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In 1949 Frankfurt am Main narrowly failed to be elected capital of West Germany, but it did become the home of the continent's largest stock exchange and the European Central Bank, making it the de facto financial capital of Germany and continental Europe.
Even though Frankfurt is a large financial and trade center, the city is still relatively small. Most of Frankfurt's historic sights are in or near the Altstadt - the city's Old Town - and can best be visited on foot.
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The baroque Hauptwache, now a cafe, was built in the 18th century as a police. It is located at the heart of Frankfurt's inner city, near the city's main shopping streets.
Now a suburb of Frankfurt, Höchst is a charming little town with a long history, evidenced by its 9th century church and 14th century castle. The old town has plenty of picturesque half-timbered houses.
The first ever freely elected German parliament had its seat here, in the Paulskirche. The parliament was shortlived however and the church was again used for religious services until it was destroyed in WWII.
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