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City Guide: FrankfurtThe Federal Republic of Germany surrounded by kilometers of seashore via North Sea and Baltic Sea at the north is a European country in the center of the west part of the Continental Europe. Germany is composed of sixteen states. Hessen, one of these federal states, is separated into 21 counties and 5 independent cities. Frankfurt am Main located in the southwest part of the Central Germany is one of the independent cities of the state of Hessen. The city is commonly known as Frankfurt; however, Germans sometimes call it in full name to distinguish the city from the smaller Frankfurt in the state of Brandenburg. It is the 5th most populous city in Germany. It is regarded as the financial capital of Europe due to the European Central Bank to be there. Frankfurt is the financial, transportation and business center of the country. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt.
Tourist AttractionsFrankfurt is a city both in the sky and on the river. The city teems with high-rise buildings and towers. Around one hundred high-rise buildings constitute the fabric of the spectacular scene of the city. The Skyline, the Europe's tallest office building, figured on the river is the structure adding the most to the dynamism of the city atmosphere. Meadows, greeneries, bridges, splendid scenes, promenades are the benefactions of the Main River. Contrary to your expectations of the city to be full of stones at all aspects, Frankfurt is a verdant and green city.
Frankfurt is a city composed of the combination and the harmony of global contrasts. Skyscrapers and timber buildings are in the same city with the Japanese sushi and cider. This is the harmony of the contemporaneity and traditionalism waking in Frankfurt.
Money and the global financial market do not create a contrariety with animus and the Book Fair city. Intellectuals and moneymen construct the social life of the city all together. Frankfurt spends more money than other European cities to art.
Some of the key touristic sights of the city;
Goethe House (Goethe-Haus) at Großer Hirschgraben 23-25 is one of the most popular sights of the city. You will witness the life of Goethe at his parents' house.
Cathedral at Domplatz built in 850s has a tower with a height of 95 m. You can step up to its tower between April and October. It has a museum containing valuable pieces.
Römer at Römerberg 27 has been the city hall of Frankfurt am Main for about six centuries. Römer is originally the middle building of the tree houses in the Römerberg plaza. This medieval structure is one of the most significant sights of the city.
Frankfurt is famous for its high rise building towers. The highest office building in the continent, 260 high Commerzbank Tower, is the symbol of the city. Main Tower, the two towers of Deutsche Bank, 256 m Messeturm (fair tower), Silver Tower and many more are worth to visit.
Frankfurt Zoo is one of the oldest zoological gardens in the world. There are 500 different kinds and about 4.500 animals in the zoo.
On the both banks of Main, this magnificent location for art lovers is one of the best museum sites in Germany and Europe. Giersch Museum, Museum of Applied Art, Museum of World Cultures, Museum of Communication and Liebieghaus are just a few examples to mention among these historical exhibitions.
Culture & Entertainment
Trade fairs, conferences, seminars, literature, great thinkers, festivals, sports, theaters, movie theaters, wellness facilities, parks, exhibition centers, private galleries, cultural institutions, immeasurable events, organizations and locations all fabricate the diversified, comprehensive, versatile, rich and unprecedented culture of Frankfurt. You will be overwhelmed at the Frankfurt's cultural prospect.
Frankfurt is sought after for congresses and seminars. It is one of the spectacular and unique European and world cities by being home to innumerable cultural and art related events. Over 3 million visitors join in about 60.000 activities and events every year. The unlimited range of congress and seminar venues, and overnight and daytime accommodation facilities play the leading role in the dynamic cultural life of the city.
Frankfurt is one of the oldest fair cities. A plenty of international fairs of many kinds are held in the city. The Book Fair and the Ambiente are among the main specialist fairs organized in the city. Messe Frankfurt GmbH hosts about 50 trade fairs and special exhibitions annually. The exhibition grounds of Messeturm have an area of 476.000 m2 indoor and outdoor capacity. You can realize the exhibition center from a great distance via its 256 meters high exhibition tower. A plenty of festivals and carnivals are organized in Frankfurt. Rheingau Music Festival (annual, May) and Museumsuferfest also known as Museum Riverbank Festival (annual, the end of summer) are the most famous ones.
The city is famous for its contributions to the intellectual and literature accumulations of the world through its great world famous thinkers. Frankfurt is the homeland of the world famous Johann Wolfgang Goethe. While he spent a great portion of his life span out of the city, Goethe consigned to writing most of its works in Frankfurt like the Sorrows of Young Werther and Goetz von Berlichingen.
