Frankfurt am Main, Germany

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Frankfurt am Main, on the River Main, is the largest city of the Land of Hesse and was effectively national capital during the nineteenth century. It is now one of Germany’s most important centres of industry and commerce, and home to the European Central Bank.


The name Frankfurt, which derives from ‘ford or crossing of the Franks’, probably originated around 500 AD but the first written mention of the city is to be found in the writings of Charlemagne’s biographer, Einhard, in the late eighth century. However, there is also evidence of pre-Roman and Roman habitation.

It was in Frankfurt in 1152 that Frederick Barbarossa was elected ruler of Germany and in the thirteenth century the Hohenstaufen family built a new imperial castle to replace the original Pfalz (imperial castle). In the mid-fourteenth century the Golden Bull, which defined the constitutional structure of the Holy Roman Empire, assigned Frankfurt as the place of coronation for the emperors, a...

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