The central German city of Frankfurt is a major financial hub. This lovely city situated on the Main River is the birthplace of writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Much of the city was destroyed in WWII and now the reconstructed Old Town is home to the vibrant Romerberg Plaza where the annual Christmas Market is held.
The fourth tallest skyscraper in Frankfurt is the Main Tower and it is the only one that has an observation tower open to the public. There are two outdoor viewing platforms with the highest being 200 meters. On the 53rd floor is a restaurant and lounge. On the ground floor is an art exhibit and the building’s main tenant is the Helaba Bank. With all of the skyscrapers in Frankfurt it is no wonder that the city is referred to as “Mainhattan”.
Outside of the 148 meter tall Eurotower, home to the European Central Bank you’ll see the huge blue and gold Euro symbol. On the ground floor the Info Shop sells Euro coins from all over the Eurozone.
Frankfurt’s old central square is The Romberg or Roman Hill. Here you can see gabled half-timbered buildings that were reconstructed after WWII. Overshadowing the square is the Romer the old Town Hall where many Holy Roman Emperors celebrated their coronations. You can see their portraits in the Kaisersaal or Imperial Hall. There are mid-19th century portraits of 52 rulers who made their mark between the 8th century and 1806. Access to the hall is gained through a courtyard and a spiral staircase made of carved red sandstone. Today the Town Hall is home to the office of the Mayor of Frankfurt and serves as the Registry Office. At the center of the square is the Fountain of Justice. When Mattias was coronated in 1612 the fountain gave out wine.
The parkland along both banks of the Main River is the perfect promenade for strolling and enjoying the views. The most popular section is located between the two pedestrian bridges, Holbeinsteg and Eiserner Steg.
One of the landmarks in Frankfurt – Hauptwache was built in 1730 and served as a guardhouse, a prison and a police station. The surrounding square was named after it and is the key station for the city’s S-Bahn and U-Bahn public transit system. The building is now a popular cafe.
South of the Main River is the popular upscale residential area known as Sachsenhausen. In the old town section you’ll find lots of restaurants, cafes and bars. A landmark here is the 120 meter high Henninger Tower. Every May Day a bike race is held that loops around the tower. Unfortunately the observation deck has been closed since 2002.
Germany’s most famous writer and poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt The house where he was born – Goethe House is now a museum. It is furnished in the style of Goethe’s time. Some of the pieces belonged to Goethe such as the puppet theater that was given to him when he was four years old. Nearby is the Goethe Tower a 43 meter tall wooden observation tower that offered panoramic views but has been since closed due to safety reasons.
Founded in 1815 Stadel Museum is a world-renowned art gallery with an impressive collection of European art from the Middle Ages to today. Visitors can view artwork by such masters as Durer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Renoir, Picasso and Cezanne. There are also great contemporary works of art.
Kaiserdom Frankfurt’s red sandstone cathedral has an elegant Gothic tower rising 95 meters and it can be climbed. Work on the cathedral was begun in the 1400s and completed in the 1860s.Most impressive is the Wahlkapelle where Holy Roman Emperors were elected and after 1562 consecrated and crowned. Keep a look out for the modern “skull” altar. Organ recitals are given here. Entering the cathedral to the left you’ll see The Dommuseum which has a small collection of precious liturgical objects.
The Frankfurt Stock Exchange was built in 1843 and is an impressive neo-Classical structure with columns. The porch is decorated with allegorical statues of the five continents. On a free tour given in English and German you can see the all-electronic trading floor. In the square right in front is a sculpture titled Bull and Bear that depicts a showdown between the two.
The Old Nikolai Church is a Protestant church built from red sandstone and topped with a single spire. It is one of the few structures to survive the war practically intact. Inside under late-Gothic vaulting are stone carvings and 14th and 15th century gravestones. The church is situated on the south side of the Romberberg.
The Church of Our Lady is a three-aisle Gothic hall church. There is a stone relief over the Three Kings Portal dating from around 1425 and is considered to be an important artwork. There are remains of Medieval and Baroque furnishings in the interior.
The Museum of Modern Art has been dubbed the “slice of cake” because of its distinctive triangular design. The museum focuses on European and American art from the 1960s to the present and has frequent temporary exhibits.
The bulky statue of The Frau Rauscher Burnnen stands looking out toward the street and often spews a stream of water about 10 meters onto the footpath drenching unsuspecting passers-by. The idea for this is base on a popular Frankfurt song about apple wine.
If you want to see some impressive sculptures visit the Liebieghaus. This is a lovely 1890s villa with a collection of sculptures – Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque and some from even as far as East Asia.
For relaxing and enjoying nature there is the beautiful Palmen Garden established in 1871. This is a botanical garden with historic tropical greenhouses, rose gardens, a pond with rowboats, playgrounds for children and a mini-gauge train. In the summer the garden offers open-air concerts.
Just steps away from the Main River you’ll find the Bolongaro Garden designed from the Baroque period. This is a terraced garden found behind the Bolongaro Palace. The garden is decorated with balustrades and two rolling stairways stretching all the way to the river. Of interest are sandstone figures on the balustrade walls, which depict a Turkish chapel and the shell grotto with its dragon fountain between both stairways. In the center and upper, larger part of the gardens is an oval fountain with a statue of Neptune.