Bisected by the serpentine sinew of the Rhine River, Bonn is one of Germany's oldest cities, a city forged of a storied historic past, a strong cultural base, and a love for art and food. While it may hold lesser significance on Germany's power map today, it was settled by the Romans in the Middle Ages, and was the former capital of West Germany in 1949. It was also the birthplace of influential German composer Ludwig van Beethoven. While the seat of power has long since shifted to Berlin, and Beethoven's legacy continues to permeate through the city's soul, Bonn flourishes as Germany's commercial and cultural center. Historic vestiges of its erstwhile stint as the state's capital remain in structures like Palais Schaumburg and Villa Hammerschmidt. There is also an eclectic range of world-class museums that fill Bonn's atmospheric corners, from historic homes and local history museums, to art and science museums. Bonn's street culture is also bolstered a great deal by the diversity of students who attend the prestigious University of Bonn, creating a milieu of summertime cafes and beer gardens that thrive around the campus.