Frankfurt may not be the first city that comes to mind when planning a visit to Germany, yet this town, in the ‘Land’, or state of Hesse, has much to offer.
Bibliophiles may know it as host to the largest book fair in the world, held annually in the ‘Messe’, or exhibition centre. It’s also the birthplace of the famous 18th century philosopher, Goethe. His house is now a museum and buzzing cultural centre. And when Gutenberg invented printing, Frankfurt claims to have spawned the first press, although this is disputed by Strasbourg. The city has a grand total of over 50 museums, many close together in the Museumsufer or the ‘Quay of Museums’ on both sides of the river.
Frankfurt has a tradition as an important hub of power and money. The Holy Roman Emperors were crowned in its Römer Platz and the town opened its Stock Exchange as far back as 1585. Visitors are welcome, both to see the historic building and to see modern-day trading in action.
Both the Central Bank of Germany and the European Central Bank are located in the business area which has burgeoned along the right bank of the River Main. The tall, new, modern glass buildings that multiplied at the end of the ‘90s, led to the nickname ‘Mainhattan’. Visit the Norman Foster designed Commerzbank Tower, the third tallest skyscraper in Europe and the 200 mt tall Maintower which has fabulous views of the city.
One custom that must be savoured is tasting the city’s signature dish, Handkäs mit Musik, or ‘cheese with music’ which, as its name suggests, involves eating soft cheese while listening to traditional music. Wash it down with the typical local drink, Ebbelwei, or apple wine. Enjoy!
British Airways (www.ba.com) and Lufthansa (www.lufthansa.com) fly to Frankfurt and Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) flies to Frankfurt Hahn.