Frankfurt (German: Frankfurt am Main) is the largest city in the German state of Hesse, and is considered the business and financial centre of Germany. It is the fifth largest city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne. The city is known for its modern skyline, and for hosting the headquarters of the European Central Bank, the Deutsche Börse stock exchange and numerous German financial services companies. Furthermore, it hosts some of the world’s most important trade shows, such as the Frankfurt Auto Show and the Frankfurt Book Fair. Located on the river Main at a crossroad of the German Autobahn system and connected to several high-speed rail lines, with Germany’s busiest airport on its outskirts, Frankfurt is one of the most important transportation hubs of Europe.
Sitting at the geographical center of the European Union, Frankfurt is a prominent transportation and finance hub with global influence based in Germany. Visitors can look no further than the city’s futuristic skyline to view the impressive list of companies and organizations that call Frankfurt home. Nicknamed ‘Mainhattan’, the European Central Bank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange, German Federal Bank and Deutsche Bank all reside in the city’s impressive financial district.
Frankfurt is a city of contrasts. Wealthy bankers, students and hippie drop-outs coexist in a city that has some of the highest, most avant-garde skyscrapers of Europe next to well maintained old buildings. The downtown area, especially Römer square and the museums at the River Main, draw millions of tourists every year. On the other hand, many off-the-beaten-track neighbourhoods, such as Bockenheim, Bornheim, Nordend and Sachsenhausen, with their intact beautiful 19th-century streets and parks are often overlooked by visitors.
It’s the heart of the Rhine-Main region, spanning from Mainz and Wiesbaden in the west to Hanau in the east and Gießen in the north to Darmstadt in the south and has some 5,500,000 inhabitants in the whole surrounding metropolitan area.
Frankfurt is the place where Germany’s major autobahns and railways intersect. About 650,000 people commute to the city each day, not counting some 700,000 people who live here. With a huge airport — the third-largest in Europe — it is the gateway to Germany and for many people also the first point of arrival in Europe. Further, it is a prime hub for interconnections within Europe and for intercontinental flights.
In the years following 1968, especially in the late 1970s and up to the early 1980s, Frankfurt was a centre of the left wing Sponti-Szene, which frequently clashed with police and local authorities over politics and urban design issues (specifically whether or not old buildings should be torn down). Several members of these radical groups went on to have quite respectable careers in politics, among them Daniel Cohn-Bendit (long time leading MEP for the Greens) and Joschka Fischer (Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor 1998-2020), though their erstwhile radical and violent antics did hurt them in their later political careers.
Frankfurt has one of the highest percentage of immigrants in Germany: about 25% of Frankfurt’s people have no German passport and another 10% are naturalized German citizens. With about 35% immigrants, Frankfurt is one of the most diverse of German cities.
Frankfurt is home to many museums, theatres and a world-class opera.
The map of Frankfurt’s subdivisions
Frankfurt is divided into 16 Ortsbezirke, which are further subdivided into 46 Stadtteile. As Frankfurt is an expansive city with a large area given its population, most of those are of little interest to a tourist, with most attractions concentrated in the Ortsbezirk Innenstadt I (there are four Ortsbezirke starting with Innenstadt (“inner city”), distinguished by Roman numerals). Some Stadtteile of particular note are:
- Altstadt (Römer areal) – the heart of Frankfurt’s old town, largely rebuilt after the Second World War
- Innenstadt – named confusingly (sharing its name with the larger Ortsbezirke) is the part embracing the Altstadt up until the old city fortifications, still visible as a green belt on the city map. The home to the most of Frankfurt’s skyscrapers
- Bahnhofsviertel – the densely-built part of the city immediately facing the Hauptbahnhof, hosting the most hotels in town and its red light district
- Gutleutviertel – the area south of the tracks leading up to the Hauptbahnhof, with a modern residential quarter on the Main
- Gallus – the area north of the Hauptbahnhof tracks known most for the past-2010 Europaviertel development (a new city quarter with apartment blocks and offices built around the wide Europaallee next to the fairgrounds)
- Westend – the most expensive part of Frankfurt by land values, mostly covered with low-rise residential buildings and villas, but also several skyscrapers on its edges
- Bornheim – Popular area with small shops, cafés and restaurants, as well as historic taverns and half-timbered houses.
