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Serving as both the capital of Belarus and the headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Minsk is a hub of business and government. Although few older buildings survived WWII bombings and Stalinist construction projects, Belarusians are proud of their capital's long history and its continued cultural importance. The city boasts 16 museums, 11 theaters, and 139 libraries, including the National Library of Belarus, with collections housed in a towering glass geometric ball.
Though probably best known as the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 (and of reunified Germany until 1999), Bonn actually has a history dating back to the 1st century BC. Roman soldiers were stationed here and the largest known Roman fort was built at Bonn. In medieval times, the town gained prominence when the Archbishop of Cologne transferred his seat to Bonn. The city's most famous son is Ludwig van Beethoven, born in 1770 at Bonngasse, where a museum now honors him.