Fatra and Veľká Fatra mountains.