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Frankfurt am Main, commonly known as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2012 population of 687,775. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010. The city is at the centre of the larger Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region which has a population of 5,600,000 and is Germany's second-largest metropolitan region. Since the enlargement of the European Union in 2013, the geographic centre of the EU is about 40 km (25 mi) east of Frankfurt.

Frankfurt is the largest financial centre in continental Europe and ranks among the world's leading financial centres. It is home to the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and several large commercial banks. The European Central Bank is the central bank of the eurozone, consisting of 18 EU member states that have adopted the euro (€) as their common currency and sole legal tender. The Deutsche Bundesbank is the central bank of Germany and as such part of the European System of Central Banks. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is one of the world's largest stock exchanges by market capitalization and accounts for over 90 percent of the turnover in the German market. In 2010, 63 national and 152 international banks had their registered offices in Frankfurt, including the headquarters of the major German banks, notably Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, DZ Bank and KfW, as well as 41 representative offices of international banks.

Frankfurt is therefore considered a global city (alpha world city) as listed by the Loughborough University group's 2010 inventory. Among global cities it was ranked 10th by the Global Power City Index 2011 and 11th by the Global City Competitiveness Index 2012. Among financial centers it was ranked seventh by the International Financial Centers Development Index 2012 and 10th by the Global Financial Centres Index 2013.

Due to its central location within Germany and Europe, Frankfurt is a major air, rail and highway transport hub. Frankfurt Airport is one of the world's busiest international airports by passenger traffic and the main hub for Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa, the largest airline in Europe. Frankfurt Central Station is one of the largest terminal stations in Europe and the busiest junction operated by Deutsche Bahn, the German national railway company, with 342 daily trains to domestic and European destinations. Frankfurter Kreuz, the Autobahn interchange close to the airport, is the most heavily used interchange in the EU with approximately 320,000 cars daily.

Frankfurt is also a centre for commerce, culture, education, tourism and web traffic. Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's largest trade fairs at 578,000 square metres and ten exhibition halls, a central logistics centre and an attached convention centre. Major trade fairs include the Frankfurt Motor Show, the world's largest motor show, and the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest book fair. Frankfurt is also home to many cultural and educational institutions including the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University and Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, many museums (e.g. Städel, Naturmuseum Senckenberg, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Goethe House), and two major botanical gardens, the Palmengarten, which is Germany's largest, and the Botanical Garden of the Goethe University. 4.3 million tourists visited Frankfurt in 2012, which marked a new all-time-high and a doubling of visits since 1999. 56% of these tourists were Germans, 20% other Europeans, 12% Asians, 10% Americans, 1% Africans and 1% Oceanians. Frankfurt is also home to DE-CIX, the world's largest internet traffic exchange point.

In 2011, the human-resource-consulting firm Mercer ranked Frankfurt as seventh in its annual "Quality of Living" survey of cities around the world. According to The Economist cost of living survey, Frankfurt is Germany's most expensive city, and the 10th most expensive in the world.

A unique feature of Frankfurt is its significant number of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings in the city center which form the Frankfurt skyline. Frankfurt is one of only a few cities in the European Union that have such a skyline, the others being London, Milan, Warsaw, Madrid, Rotterdam and La Défense in the outer Paris region. Because of the city's skyline, Germans sometimes refer to Frankfurt as "Mainhattan", a portmanteau of the local Main River and Manhattan.

Frankonovurd (in old high German) or Vadum Francorum (in Latin) were the first names mentioned in written records from 794. It transformed to Frankenfort during the Middle Ages and then to Franckfort and Franckfurth in the modern era. At the beginning of the 19th century the spelling of Frankfurt was widely established. The affix "am Main" has been used regularly since the 14th century.

In English, the city's full name of Frankfurt am Main translates to "Frankfurt on the Main" (pronounced like English mine or German mein). Frankfurt is located on an ancient ford (German: Furt) on the Main River. As a part of early Franconia, the inhabitants were the early Franks, thus the city's name reveals its legacy as being "the ford of the Franks on the Main".

Among English speakers, the city is commonly known simply as Frankfurt, though Germans occasionally call it by its full name when it is necessary to distinguish it from the other (significantly smaller) German city called Frankfurt in the federated state of Brandenburg, Frankfurt (Oder) on the Polish border.

The common abbreviations for the city, which are primarily used in railway services and on road signs, are Frankfurt (Main), Frankfurt (M), Frankfurt a.M., Frankfurt/Main or Frankfurt/M. The common acronym for the city is "FFM". Also in use is "FRA", the IATA code for Frankfurt Airport.

The older English spelling of Frankfort is now rarely seen. Some cities, mainly in the United States, share this spelling (e.g. Frankfort, Kentucky or Frankfort, New York).
Leon Edgar Books