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Frankfurt - Europe
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Frankfurt am Main is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2008 population of 670,000. The urban area had an estimated population of 2.26 million in 2001. The city is at the centre of the larger Frankfurt Rhine Main Region which has a population of 5.3 million and is Germany's second largest metropolitan area. Situated on the River Main, Frankfurt is the financial and transportation centre of Germany and one of the two largest financial centres in continental Europe, the other being Paris. It is the place of residence of the European Central Bank, the German Federal Bank, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the Frankfurt Trade Fair, as well as several large commercial banks. Frankfurt International Airport is one of the world's busiest airports, Frankfurt Central Station is one of the largest terminal stations in Europe, and the Frankfurter Kreuz (Autobahn interchange) is the most heavily used interchange in continental Europe. Frankfurt is the only German city listed as one of ten Alpha world cities. Among English speakers the city is commonly known simply as "Frankfurt", though Germans occasionally call it by its full name when it is necessary to distinguish it from the other (significantly smaller) Frankfurt in the German state of Brandenburg, known as Frankfurt (Oder). It is also called Frankfort-on-the-Main in English, a translation of Frankfurt am Main

The three pillars of Frankfurt's economy are finance, transport, and trade fairs. Frankfurt has been Germany's financial centre for centuries, and it is the home of a number of major banks and brokerages. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is by far Germany's largest, and is one of the world's most important. Frankfurt is also the seat of the European Central Bank which sets monetary policy for the Eurozone economy, and of the German Federal Bank. Over 300 national and international banks are represented including the headquarters of the major German banks. Frankfurt has an excellent transportation infrastructure, and the Frankfurt International Airport is a major European aviation hub. Its central location at the heart of Europe and its excellent accessibility by air, rail and road make Frankfurt Airport City especially attractive. In addition, many large trade fairs are held in Frankfurt each year, notably the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung, the world's largest motor show, and the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the world's largest book fair. Frankfurt is also home to many cultural and educational institutions including the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, many museums and a large botanical garden, the Palmengarten. Frankfurt's second major university, Business School of Finance and Management, focuses on finance.

Frankfurt is one of only four European cities that have a significant number of high-rise skyscrapers. With ten skyscrapers taller than 150 m (492 ft) in 2004, Frankfurt is second behind Paris with twelve skyscrapers, but ahead of London with eight skyscrapers and Moscow with seven skyscrapers. The city of Frankfurt contains the two tallest skyscrapers in the European Union, the Commerzbank Tower and Messeturm, which rank second and third on the continent after the Triumph-Palace in Moscow. A major festival in the city is the Museumsuferfest (Museums Riverbank Festival). It is one of the biggest cultural festivals in Germany which attracts more than 3 million visitors over a period of 3 days. It takes place yearly at the end of August on both sides of the Main Riverbank in the city centre. More than 20 museums are located there and they are open far into the night. Furthermore there are special attractions like live-bands, dance shows, several booths for crafts, jewelry, clothes and food from all around the world. It ends with a spectacular firework display . Frankfurt's oldest folk festival is the Dippemess (Festival of Stoneware) which takes place twice a year around Easter and the end of September in the eastern part of the city. Mentioned for the first time in the 14th century as an annual marketplace it is now more of an amusement park. ("Dippe" is a regional hessian dialect word meaning "pot" or "jar" and which would not be understood in most other German regions. The name of the festival derives from its original purpose, when it was a fair where traditionally crafted jars, pots and other stoneware were offered) The Frankfurt Wäldchestag (Woods Day) is jocularly known as a national holiday because until the 1990s it was common that Frankfurts shops were closed on this day. Despite the name the festival takes place over a period of four days after Pentecost with the actual Wäldchestag being Tuesday. What is special about this festival is its location in Frankfurts city forest, south of the city centre in Niederrad. The Wolkenkratzer Festival (Skyscraper Festival) is unique in Germany. It takes place irregularly, the last time in May 2007. For two days most of the skyscrapers in downtown Frankfurt are open to the public, which is normally not the case, apart from the Maintower observation deck. Around 1,2 million visitors took the opportunity to see the city from above. Sky-divers, base jumpers, fireworks and laser shows were extra attractions. The next festival will not be held before 2010. The city is accessed from around the world via the Frankfurt International Airport (Flughafen Frankfurt am Main) which is located 12 km (7 mi) from the city centre. The airport has three runways and serves 265 non-stop destinations. It ranks among the world's top ten airports and is the biggest cargo airport in Europe. Depending on whether total passengers or flights are used, it ranks as the second or third busiest in Europe alongside London Heathrow Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Passenger traffic at Frankfurt Airport in 2007 was 54.2 million. The airport can be reached by car or bus and has two train stations, one for regional and one for long-distance traffic. The S-Bahn lines S8 and S9 (direction "Frankfurt (Main) Hbf", "Offenbach Ost or "Hanau"), departing at the regional traffic station take 10-15 minutes from the airport to the Central Station and the city centre, the IC and ICE trains departing at the long-distance traffic station take as well 10-15 minutes. Despite the name, Frankfurt Hahn Airport (Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn) is not located anywhere near Frankfurt but is instead situated approximately 120 km (75 mi) from the city in Lautzenhausen (Rhineland-Palatinate). This airport can only be reached by car or bus. An hourly bus service runs from Frankfurt Central Station, taking about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Last year over 4 Million Passengers used this airport in order to use Low Cost Airlines like Ryanair. Frankfurt Egelsbach Airport is a busy general aviation airport located south-east of Frankfurt International Airport, near the town of Egelsbach.