- Sachsenhausen – the historic southern bank of the river Main, which preserved its typical 19th-century character, very different from the modern northern bank punctured by skyscrapers. Includes the Museumsufer museum collection directly at the riverbank. See listing below for further details.
- Höchst – Formerly a separate small town, now a suburb. The small Altstadt, around the Schloss, is one of the closest places to central Frankfurt that you can see large numbers of traditional timber-framed buildings that didn’t get destroyed in the war. The square by the Schloss has some very nice traditional Gaststätte to eat or drink in.
When to visit
The best times for Frankfurt are late spring to early autumn. The summers tend to be sunny and warm around 25°C (77°F). Be prepared, however, for very hot summer days around 35°C (95°F) as well as for light rain. The winters can be cold and rainy (usually not lower than -10°C/14°F). It rarely snows in Frankfurt itself.
If you intend to stay overnight, you may wish to avoid times when trade fairs are held, as this will make finding affordable accommodation a challenging task. The biggest are the Frankfurt Motor Show (Automobil-Ausstellung) every two years in mid-September (next in 2017) and the Book Fair (Buchmesse) yearly in mid-October; see Fairs for details.
There are two offices for tourism information:
- Touristinfo Hauptbahnhof (near the main exit, next to the DB service area, look for the signs) , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Monday to Friday 08:00-21:00, Sa Su Holidays 09:00-18:00; New Year + New Year’s Eve 08:00-13:00; closed 25-26 Dec.
- Touristinfo Römer, Römerberg 27 , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Monday to Friday 09:30–17:30, Sa Su holidays 10:00-16:00 New Year + New Year’s Eve 10:00-13:00; closed 25-26 Dec.
Frankfurt is the heart of central Germany and as such, it is one of the most important transportation hubs. It has excellent connections by rail, road and air. Reaching and leaving Frankfurt is easy.
Frankfurt Airport is among the busiest in Europe — fourth in passenger traffic after Heathrow Airport, Schiphol Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Frankfurt is the banking centre of Germany and hosts numerous international trade fairs. Therefore all major airlines and all airline alliances fly frequently to Frankfurt and connect it to every inhabited continent and all major cities in the world. The German flag carrier [Lufthansa] is the main airline in Frankfurt and offers most connections. [Lufthansa] also has several domestic feeder flights to and from Frankfurt that also serve business travelers.
The airport is connected to downtown Frankfurt by taxi, bus (line 61 to (Frankfurt South Station), and most easily by S-Bahn (fast commuter trains).
To get to the city by S-Bahn, take lines or in the direction of Offenbach Ost or Hanau at the regional train station, Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Regionalbahnhof, on the lowest level of Terminal 1 (entrances in section A and B). If your plane lands or departs from Terminal 2, count in another 15 minutes as you need to move between the terminals with either the shuttle bus or the monorail Skytrain (both are free of charge, just follow the signs). If you want to go downtown, get off at , or , which are in the heart of the city. If you want to change to long-distance trains get off at (Frankfurt Central Station). The ride from the airport to the central station takes about 20 minutes. You have to purchase a ticket at the vending machines (only cash) in the train station before boarding the train. The adult ticket costs €4.80 (€2.80 for children).
If you want to go to the airport by S-Bahn, take the or in the direction of Wiesbaden. Don’t take the , since it does not stop at the airport.
Breaking News : Jan Marsalek possible citizen of the Caribbean Island of Grenada with a New Name
According to German Intelligence sources, Jan Marsalek – an Austrian and former COO of Wirecard might carry a Diplomatic passport of the Caribbean Island Grenada.
The question remains where Jan Marsalek went to – and where is the money that he supposedly diverted.
