Bonn Travel Guide
Bonn is best known as the capital of West Germany during the Cold War years, and as the birthplace of Germany's greatest composer, Ludwig van Beethoven. Of the first it can be said that for more than four decades following World War II and the division of Berlin, Bonn found itself catapulted from provincial town to the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany. But despite its ascendancy, Bonn was seldom referred to as Bundeshauptstadt (Federal Capital City), rather it was viewed as Bundeshauptdorf (Federal Capital Town). And with the return of the capital to Berlin in 1990 and the inevitable departure of thousands of bureaucrats and diplomats from the city, even though several government agencies remain in the city, Bonn has once again become a low-profile city. Still, the capital years bestowed upon Bonn a bonanza of excellent museums and visitor facilities, including good hotels and restaurants, and a nightlife that continues to hum along.
Bonn is situated on the Rhine River, just 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Cologne.
Bonn, as German cities go, offers superb value to visitors, particularly in lower hotel and restaurant prices. It is, besides, an historic city, dating from 11 BC, with several pretty Baroque buildings, a Romanesque church that continues to impress, an atmospheric Marktplatz with a picturesque old town hall, and an early 19th-century university. Among priorities here are Beethovenhaus, birthplace of the composer, and Bundeskunsthalle (Federal Art Space), a 5,600-square-meter top-notch museum that showcases rotating exhibitions of artworks from around the world.
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