The first documented mention of the city of Frankfurt from the year 794 is documented in a deed of gift from Charlemagne as “Franconofurt”. Through an eventful history since the Middle Ages, the formerly free imperial city became a crossroads for European trade routes. In addition, Frankfurt was the coronation site of the German emperors for centuries. Today, the Main metropolis is one of the most important European financial and trading centers, not least due to its central location in Europe. Over the past 50 years, Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main, has developed into Germany’s most important financial center and the second most important in Europe after London.
Tip 1: Römerberg
The Römerberg, as the city hall of the city of Frankfurt, has represented its old town center since the High Middle Ages. It extends eastward from the so-called Cathedral Island to its western boundary at the Carmelite Hill. Its highest elevation, the Samstagberg, is four meters above the lower-lying depressions that extend between its neighboring elevations.
Even at the beginning of the Middle Ages, these depressions were marshy or formed the bed for small watercourses. The house with the name “zum Römer” got its name from the fact that it has served as Frankfurt’s city hall since the 15th century. Since then, major historical events, such as imperial coronations, have also taken place here. But Römerberg is also the entrance to other events, such as Frankfurt fairs and the Frankfurt Christmas market. During World War 2, the historic buildings of Römerberg were largely destroyed during air raids on Frankfurt in 1944. In the eastern part of the Römerberg, the Samstagberg, the historic row of buildings was restored or replaced by original new buildings in the 1950s and 1980s. Today, the Römerberg is a popular tourist attraction.
Tip 2: Church of St. Paul
Today, Frankfurt’s Church of St. Paul serves people as a memorial and exhibition space and is also still used as a meeting place. After the demolition of the medieval Church of the Barefoot monks in 1786, the Frankfurt Church of St. Paul was built on the same site from 1789 to 1833. On March 18, 1944, St. Paul’s Church, like other surrounding structures, fell victim to an air raid and burned out. The Church of St. Paul was the first historic building in Frankfurt to be rebuilt after the Second World War. However, one was limited to a very simplified interior construction, while the exterior appearance today is almost identical to its silhouette before the destruction.
The reopening of the Church of St. Paul as the house of all Germans was on May 18, 1948, exactly on the centenary of the first German National Assembly. This first German National Assembly in 1848 took place as a result of the German Revolution. Until 1944, the Church of St. Paul was the main Protestant church in Frankfurt, although this function is now performed by the Church of St. Catherine.
Tip 3: Städel Museum
The Städel Museum, one of the most important art museums in the world, is located directly on the banks of the Main. It was founded as a civic foundation by the banker and merchant Johann Friedrich Städel in 1815 and is today one of the oldest and most important museum foundations in Germany. The Städel Museum’s exhibits include works of art spanning seven centuries. These unique paintings illustrate history from different eras and give visitors a vivid insight into the everyday culture of society.
A special attraction of the Städel Museum are valuable works by Dürer, Cranach, van Eyck, Botticelli, Rembrandt or Holbein. Works by renowned Impressionists such as Monet, Renoir and Degas can also be admired here. Expressionism is represented by works of famous artists, such as Kirchner, Beckmann, Marc and Macke. Classical Modernism, represented by works by Picasso, Klee and Dix, also round out the Städel Museum’s rich repertoire.
Tip 4: Imperial Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew
The Imperial Cathedral is the largest and most important sacral building in Frankfurt. From the 14th century onwards, elections for the German king, who was also emperor of the Roman Empire in personal union, took place in the imperial cathedral. In order to save the trip to Rome, the German kings were also crowned emperor in the Frankfurt imperial cathedral from 1562 onwards.
The history of the imperial cathedral can be traced back to the 7th century. However, the present church was essentially built between 1250 and the early 16th century. Official completion was in 1514, when the almost completed west tower had to be closed for lack of money with an emergency dome, which was to characterize the cityscape of Frankfurt for centuries as a unique solution in Central Europe.
For about a thousand years, Frankfurt’s imperial cathedral was under the control of the Salvator monastery, which was founded in 852 by the East Franconian King Louis the German as an imperial monastery and remained in existence until its secularization in 1803. Since then, the imperial cathedral has functioned as the Catholic parish church of St. Bartholomew. Inside the imperial cathedral is the skullcap of the apostle Bartholomew as the most valuable relic. In the imperial cathedral, from 1356, the seven electors met to elect the kings of Germany. From 1562 onwards, the Roman Emperor was crowned in Frankfurt a total of ten times, the last time in 1792 being Emperor Franz II, the last Emperor of the Roman Empire, before Napoleon completely readjusted the balance of power in Europe.
The historic cloister of the Imperial Cathedral has housed the Frankfurt Cathedral Museum since 1987. Here, the history of the imperial cathedral is reviewed in an exciting exhibition and the Bartholomew relic – the only apostle relic in Germany – is also historically classified.
Tip 5: Main Tower
The Main Tower in Frankfurt is one of the popular sights of this metropolis. It was only completed in 2000 and with its 200 meters it is a real attraction for tourists. The viewing platform is located on the 54th floor and offers an excellent panoramic view of Frankfurt. From the Main Tower you can see almost all the sights from a bird’s eye view, such as the Church of St. Paul, the Goethe House, the Römerberg or the old opera.
The Main Tower Restaurant is located on the 53rd floor. Here you can enjoy international cuisine with a distant view in an upscale ambience. Regular art exhibitions are held in the foyer of this skyscraper.
The Main Tower in Frankfurt has become a landmark of this city. Visually, it separates downtown Frankfurt from the banking district.