Frankfurt

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Frankfurt

Friday July 9th, 2021  /
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Frankfurt (GermanFrankfurt am Main) is the business and financial centre of Germany and the largest city in the German state of Hesse. The city is known for its futuristic skyline and the busiest German airport.

Located on the river Main, Frankfurt is the financial capital of Continental Europe and the transportation centre of Germany. Frankfurt is home of the European Central Bank and the German Stock Exchange. Furthermore, it hosts some of the world’s most important trade shows, such as the Frankfurt Auto Show and the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Frankfurt am Main, English Frankfurt on the Main, city, Hessen Land (state), western Germany. The city lies along the Main River about 19 miles (30 km) upstream from its confluence with the Rhine River at Mainz. Pop. (2011) city, 667,925; (2000 est.) urban agglom., 3,681,000.

History

There is evidence of Celtic and Germanic settlements in the city dating from the 1st century BCE, as well as Roman remains from the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. The name Frankfurt (“Ford [Passage or Crossing] of the Franks”) probably arose about 500 CE, when the Franks drove the Alemanni south, but the first written mention of Franconofurt stems from Charlemagne’s personal biographer, Einhard, in the late 8th century. The Pfalz (imperial castle) served as an important royal residence of the East Frankish Carolingians from the 9th century through later medieval times. In the 12th century the Hohenstaufen dynasty erected a new castle in Frankfurt and walled the town. The Hohenstaufen ruler Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa) was elected king there in 1152, and in 1356 the Golden Bull of Emperor Charles IV (the constitution of the Holy Roman Empire) designated Frankfurt as the permanent site for the election of the German kings.

Frankfurt am Main was a free imperial city from 1372 until 1806, when Napoleon I made it the seat of government for the prince primate of the Confederation of the Rhine. In 1810 the city became the capital of the Grand Duchy of Frankfurt, created by Napoleon. From 1815, when Napoleon fell, Frankfurt was again a free city, where in 1848–49 the Frankfurt National Assembly met. From 1816 to 1866 the city was the seat of the German Bundestag (Federal Diet) and thus the capital of Germany. After the Seven Weeks’ War in 1866, Frankfurt was annexed by Prussia and thereby lost its free-city status. It was only after its integration into a united Germany that Frankfurt developed into a large industrial city.

About Frankfurt
Many people travel through Frankfurt for business, as it’s a major transportation hub and an industrial and financial metropolis. Of course we know that business travellers hate to have any fun on the road (wink), but it’s worth lingering in Frankfurt if you can. The 2,000-year-old city has much to offer: skyscrapers, the Main River, a famous opera house, thriving theatre district, zoo, pedestrian shopping street, parks, scores of bars and dance clubs, and more than 50 museums.

What does the House of the Golden Scales have to do with the Historical Museum?

The city of Frankfurt had already acquired this important 17th century monument in 1899, and in 1913 handed it over to the Historical Museum. On its 50th anniversary in the year 1928, the museum set up an exhibition there, which was on view until 1942. The House of the Golden Scales, along with the majority of Frankfurt’s historic district, was destroyed on March 22, 1944, by allied bombing during the Second World War. The house disappeared from the city’s landscape – until its detailed reconstruction as part of the Dom-Römer Project.
The Historical Museum has furnished the two upper floors of the front building with furniture, paintings and everyday objects from the 17th and 18th century, as they could have been inhabited by the wealthy merchant family van Hamel, who built the house in 1618. Starting in December 2019, these period rooms can be viewed as part of guided tours. The highlight of any tour is the “Little Belvedere” roof gallery, with its view of the Frankfurt Cathedral and the surrounding rooftops.

What does the House of the Golden Scales have to do with the Historical Museum?

