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Frankfurt, Germany is situated on the Main river and is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany.
The city is located on both sides of the Main River. The southern part of the city contains the Frankfurt City Forest, Germany's largest urban forest.
history, Frankfurt am Main (pronounced Mine) has been linked to
international trade, commerce and transportation. Today, the city is playing a
leading role in the European monetary union as the home of the European Central
Bank and the German Stock Exchange.
It is also a
major transportation hub, the site of both Europe’s second-largest airport and
one of its busiest train stations.
Only a small
section of the original town center survived the bombings of World War II, and
much of the city was rebuilt in the 1950s. Today, Frankfurt's optimistic outlook
reflects its rebirth.
Every day, the
population of 650,000 grows by almost one-half, as 300,000 commuters arrive to
work in the gleaming financial district or to attend one of its world-famous
trade fairs. Additionally, tourists come to visit and to enjoy Frankfurt's fine
opera, ballet, and world-class museums. Visitors are often amazed by Frankfurt’s
multicultural variety and by the beauty of its suburbs and surrounding
center of the city is Romerberg, a square just two blocks north of the Main. The
old town's walls were torn down and the moats filled in, but a green belt of
parks loops around the old city in their place. Several guardhouses still stand
as landmarks. Northeast of Romerberg is the Konstablerwache, which has U-Bahn
and S-Bahn stations. Northwest of Romerberg is the Hauptwache, now the site of a
cafe and also an important transportation hub. To the east of the Hauptwache is
the Zeil, Frankfurt's busiest shopping street, and to the west is Grosse
Bockenheimer Strasse, known locally as the Fressgasse (or "chow-down alley") for
its food markets and eating establishments. To the south of the Romerberg is an
old iron footbridge, the Eiserner Steg, which crosses the Main into
Sachsenhausen. In Sachsenhausen, you'll find interesting pubs and traditional
taverns, as well as the Museumsufer (museums along the southern embankment).
northern side of the river—west of Romerberg—is the Hauptbahnhof (main train
station). Just a few blocks northwest of the station is the Festhalle, the main
gateway to the giant fairground known as Messe Frankfurt.
skyline is one of a kind in Germany, and from it the city gets the nickname "Mainhattan."
The need to rebuild after World War II led to the present-day mix of
18th-century buildings, modern and postmodern skyscrapers, functional office
blocks and museums.
Being such a
commerce-minded city, and a major transportation hub, has made Frankfurt the
trade show and convention epicenter of Europe since the 13th century. Trade
fairs continue to be big business for the city, and if you visit in spring or
fall you may be fortunate enough to join the throngs of visitors on hand for the
Many of the
main sightseeing attractions are located within easy walking distance of one
another. In fact, the city center can be crossed on foot in less than 30
minutes. The best place to start is north of the Main River at Romerberg, the
main square and historical center of the city. There you will find beautiful
half-timbered houses and the Romer (City Hall), with its impressive banquet
hall. Not far from the square is the Kaiserdom, the towering cathedral where ten
German emperors and kings were crowned, and Paulskirche, where the first
National Assembly of Germany met in 1848.
museums make up Frankfurt's cultural landscape. Most of these museums are
located near Romerberg or are lined up along the southern embankment, called
Museumsufer. The city has invested more than 200 million euros in this museum
landscape since the 1980s, and the result is striking! Paintings by Old
Masters and more recent European artists can be seen at the Stadel Institute.
Modern and contemporary art is shown in the Museum fur Moderne Kunst and the
Schirn Kunsthalle. For a look at Frankfurt's history, visit the Historisches
Museum, Goethehaus or the Judisches Museum. If you're interested in tropical and
subtropical plants, the Palmengarten is unforgettable.
Another pleasant way to see Frankfurt is to take a
cruise along the Main River (a tributary of the Rhine). Day cruises to nearby
riverside towns are also a traditional way to explore the surrounding areas.
Two venues are at the heart of Frankfurt's performing-arts scene. The Alte Oper,
the city's beautiful concert hall, hosts world-class symphonies and companies on
tour. Stadtische Buhnen is the showcase for local companies, including the
city's opera, ballet and theater troupes. Not
to be missed is the Tigerpalast, a variety show with acrobats, magicians and
sometimes tigers. Most theaters, including those hosting ballet and opera, are
closed in July and August.
You won't have
to go far to find traditional German cuisine in Frankfurt. The city is known for
such regional specialties as grune sosse (green sauce: a rich cream or
mayonnaise base with herbs, including cress, chives, sorrel and parsley) and
rippchen mit kraut (pork chop and sauerkraut). Another local dish to try is
handkas mit musik, a form of curd cheese served with raw onions, oil and
vinegar and almost always eaten with bread and butter (it's too strong for some
tastes). The classic Frankfurt drink is apfelwein (known in the local
dialect as ebbelwoi), an apple wine served in a decorative clay pitcher,
called a bembel.
pedestrian zone, which stretches east from the Hauptwache to the Konstablerwache
is teh premier shopping zone. East of the Konstablerwache, the shopping
becomes more economical, with many low-price, no-frills stores. For upscale
stores, check the side streets and alleys leading away from the Zeil, as well as
around the Hauptwache and near Fressgasse.
is the place for designer clothes and internationally recognizable shops.
Interesting jewelry shops are lined up along Rossmarkt, south of the Hauptwache.
There is a Saturday flea market along the Main River.
More than just
a hub for transport and commerce, Frankfurt is also known as the "City of
Festivals." Notable among these are the Book Fair, Christmas markets and the
spring and fall Dippemess. Concerts, both classical and pop, take place
regularly at the Alte Oper Frankfurt. Pop stars often perform at the