Bonn is one of the oldest cities in Germany. The city celebrated its 2,000th anniversary in 1989, based on the date of its first written mention by the Roman writer Florus in 11 B.C. The Romans appreciated Bonn's easily accessible location on the Rhine, mild climate, and beautiful surroundings. The area was settled long before Roman times, however, with first traces of human settlement dating back as far as 50,000 years.
From a Roman garrison, during the Middle Ages, Bonn developed into a spiritual and trading centre: the current Bonn market was already a market settlement more than 1,000 years ago! Bonn was granted a full municipal charter in 1243, and in the 16th century the electors and archbishops of Cologne chose Bonn as their capital and city of residence. Their magnificent palaces and buildings are still bringing Baroque splendour to the city today. Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn in 1770 at Bonngasse 515, which is now house number 20. During the 19th century, the University of Bonn developed into one of the most important higher education institutions in Germany.
During the period of German separation following the Second World War, Bonn was made provisional capital city from 1949 to 1990 and the seat of the German federal government up until 1999. With Bonn as the capital, the brand new German republic experienced a matchless economic, social, and political upturn. This was a time which former German president Johannes Rau once used a symbol of the happiest time for German democracy.