What is more, Frankfurt is the heart of the European Union's finances, as well, with the European Central Bank operating here. Given all that, it is unsurprising that both the Deutschmark and the Euro were born in Frankfurt. The city is also home to the world's largest book fair (the first one took place in 1480, when the world's books could have possibly fit into one library). Fairs in general have a long tradition in Frankfurt, as they began under the Romans.

Despite all this, Frankfurt has remained relatively modest in terms of population, inhabited by only 600,000 people, and its importance did not inflate it beyond unreasonable limits. The city is pleasantly located on the banks of the River Main. In terms of sightseeing, there is slightly less to wonder at, for what used to be Germany's most impressive Old Town was swept away by a couple of allied air raids in 1944. It was reconstructed after the war, yet the practical Germans did not try too hard to restore it to its original shape, except for a few major monuments. Making the past serve the present better was the idea. Frankfurt is thus a city which is all about the present day, yet with the atmosphere of its long history placed gently in the background.

And Frankfurt’s history is long, indeed. It was part of the Roman Empire, proof of which can be found in the Archaeological Gardens, where the remains of a thermal bath are worth a look. Frankfurt was the residential city of Charlemagne in the 8th Century. It was granted the status of a free city in the 14th Century, a major advantage over chaotic principalities. It remained an important city throughout Germany's tempestuous history. Even after allied bombers razed it to the ground, it quickly recovered to become what it is now: a modern city of finance and arts.