The city of Frankfurt had already acquired this important 17th century monument in 1899, and in 1913 handed it over to the Historical Museum. On its 50th anniversary in the year 1928, the museum set up an exhibition there, which was on view until 1942. The House of the Golden Scales, along with the majority of Frankfurt’s historic district, was destroyed on March 22, 1944, by allied bombing during the Second World War. The house disappeared from the city’s landscape – until its detailed reconstruction as part of the Dom-Römer Project.
The Historical Museum has furnished the two upper floors of the front building with furniture, paintings and everyday objects from the 17th and 18th century, as they could have been inhabited by the wealthy merchant family van Hamel, who built the house in 1618. Starting in December 2019, these period rooms can be viewed as part of guided tours. The highlight of any tour is the “Little Belvedere” roof gallery, with its view of the Frankfurt Cathedral and the surrounding rooftops.

Historical attractions

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Römerberg

  • RömerbergRömerberg 27 (North of Eiserner Steg bridge and city center). Römerberg is the old centre of Frankfurt, with a number of historic buildings dating to the 14th and 15th century (many of which, unfortunately, were destroyed during World War II and rebuilt afterwards). The Römer itself is the town hall of Frankfurt. At the Römer, you can also visit the Alte Nikolaikirche (built in 1290, taking its current form in the 15th century). Several restaurants, cafés and smaller shops can be found at the square itself and in the vicinity. Walking towards the Main river, you approach the Eiserne Steg, a 19th century bridge leading to Sachsenhausen, as well as the Rententurm (Customs Tower), a 15th century fortified tower in late Gothic style, connected to the Saalhof, an old 12th century castle building that was later modernized but never completely destroyed.
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Dom (Cathedral)

  • Dom (Saint Bartholomeus’ Cathedral), (Located right next to the Römerplatz (U4/U5 Dom/Römer)). The main cathedral, built in Gothic style in the 14th century on the foundations of earlier churches. Beginning in 1356, 30 elections were held here for the Holy Roman Emperor. From 1562 to 1792, 10 emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned in the cathedral. It is possible to ascend the spiral stairs of the 95 metre church tower.
  • Eiserner Steg (Iron bridge). Frankfurt’s most well-known pedestrian bridge, built in 1869. It is just a minute away from the Römer, and provides great views of the skyline and the Main river. On the other side, you will reach Sachsenhausen, a district known for its museums and historic pubs.
  • HauptwacheA public area that is often considered the central hub of Frankfurt’s modern city centre area due to its importance as a public transportation station as well as its central location, right between the main shopping street (Zeil), the Rossmarkt (another public square), and the Eschenheimer Tor. The place is named after a Baroque building (“Hauptwache”) located more or less in its centre. The building was constructed in 1730 to house the local city militia, as Frankfurt was an independent city at the time. When Frankfurt became part of Prussia, the building gradually lost its original function. Since 1905, it has instead been serving as a café (“Café Hauptwache”). Other attractions include the Katharinenkirche (built in 1680), and the Palais Thurn-und-Taxis (an 18th century palace completely rebuilt 2004-2009).
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Alte Oper Frankfurt

  • Alte Oper (Old Opera), Opernplatz 1 (take U6 or U7 station Alte Oper, or any line to Hauptwache and walk a few minutes),  Tickets: +49 (0)69 – 1340-400Renaissance Opera Building in the center of the city, on a busy square with fountains and cafés. Originally opened in 1880, it is not used for operas any more since the rebuilding after the war, but for concerts, congresses, and similar “fancy” events. 
  • Börse (Frankfurt Stock Exchange). The Frankfurt stock exchange building, which is still in use. See the bull and bear statues just outside. You cannot enter the building unless you have registered for a guided tour in advance. 
  • Paulskirche (St. Paul’s Church), (Located just north of the Römer place). This was the seat of the first democratically elected parliament in Germany in 1848. Like most historic buildings in the city centre, it was gutted during World War II, but was also among the first buildings to be rebuilt after 1945 (with different interior). Today the building is used as a memorial site and an event centre, hosting e.g. the awarding of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. 
  • SachsenhausenBy crossing one of the bridges from the city centre you reach the Sachsenhausen part of the city south of the Main river. The old town part, Alt-Sachsenhausen, at Affentorplatz is famous for its old cider bars (see the “Drink” section for more information). You can also walk along the river bank or visit the Schweizer Straße (see the “Buy” section).  
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