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Inns are establishments where travellers can procure food, drink, and lodging. Found in Europe, they first sprang up when the Romans build their famous system of highways two millennia ago. Some inns in Europe are centuries old. In addition to providing for the needs of travellers, inns traditionally acted as community gathering places.

In today's automobile-ridden world, real inns are fast dying out. The few that are left function primarily as pubs. In North America, inns are usually alcohol-serving restaurants that have never provided lodging or serviced the needs of travellers.

The original functions of an inn are now usually split among separate establishments, such as hotels, lodges[?], motels, pubs, restaurants, and taverns[?].

The German words for "inn", "innkeeper", and "inkeeping" illustrate the historical importance of inns. An innkeeper is Wirt (a host), the inn itself is a Wirtshaus (a host's house), and innkeeping is Wirtschaft. The last word literally means hosting or hospitality, but is also used to mean economy and business in general. In the Greek language, the word for economy (oikos "house" + nomos "law") is actually identical to house-keeping.

See also:

For the river named Inn, check Inn River

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