In chats in Messenger Telegram he jokes with a confidant about the location of a possible reunion: “But maybe we have to do it in the prison yard, or if I find the 1.9 billion, on a Caribbean island.”
In fact, several lead traces of Marsalek’s time as manager of Wirecard lead to the Caribbean island of Grenada. In 2013, several websites were registered under the name Jan Marsalek. The Munich private address Marsalek was stored, sometimes even a phone number from Wirecard.
In a document that appears to have been written on official Grenada stationery, a Jan Marsalek is also referred to as an official representative of Grenada and he negotiated on behalf of the island state about the purchase of spy software that can be used to hack smartphones.
The document is apparently signed by the then Foreign Minister Nickolas Steele.
The government of Grenada and Minister Steele left an inquiry unanswered.
If you want to dive in places like Grenada, you need money and have to cover up traces. As Wirecard manager, Marsalek raved about the possibilities of cryptocurrencies. With bitcoins, assets can be transferred and washed quickly and without difficulty in a way that is easy to understand.
Was Jan Marsalek an Informer for the Austrian Secret Service on the Wirecard board?
The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office is now involved in the crime about ex-Wirecard board member Marsalek. The prosecutors examine evidence that Marsalek was an informant for the Austrian secret service.
The crime about the insolvent payment service provider Wirecard may develop into a German-Austrian espionage affair. Once again, the fleeting former COO Jan Marsalek plays the lead role. In the meantime, the Attorney General is also dealing with Marsalek.
The top criminal prosecutor is investigating evidence that “the Austrian citizen Jan Marsalek was led as an informer by an employee of the Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counter-Terrorism (BVT)”. This is what it says in the answer from the Federal Ministry of Justice to a written question from the Bundestag member Fabio De Masi from the Linke party.
No Comments from Berlin
The Federal Chancellery did not want to comment from the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, to which the BVT is subordinate. On Friday evening, the BVT denied in a press release that Marsalek had been an informer or so-called “undercover agent” of the authority. In the Marsalek case, however, no further information could be given due to ongoing – including international – investigations. Marsalek has been on the run since June and could not be reached for comment but it is widely believed that he escaped to Belarus via Minsk.
The Federal Prosecutor General is still running the case but if the suspicion is confirmed, it could put a strain on German-Austrian relations. Ultimately, the neighboring country would have placed an undercover agent in one of the largest listed companies in Germany – without the knowledge of the German authorities. More damaging would be if the Austrian’s have known about the money laundering that has been going on for years.
When the services in Germany were still completely in the dark, the first agent stories were making the rounds in Austria in the summer. The Viennese daily newspaper “Presse” reported that a “Jan” obtained information from the Austrian domestic intelligence service through an intermediary and passed it on to the right-wing populist FPÖ. “Jan” – that should be Jan Marsalek.
Marsalek remains a “mystery”
Marsalek’s alleged proximity to secret services is now also worrying the German security authorities. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) are now conducting extensive research.
With regard to many of the stories about secret service connections to Russia, they can “neither be verified nor falsified,” says a person familiar with the investigation. Marsalek remains a “mystery”. Many of his contacts are very dubious, but it is difficult for him to differentiate between real connections.
“Chancellor should pick up the phone as soon as possible”
Austrian investigators recently traveled to Munich specifically, and the investigators recently received a request for legal assistance. In German security circles, so one can hear in Berlin that Marsalek had connections to the BVT and the BND might have known it.
De Masi, co-initiator of the Wirecard investigation committee, demands clarification: “The Chancellor should pick up the phone as soon as possible and ask Sebastian Kurz what the Austrians are doing here.” If the suspicion is confirmed, the Austrian ambassador must be called in. “
Was there help to escape?
Marsalek’s spectacular escape now appears to many in a new light. After all, Marsalek was last seen near Vienna before going into hiding. The plane was waiting at a private airport and shortly before his departure, he is said to have met a man at the Italian restaurant and his contact is said to have been a former BVT agent.