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Frankfurt/Main: Attractions

When bombs rained down on Frankfurt in 1944, nearly all the old half-timbered buildings were leveled. In what seemed like record time, residents of Frankfurt rebuilt their city into a fine mȳlange of modern and traditional architecture and faithfully restored some of their most prized old buildings as well.

Although Frankfurt doesn't have the monuments or museums to equal Munich or Berlin, its museums and exhibition halls still lure some 2 million visitors annually. As the cultural director of the city of Frankfurt, Dr. Hans Bernhard Nordhoff, told us, "We offer you everything from Goethe to Andy Warhol, from Tyrannosaurus Rex to the female ideal of Botticelli."

Many of the grandest museums lie along the Main on the south bank -- often called "Museum Embankment," in itself a dazzling array of contemporary architecture even before you go inside to look at the exhibits.

Parks

Frankfurt has a lot of parks. Locals like to point out that while the city has no Central Park as New York does, it is itself a central park. A botanic city ring has replaced the enclosing city walls of old Frankfurt. Along the Main is a park landscape where you'll see bankers taking their lunch break beneath statues of heroes from the past.

The Palmengarten, Siesmayerstrasse 61 (tel. 069/21233939; U-Bahn: Westend; bus: 32), is a park and a botanical garden. During the last decade, the gardens have been renewed and the conservatories and historic greenhouses completely reconstructed. You can admire a perennial garden, an expanded rock garden, and a beautiful rose garden. A huge gallery that serves as an exhibition hall for flower shows and other botanical exhibitions surrounds the 1869 palm house. In recent years, new conservatories have been added: The Tropicarium is a complex for tropical vegetation; the Sub-Antarctic House displays plants from southern Chile, Argentina, and New Zealand; and the Entrance Conservatory houses insectivorous plants and bromeliads. Collections of orchids, palms, succulents, water lilies, and many others are also on display.

Admission to the botanical garden is 5€ ($6.50) for adults and 2€ ($2.60) for children, or 9.50€ ($12) for a family ticket. It's open daily March to October 9am to 6pm, November to February 9am to 4pm. In the park area, there's a small lake where people can row boats. In summer, concerts are given in the band shell; evening events include open-air dancing, jazz, and fountain illumination. There are some facilities for food. For guided tours in English call tel. 069/21233391.

Bethmann Park, with its Chinese gardens, is another interesting park. It lies immediately to the northeast of Stadtmitte, and is reached by bus no. 30 or tram no. 12.

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