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Frankfurt (frängkˈfo͝ort) or Frankfurt am Main (frängkˈfo͝ort) (äm mīn), city (2021 pop. 841,795), Hesse, central Germany, a port on the Main River. It is also known in English as Frankfort. The city is an industrial, media, and commercial center and a transportation hub. A world financial center and Germany's financial capital, it is headquarters of the leading German stock exchange, numerous commercial banks, and the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank; the European Central Bank also is there. Manufactures include river craft, pharmaceuticals, metals, machinery, oil products, and beer. Chemical production is concentrated in the Höchst district. Frankfurt is the site of major international trade fairs, including an annual book fair. Its international airport is one of the largest and busiest in Europe.

Points of Interest

Points of interest include the Römer (the city hall, begun in the 15th cent.); the Gothic Church of St. Bartholomew (13th–15th cent.), also called the coronation cathedral, which has a high (312 ft/95 m) tower; the house (now a museum) in which Goethe was born (1749); the Lutheran Church of St. Paul, or Paulskirche (built 1789–1833), where the Frankfurt Parliament met; the Städel Art Institute (founded 1816); the German Postal Museum; the Jewish Museum; and museums of applied arts, ethnology, film, and architecture. The Commerzbank Tower (850 ft/259 m) and Messeturm Building (843 ft/257 m) are among the tallest buildings in Europe. Frankfurt is the seat of a university (opened 1914) and a national library.


A Roman town founded in the 1st cent. A.D., Frankfurt became (8th cent.) a royal residence under Charlemagne. After the Treaty of Verdun (843) it was briefly the capital of the kingdom of the Eastern Franks (i.e., Germany). It prospered as a commercial center and held annual fairs (first mentioned 1240) that drew merchants from all of Europe. Frankfurt was designated in the Golden Bull (1356) of Emperor Charles IV as the seat of the imperial elections of the Holy Roman Empire, which took place in the chapel of the Church of St. Bartholomew. It was made a free imperial city in 1372.

After the emperors ceased to be crowned by the popes, the coronation ceremonies took place (1562–1792) at Frankfurt. The emperors-elect, after being crowned at St. Bartholomew's by the archbishop-elector of Mainz, proceeded with much pageantry to a banquet in the city hall, called Römer [Ger.,=Romans] because the emperors-elect were crowned kings of the Romans. The coronation (1764) of Joseph II has been described in the autobiography of the writer Goethe, a native of Frankfurt.

Frankfurt accepted the Reformation in 1530, and was a member of the Schmalkaldic League. It was occupied many times in the wars of the 17th and 18th cent. Frankfurt was the original home of the Rothschilds, who, along with other Jewish merchants and bankers, played a leading role in the economic growth of the city (especially after 1700). After the dissolution (1806) of the Holy Roman Empire, Frankfurt was included in the ecclesiastic principality of Regensburg and Aschaffenburg, created by Napoleon I for Karl Theodor von Dalberg. The principality was converted in 1810 into the grand duchy of Frankfurt, also under Dalberg.

The Congress of Vienna (1814–15) restored Frankfurt to the status of a free city and made it the seat of the diet of the German Confederation. The Frankfurt Parliament, the first German national assembly, met there in 1848–49. Having sided with Austria in the Austro-Prussian War (1866), Frankfurt was annexed by Prussia. In 1871 the Treaty of Frankfurt, which ended the Franco-Prussian War, was signed there. The city was heavily damaged in World War II, but after 1945 many of its historic landmarks were restored and numerous modern structures were built.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Frankfurt an der Oder), a Bezirk (district) in the eastern part of the German Democratic Republic, in the Oder River basin. Area, 7,200 sq km. Population, 688,600 (1974). The capital is the city of Frankfurt an der Oder.

Frankfurt is an industrial and agricultural region and one of East Germany’s principal regions of heavy industry. In 1974 industry, including construction and handicrafts, accounted for 40 percent of those employed in the district, and agriculture and forestry accounted for 17.6 percent. One of the most important industries is ferrous metallurgy, which produces 33 percent of the district’s gross industrial product; major plants are the Eisenhüttenstadtkombinat Ost in Eisenhüttenstadt and a rolling mill in Eberswalde. Other leading industries include the chemical and petrochemical industries (29 percent of the district’s gross industrial product), represented by a petrochemical plant in Schwedt and a tire plant in Fürstenwalde; general and transportation machine building (8.2 percent of the district’s gross industrial product), represented by a plant producing heavy machinery in Eberswalde and a river shipyard in Oderberg; and the electronics industry (6.6 percent of the district’s gross industrial product), represented by a semiconductor plant in Frankfurt an der Oder. Frankfurt’s leading industries also include the cement industry, represented by a cement plant in Rüdersdorf; light industry, including a paper mill in Schwedt; and food-processing.

More than one-third of Frankfurt is covered by forest. Agriculture in the areas adjoining Berlin is devoted to perishable products; in Oderbruch (the Oder Marshes), vegetables, sugar beets, rye, and potatoes are cultivated. Swine and high-yield dairy cattle are raised in the district.

The Oder and Spree rivers and the Oder-Havel and Oder-Spree canals are used for navigation. Schwedt is the terminus of the Druzhba Petroleum Pipeline; petroleum pipelines run from Rostock to Schwedt and from Schwedt to Leuna. A pipeline carrying petroleum products runs from Schwedt to Seefeld, near Berlin.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.