There are some cities which refuse to lay down.
They possess a certain spirit which can push through the rubble of history’s most turbulent times, to grow, flourish and flower.
The German city of Frankfurt is one such city.
For centuries, Frankfurt has been one of Europe’s most important and enduring trading capitals.
Despite a history of fires, plague, occupation and war, it continues to rise.
Frankfurt today is home to the European Central Bank, The German Stock Exchange and an airport whichhandles almost 60 million travelers a year.
Yet surprisingly, it’s relaxed too, a place where tradition and beauty are lovinglycultivated and enjoyed.
This balance of dynamism and tradition isbest exemplified in the city’s architecture.
Frankfurt is often called Mainhatten, due to its position on the Main River and a skyline that often feels more Americanthan European.
Yet the city, which was once home to one ofthe most glorious medieval centres in Europe, still nurtures its proud heritage throughrebuilding and restoration projects.
Despite its stature as a financial giant, Frankfurt remains surprisingly compact.
Most of its attractions are clustered closeto the city centre, making the city perfect for exploring on footor by bicycle.
Cross the Eiserner Steg, the city’s belovedpedestrian bridge, into Frankfurt’s ancient heart, the Romerberg.
Since the 9th century, this medieval square has witnessedthe very best and worst of times, from fairs, tournaments and coronations, to executions and firestorms.
After being devastated by allied bombs inWorld War Two, many of the square’s most important buildingshave been lovingly restored.
Overlooking the square is the Römer, which served as Frankfurt’s city hallfor over 600 years.
Just across the Square rise some of Frankfurt’siconic half-timbered houses, as well as the spire of Old St.
Nicholas Church, which miraculously survived the almost totaldestruction of the old town.
From the Romerplatz, it’s time to head deeperinto the old city.
Whichever direction you take, Frankfurt’s historical treasures await.
Just a three-minute walk to the east, visit the city’s cathedral, the Kaiserdom, in all its red-sandstone and golden glory.
Just to the west of Romerplatz, is the cradle of German Democracy, the Paulskirche, where the country’sfirst elected parliament met in 1848.
While just two blocks further, is another of the country’smost important birthplaces, Goethe-Haus.
It was here in 1749, just as the clock struck midday, that one of Germany’s greatest writers and poets, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe came into the world.
From the Goethe family home, head north to Hauptwache.
Turn left to admire the symphonic curves ofFrankfurt’s historic opera house.
Or turn right, and head into the future, along the Zeil, Germany’s equivalent to Fifth Avenue.
Just a few blocks away, explore the sometimes-perplexing world ofmodern art at MMK, a triangular shaped gallerythat Frankfurters refer to as, “the piece of cake”.
While down by the riverat the Historical Museum, the story of Frankfurt unfolds, in all its triumphant and trying chapters.
When it comes to Germany’s great museum cities, Frankfurt is one of the greats.
Recross the river to its southern embankment, the Museumsufer.
In the eighteenth century the city’s elitebuilt elegant villas across from the old town.
Today, many of these villas housespecialist museums, such as the German Film Museum.
Here you can follow the history of film, from the earliest optical entertainments, to all the elements that go into craftingthe blockbusters of today.
Just next door at the German Architecture Museum, spend an hour or two exploringthe thousands of plans and hundreds of scale models which have helpedshape the world’s skylines.
Lovers of fine art are also catered forat the Stadel Museum, a world-renowned gallery which houses treasures by many of Europe’s classical and modern masters.
Frankfurters have turned relaxation intoan art form too, whether it’s just soaking up the sunshineon the banks of the Main, or sharing a few bembels of apple wine with friends.
Just behind the museum embankment, lose yourself in Old Sachsenhausen, where you’ll find narrow lanes lined withtraditional houses, and some of the city’s cosiest bars andebbelwei pubs.
Once you’ve replenished your energy, hop on a tram to the city’s northwest and spend a few hours walking with all creaturesgreat and small at the Naturmuseum Senckenberg.
Most popular of all are the remarkable remainsof 50-million year old dinosaurs, many of which were unearthed just 22 miles awayat the famous Messel Fosil Pit.
Just to the north of the natural history museum, unwind amid the forests, floral displays and lakes of the Frankfurt Botanical Gardens.
Then enter the extraordinary world of tropical and sub-tropical plant life at the Palmengarten.
70 years ago as the city smouldered from war, few could have imagined that these greenhouseswould ever again see such beauty, that this city would ever again experiencesuch peace and prosperity.
But prosper it has, and now that prosperity is a bounty that the entire world can share.