In addition to popular publishing houses such as Campus Verlag and Inles, the thinkers of the Frankfurt School (Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheim, Jurgen Habermas...) indicate the intellectual respect of the city. The world's largest book exhibition, the Institute of Social Research including the German Library, is placed at Frankfurt.
Opera Frankfurt, Old Opera House, English Theater and International Theater are a few examples from the many major cultural institutions in Frankfurt.
City tours via city boats on the river and Ebbelwei Express are fantastic. An excursion boat gives the gratification of traveling the city accompanied by the alluring skyline. The colorful historical tram, Ebbelwei Express, is available for a comfortable city tour to experience the best views from the city.
Food & Drink
The culinary culture of the city takes the town's lead. The restaurants are lively, versatile, from all categories and multicultural. You have the facility of tasting from more than 70 countries. The city brims over restaurants (over 3.000 restaurants), bars, clubs, pubs and discotheques. All these venues are not gathered at the specific points of the city. They are diffused to every corner of Frankfurt. The vital point is not to find the appropriate choice, but is to choose among. German classics and trendy dishes will serve the best to your taste. Sauerkraut with beer, the delicious Handkäse cheese and the city's apfelwein (apple wine) all have their own delightful taste. Fressgasse is the munching street of the city.
Some culinary delicacies;
Apfelwein is the German sort of apple wine. Containing 5.5%-7% rate of alcohol, the wine has a sour taste. Handkäse is German sour milk cheese which is one of the major culinary specialties of Frankfurt. It is frequently served with Apfelwein. Grüne Soße is a form of green sauce of the Frankfurt's culinary flavors. Frankfurter Kranz is a kind of cake from the cuisine of Frankfurt am Main.
ShoppingFrankfurt provides an immeasurable range of alternatives for shopping. All the international brands have their outlets in the many shopping streets and centers of the city. It is home to the world's admirable top designers and the top brands from the European fashion. The city is the center of top-quality electronics and sports supplies. You will find the best European wines, cheeses and sausages in Frankfurt. The city teems with shopping malls and department stores.
Zeil is the most famous shopping street and promenade in the city. About 500.000 people make incursions onto that street. All the European and German largest and famous outlets of any kind and all big department stores of the city such as Galeria Kaufhof, Karstadt are placed here.
Goethestrasse (the most luxurious of the city), Kaiserstrasse (jewelry shops, furriers), Hanauer Landstrasse (designer furnitures, antiques, care dealers, home items, supermarkets), Berger Strasse (diversified) and Leipziger Strasse (small shops, Turkish food and fruit markets) are a few examples from the shopping streets of the city.
In Skylife Frankfurt
Turkish writers meet the world
“I am here, dear reader, where are you?” This closing sentence of “Demiryolu Hikayecileri” (Railroad Storytellers) by Oğuz Atay, who launched a new current in Turkish fiction with his novel “Tutunamayanlar” (The Disconnected) in 1971-72, describes the overall situation of most writers of Turkish literature with a few exceptions.
For Turkey's writers, however universal their works might be, are compelled to write sometimes not even for a country but for a small community because this great literature has a such a small market. Even the country's major booksellers consist of only a few floors, and there is no shortage of towns without any bookstore at all. Consequently a book, especially one by a young, unknown writer, can end up in a secondhand bookstore in three or four months.
The publishing sector was not as fortunate as Turkey's other sectors, which immediately embarked on a process of rapid growth when the nation's economy opened up to the world after 1980. The political, ideological and material reasons for this are still debated today, as are those deriving from the country's educational system. But whatever the reason or reasons may be, in the last analysis writers of Turkish literature, apart from some individual efforts, have not, with few exceptions, been translated into world languages nor have their books found a place on the shelves of world booksellers. And so was born a writer who was 'seeking his readers' both in his own country and in the world, and who did not for even a minute give up his passion of writing for the world. But regardless of how slowly the publishing sector has developed, writers, who follow what's going on in the world even under the most difficult conditions, have been among the first to keep up with Turkey's integration with the world.
An incident involving one of Turkey's leading short story writers, Sait Faik Abasıyanık, sums up the situation in a nutshell: When Abasıyanık was applying for a passport he gave his profession as 'writer'. But the official issuing the passport nonetheless entered 'unemployed' in the space for occupation.
PASSENGERS FOR FRANKFURT
I get all keyed up then when I think about the Turkish Airlines plane that will take off from Istanbul for Frankfurt on 14 October, because although it doesn't say so in their passports, most of the passengers will be the distinguished writers of Turkish literature, or publishers who specialize in this field due to their passion for books despite the existence of far more lucrative sectors.
