Nuremberg (German: Nürnberg) is Franconia's largest city, and its undisputed economic, social and cultural centre. The city lies on the Pegnitz River and the Main-Danube Canal. Within the city limits Nuremberg has a population of about 520,000 (2018), making it the second-biggest city in the Bundesland Bavaria and the biggest city in the region of Franconia. Greater Nuremberg including its suburbs has a population of 1.3 million. The Metropolitan Region Nuremberg which extends to cities like Bamberg or Ansbach has a population of 3.5 million. Long a de facto independent "freie Reichstadt", the city was an early centre of manufacturing and proto-industry and had a golden era during the 16th century when people like Albrecht Dürer, Hans Sachs or Martin Behaim called the city home. Annexed into Bavaria in the early 19th century, the city later came to host Germany's first railway, linking it with neighbouring Fürth (this railway has since been replaced first by a tram and then by a subway line; the current route to Fürth follows a different alignment). It is probably most famous for being the site of numerous Nazi rallies and later the trials against the main war criminals. Extensively bombed as an industrial centre and a symbol of Nazism, Nuremberg was rebuilt after the war and thus managed to retain much of its medieval charm.
When people think of Nuremberg, they usually think of gingerbread, toys, Christmas, the Reich Party Rally Grounds or the Nuremberg Trials (see World War II in Europe and Holocaust remembrance). But the old town of Nuremberg in the shadow of the towering imperial castle is more than that. Gothic churches, splendid patricians' houses and romantic corners and spots. An atmosphere of lively co-existence between medieval and modern, between the past and the present, prevails in Nuremberg. In medieval and early modern times, Nuremberg was a rich centre for trade and early industry and it is no coincidence that the first railway in what is now Germany was built to link Nuremberg and Fürth. Despite World War II destroying much of it, the city's former wealth is still visible. And with its position on the crossroads of two major Autobahn and railway routes, the old saying "Nürnberger Tand geht in alle Land" (stuff from Nuremberg goes everywhere) still rings true.