The streets of central Frankfurt are usually congested with cars during the rush hour. Some areas, especially around the shopping streets Zeil, are pedestrian-only streets. There are numerous car parks located throughout the city. Frankfurt is a traffic hub of the German Autobahn system. The Frankfurter Kreuz is an Autobahn interchange close by the airport where the Autobahnen A 3 (Cologne-Würzburg) and A 5 (Basel-Hannover) meet. With approximately 320,000 cars daily it is the most heavily used interchange in Europe. The A 66 connects Frankfurt with Wiesbaden in the west and Fulda in the east. The A 661 starts in the south (Darmstadt), runs through the eastern part of Frankfurt and ends in the north (Bad Homburg). The A 648 is a very short Autobahn in the western part of Frankfurt. Frankfurt Central Station (Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof or short Ffm Hbf) is the largest train station in Germany by number of platforms. Regarding daily passenger volume it ranks second together with Munich Central Central (350,000 each) after Hamburg Central Station (450,000). It is located between the Gallus and the Bahnhofsviertel, not far away from the Trade Fair and the financial district (Bankenviertel). It serves as a major hub for long-distance trains (ICE) and regional trains (all Rhine-Main S-Bahn lines, two U-Bahn lines, several tram and bus lines). Local trains are integrated in the Public transport system Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV), the second largest integrated public transport systems in the world. Only the Berlin integrated public transport system (VBB) is larger.

Frankfurt Airport Long Distance Station connects Frankfurt International Airport to the main rail network, most of the ICE services using the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed rail line. It is one of two railway stations at the airport, the other is for local S-Bahn trains (lines S8 and S9), called Frankfurt Airport Regional Station. The two major stations in the city centre are Hauptwache and Konstablerwache, both located on Frankfurts most famous shopping street, the Zeil. The city has two underground railway systems: the U-Bahn and the S-Bahn, as well as an above-ground tram system. Information about the U and S Bahn can be found on the RMV website. Nine S-Bahn lines connect Frankfurt with the Rhine Main Region. All lines have a 30 minute service during the day but the majority of the routes are served by two lines thereby offering a 15 minute schedule. All lines, except line S7, run through the Frankfurt city tunnel and serve the stations Ostendstraße, Konstablerwache, Hauptwache, Taunusanlage and Frankfurt Central Station. When leaving the city the S-Bahn travels above ground. It provides access to the Frankfurt Trade Fair (S3-S6), the airport (S8, S9), the stadium (S7-S9) and nearby cities such as Wiesbaden, Mainz, Darmstadt, Rüsselsheim, Hanau, Offenbach am Main, Bad Homburg, Kronberg and smaller towns that are on the way. The U-Bahn has seven lines serving the city centre and some larger suburbs. The trains that run on the line are in fact lightrails as many lines travel along a track in the middle of the street instead of underground further from the city centre. There is only one line (U4) that is completely underground. The minimum service interval is 2.5 minutes, although the usual pattern is that each line runs with a 7.5-10 minute frequency which combines to approx 3-5 minutes on the city centre sections served by more than one line. Frankfurt has 9 tram lines, with trams arriving usually every 10 minutes. Many sections are served by two lines, combining to give a 5 minute frequency during rush-hour. The tram runs only above ground and serve more stops than the U-Bahn or the S-Bahn. A number of bus lines complete the Frankfurt public transportation system. Night buses take over the service of the U-Bahn and tram at 1:30 am to 3:30 am on Friday and Saturday nights.
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