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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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Frankfurt's famous trade fairs go back to the 13th century when international trade markets were held at the historic Römerberg square. Today the Messe is one of the world's largest trade fairs.
The Goethehaus is Goethe's house of birth. Its interior is reconstructed with 18th century furniture. Adjacent to the Goethehaus is a museum with objects relating to the famous writer.
Dubbed 'the Fifth Avenue of Germany', the Zeil is Frankfurt's main shopping street. Several malls border the street including the modern Zeilgalerie and futuristic looking MyZeil.
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