History in Frankfurt

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A Frankfurt History wouldn't be complete without an explanation of its name,which dates back to the late 8th century C.E. Folklore has it that the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne was out hunting when he saw, to his amazement, a deer nimbly traverse a shallow section of the river Main, what is translated into English as "ford." Ever since then, the city has been called "Frankfurt,"  or, the "ford of the Franks." Since its establishment, Frankfurt has played an integral part in Germany's history.

Early Middle Ages to the Modern Period

Frankfurt was an important commercial city during the Holy Roman Empire. The Frankfurt Trade Fair was mentioned as early as 1150. Book trade fairs have been similarly popular since the 15th century, and today, Frankfurt holds the biggest one each year.

Frankfurt was able to remain a neutral city both, during the 30 Years' War, as well as during the Napoleonic wars. It was incorporated into the Confederation of the Rhine after Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz. For one year, Frankfurt served as the seat of Germany's Parliament during its ill-fated attempt at democracy after the 1848 revolutions. But, Frankfurt would quickly revert, after the Prussian king would not accept "a crown from the gutter," to open city status until Prussia annexed the territory during the Austro-Prussian War.

Modern Period

Frankfurt would not be able to remain a neutral city during the 20th Century. For a short while, French troops occupied the city after World War I, after what French leaders perceived as a growing militarization of the Rhineland. One shining personage during the Inter-War period was Ludwig Landmann, Frankfurt’s first Jewish mayor, and leader of a robust expansion of the city.

The most tragic era of Frankfurt’s history is no doubt its bombing during the Second World War. Severe bombings led to the destruction of many of Frankfurt’s historic centers and monuments. The Aldstadt, Frankfurt’s medieval Old Town, would have to be re-constructed after the war, with many other parts of the city erecting simple, modernistic buildings.

Today, visitors flock to the rebuilt Aldstadt and Romer districts. The reconstructed Saint-Bartholomew’s Cathedal and Saint Paul’s church are particularly visited. Nearby the Aldstadt district, the vibrant shopping mecca of Zeil Street pulls in foreigners and Germans alike.

Contributors
March 19, 2010 change by ctanios

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