Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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Frankfurt (Oder) 15230
Population: 66,151 (June 30, 2004).
The town of Frankfurt (Oder) was founded in the 13th century (local government charter in 1253) at the river crossing known as the Brandendamm. The early settlers lived on the western banks of the Oder; later the town was extended to the eastern banks (which are today Polish). In late medieval times the town dominated the trade on the river between Wroclaw (Breslau) and Szczecin (Stettin). In 1430 Frankfurt joined the Hanseatic League, but was a member only for a short time.
In the 19th century, Frankfurt (Oder) played an important role in trade. Centrally positioned in the Kingdom of Prussia between Berlin and Poznan (Poland), and on the trafficked river Oder, the city housed the second largest annual trade fair (Messe) of the German Reich, surpassed only by that in Leipzig. This is in sharp contrast to the Frankfurt (Oder) of the Cold War.
There was intense fighting for the city in 1945 when the Germans made it a fortress blocking the Soviets from taking the direct route to Berlin. After World War II Frankfurt was located on the new Polish border; the quarters on the eastern banks became the Polish town of Słubice.
Both towns are now in friendly relations and run several common projects and facilities. After Poland joined the European Union on May 1, 2004, Frankfurt (Oder) stopped being a border town. Despite this in the post-communist era the town has been quite poor with high unemployment. Its population has fallen significantly from around 87,000 at the time of German reunification in 1990.
Frankfurt housed a university between 1506 and 1811. It was refounded in 1991 under the old name, but with a European emphasis, as the Viadrina European University, which in several respects is a common German-Polish university.
Frankfurt (Oder) is not to be confused with another city called Frankfurt, the much larger Frankfurt am Main.
- The City of Frankfurt (Oder) has a German language-only web site with some limited commerce and cultural information.
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