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72km (45 miles) S of Düsseldorf, 27km (17 miles) S of Cologne, 174km (108 miles) NW of Frankfurt

Until 1949, Bonn was a sleepy little university town, basking in its 2,000 years of history. Then suddenly it was shaken out of this quiet life and made capital of the Federal Republic of Germany. But in 1991, after the reunification of Germany, Berlin again became the official capital.

From the 13th century to the 18th century, Bonn was the capital of the prince-electors of Cologne, who had the right to participate in the election of the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The city is also proud of its intellectual and musical history -- Beethoven was born here; composer Robert Schumann and his wife, pianist Clara Schumann, lived here; and Karl Marx and Heinrich Heine studied in Bonn's university.

Bonn is also within sight of the Siebenbirge (Seven Mountains), a volcanic mountain range rising up on the eastern bank of the Rhine. The local wine produced on these slopes is known as Drachenblut (Dragon's Blood) and is better than most German reds.