City in Hessen, Germany, 72 km/45 mi northeast of Mannheim; population (2003 est) 648,000. It is an industrial, commercial, and banking centre, with electrical and machine industries, and an inland port on the River Main. Manufacturing includes pharmaceuticals, machinery, metals, oil products, and beer. The city hosts major international trade fairs, including the International Book Fair held here annually in the autumn. It is the site of the Bundesbank (German Central Bank), and the European Central Bank (from 1999).
Founded as a Roman town in the 1st century AD, Frankfurt was a free imperial city from 1372–1806, when it was incorporated into Prussia. It was the headquarters of the US zone of occupation after World War II and of the Anglo–US zone from 1947–49. It was the birthplace of the poet Goethe.
Economy The Frankfurt fairs have been important since medieval times. The city is a major financial and banking centre of the European Union, and has financial and other service links with the former Communist bloc states. It has an associated stock exchange and many insurance offices. The industrial quarters, to the west of the city, contain large chemical works (Hoechst, Degussa), the main assembly
plant for Opel cars (Rüsselsheim, as well as electronic and precision engineering, textiles, leather, and food manufacturers.
Transport Frankfurt is a major focus of the German transport networks, and its road and rail links with former East Germany have been upgraded. Autobahns (motorways) converge on the city and it is at the heart of the modern waterway network. Frankfurt's rail station is one of the main centres of rail traffic in Europe; the airport is a major
terminal for international flights, and it has the largest air-freight terminal in Europe.
Features The Gothic Church of St Bartholomew, also called the coronation cathedral, was begun in the 13th century on the foundations of a 9th-century church; its fine Gothic tower was begun in 1415. There are several other medieval, Renaissance, and baroque churches of note. Among the interesting secular buildings are the Römer, a group of eight houses (restored after war damage) which together form the Rathaus (town hall) dating from the 15th century, and the Goethe house, which is a post-war replica of the house in which the poet was born. The university dates from 1914. It has several notable research institutes, including the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics, an institute for brain research, and the Roman-Teutonian Archaeological Institute; it is also the site of Germany's largest museum of natural history and one of Germany's most famous zoos.
Festivals There has been a Bach Festival in the city for more than 70 years (October), and a Jazz Festival is held annually in June.
History According to legend, Clovis the King of the Franks (466–511) was shown this place by a deer, when he was leading an expedition against the Alemanni in 496. Charlemagne resided in the town in 794 and convened a meeting there of bishops from Germany, Gaul, and Italy. A royal palace was built in the town by Louis I, and after the Treaty of Verdun in 843 it became the capital of the East Frankish kingdom. In 1152 it became the place of election of the German emperors, a privilege recognized in an imperial edict, the ‘Golden Bull’ of 1356; the cathedral was chosen as the election church, a position it retained for 400 years. In 1372 it was made a free city of the empire. Napoleon created a grand duchy of Frankfurt (1810–15), at the end of which the city became the seat of the German Confederation. In 1871 the treaty ending the Franco-Prussian War was signed here. During World War I the city was bombed several times, and in 1920 it was occupied by the French for a short period. It was heavily bombed by the Allies during World War II.
Famous people Mayer Amschel Rothschild, the founder of the Rothschild's Bank, was born here in 1743, and the chemist Otto Hahn in 1879.
Welcome to the Frankfurt Book Fair
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A city in western Germany on the River Main. Celtic in origin, the site became a Roman settlement; its name, which dates from the early...
50 06N 8 41E A city in W Germany, in Hessen on the River Main. A major banking and commercial centre, it is famed for its trade fairs,...