A FAIR ATTENDED BY SEVEN THOUSAND PUBLISHERS
There may be some who don't realize just how important being Frankfurt's guest of honor is. Yet this is perhaps the best thing that could happen to Turkish literature. Just to give an idea, approximately seven thousand publishers from one hundred countries attend this fair, which has been held in the German city of Frankfurt every year since 1949. At fair time, the heart of world books and publishing beats in Frankfurt.
The Frankfurt fair may therefore be a great opportunity for Turkish literature. For the world publishing market is fraught with quotas. A publisher in Europe or the U.S., for example, might say that his quota was full after printing one book by a writer from Turkey. And it frequently happens that a publisher says that one writer from Turkey is enough and doesn't feel a need for another. Similarly, while Italian or French literature may have its own shelf, a book in Turkish may be shelved together with an array of so-called Literature of the East extending as far as China.
TURKEY TO STAGE 250 MAJOR EVENTS
What's more, the Frankfurt Book Fair is not limited merely to the fair venue and dates. Throughout the year, over three thousand interviews, panel discussions and lectures are held with the participation of leading writers, researchers, scholars and organizations of civil society from different countries on the subjects of art, literature, science, culture, language and religion, all organized by the Fair committee.
And at all of these events, the literature and activities of the Guest of Honor Country are brought to the forefront and given special emphasis. This year, for example, Turkish art and literature are going to be promoted in around 250 major events. In addition to panel discussions, interviews and book-signing days, Turkey will stage close to thirty exhibitions, more than fifteen stage productions, concerts and train station readings and close to fifty scholarly meetings.
Not only that, for two months following the fair, Turkish films will be shown and forums held on the Turkish cinema both in the fair area and at the Frankfurt Film Museum. In short, Turkish art and literature are going to be brought to the attention of publishers and agents from all over the world. And this means new contracts for our writers and publishers and the publication of works in other countries, even the translation of works into languages we never even imagined. There was heightened interest in Turkish literature even prior to the fair, as German publishers one after the other brought out anthologies of stories based on the theme of 'Istanbul' or 'Turkish literature'.
LAST YEAR'S GUEST OF HONOR: CATALONIA
Turkey's preparation to be the Guest of Honor Country at the fair, at which Catalonia was guest of honor last year, India the year before that and Korea in 2005, was an encouraging process in itself insofar as Turkey, to support the Culture Ministry's Guest of Honor Project, in 2005 launched the TEDA Project (Opening Up Turkish Literature to the World). In line with the project, 441 works were translated into thirty-five languages, 110 of them into German, thereby overcoming the translation problem which had constituted the major obstacle to Turkish literature entering world booksellers. Turkey allocated a budget of 6.5 million Euros for all of this, and it should immediately be pointed out here that this is the first time that the Turkish government has ever lent such enormous organizational support to writers and the world of literature. It gives a person further hope now to know that those sitting on the Turkish Airlines plane to Frankfurt will be the invited guests of the Ministry of Culture.
FROM ORHAN KEMAL TO ORHAN PAMUK...
Nevertheless, a writer in the 1960's, and one of the greats of Turkish literature to boot, actually considered suicide owing to the lack of interest in his works. Not knowing who his readers were or where they were, and being unable to reach them caused him more mental anguish than penury or poverty. Ditto for writing knowing full well that he didn't stand a chance of winning the Nobel prize no matter how good he was... This writer is none other than Orhan Kemal, who penned more than 40 works and is one of the best known and most beloved writers in Turkish literature.
How wonderful that some things can change, albeit slowly, with time. For another Turkish writer by the name of Orhan, who is going to give the opening talk at the Frankfurt Book Fair, has, unlike his namesake, managed to find his readers, both in Turkey and in the world, in his own lifetime. What's more, he got the Nobel. It was high time that things changed. And it must be for this reason that Nobel Prize-winning writer Orhan Pamuk is organizing his opening talk at the fair on the topic, 'On Localism and Modernism' and on the whole process that evolved from the day he once told those around him, “I'm going to be a writer,” and they retorted, “What are you going to do as a writer, especially in Turkey?” Who knows? Perhaps the Frankfurt Book Fair will be another turning point for Turkish literature, and Turkish writers will be able to come together with readers living all over the world who are eager to read their novels... Who knows? Perhaps a reader from another country will come to Istanbul just to learn something about the writer of a book he has read, and maybe he'll even pay a visit to the Orhan Kemal Museum in Cihangir which stands idle today for lack of interest. Who knows? It could happen...
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