Friday, 27 January 2012



Frankfurter Skyline, © Foto: Tanja Schäfer
Frankfurter Skyline, © Foto: Tanja Schäfer
Frankfurt – the smallest metropolis in the world. When you think of the Frankfurt Am Main (to give it it's full title), you think of the airport, the Paulskirche and Johann Goethe, the Stock Exchange, the Book Fair and the skyline. Frankfurt is the financial and transportation centre of Germany and the largest financial centre in continental Europe. It is seat of the European Central Bank, the German Federal Bank, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the Frankfurt Trade Fair, as well as several large commercial banks, e.g. Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and DZ Bank. Frankfurt Airport is one of the world's busiest international airports, Frankfurt Central Station is one of the largest terminal stations in Europe, and the Frankfurter Kreuz is one of the most heavily used Autobahn interchanges in Europe.

Römerberg mit Fachwerkzeile ©  PIA Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Michael GlowallaFrankfurt is the by word for business, yet the old part of the city around the Römerberg, with its restored timber-framed buildings remains a real doll’s house. Chocolate-box pretty. Frankfurt has just 680,000 inhabitants, a tenth of the population of the German state of Hesse. And it takes less than twenty minutes to cross the city on foot. Frankfurt is home to many museums including Städel, Naturmuseum Senckenberg and the Goethe House and two major botanical gardens, the Palmengarten, which is Germany's largest, and the Botanical Garden of the Goethe University.

In the old town, the simplicity of rural German life, with it's narrow alleyways and traditional bars sits comfortably alongside the cosmopolitan station district which, within less than one square kilometre, is home to more than one hundred nationalities, living side by side peacefully in some extremely grand houses. The streets bustle with the sound of all the languages of the world, and Turkish, Italian, Indian, Chinese or Pakistani food is to be had on every corner. On summer days, tables and chairs appear in the squares outside cafes and restaurants.
Even the casual visitor cannot fail to be impressed with the contrast, when a view from one of the Main bridges takes in both the civic splendour of the Römerberg and the imposing skyline of modern high-rise architecture.

During the 1970s, the city created one of Europe's most efficient underground transportation systems. That system includes a suburban rail system (S-Bahn) capable of reaching outlying communities as well as the city centre, and a deep underground light rail system with smaller coaches (U-Bahn) also capable of travelling above ground on street rails.

Frankfurt comes alive during the hours of darkness offering a large variety of restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs. Many clubs are located in and around the city centre and in the Ostend district, mainly close to Hanauer Landstraße. Restaurants, bars and pubs can be found all around the city, with large concentrations inSachsenhausen, Nordend, Bornheim and 
Bockenheim. The roots of techno music can be traced back to Germany, and in particular, Frankfurt. It was here, in the early 1990s, that local DJs like Sven Väth and DJ DAG (of Dance 2 Trance) first played a harder, deeper style of acid house that became hugely popular worldwide during the next decade. 

                                                          Frankfurt’s Top 5:

1.St Bartholemew's Cathedral. No one
 can miss the 95 m high 
tower rising over Frankfurt city centre, the Cathedral  (Dom) can be seen all across the city. Its beginnings date back to the year 852. Ten emperors were crowned here between 1562 and 1792. It has been recognized as symbol for the national unity of Germany, especially during the 19th century. Although it has never been a bishop's seat, its was it was the largest church in Frankfurt and its role in imperial politics made the church one of the most important buildings of Imperial history and justified the use of the term (imperial) cathedral for the church since the 18th century. In 1867, the cathedral was destroyed by a fire and rebuilt in its present style.
2.Römerberg. The Römer’s silhouette is world-famous and unmistakably belongs to Frankfurt. Local government has been located here since the 15th century, and it gave its name to the square. Since the 9th century, the Römerberg, formerly called the Samstagsberg, has been the site of markets and fairs, tournaments and festivals, executions and imperial elections and coronations. In the 16th century it was considered the most beautiful square in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. It is from this era that the fountain of justice in the middle of the square originates. Adorned with a statue of Justice with unbound eyes, a scale and sword, this was the first fountain in Frankfurt. A few steps away from the fountain there is a plaque in the cobblestones that commemorates the book burning by the National Socialists in 1933.
3.Old Nikolai Church. The early Gothic Old Nikolai Church was first mentioned in September 1264, but it is definitely older. The church  served as a royal chapel for Stauferian nobility and as electoral site for kings and parliaments.The church was sanctified in the name of St Nicolas of Bari in 1290. Later the Old Nikolai Church was occupied by the city's councilors. A Gothic-style gallery was added in 1476, from where councilmen could watch the festivities. Two tombstones, honouring Siegfried zum Paradies and Katharina Netheha zum Wedel, are located in the interior.
4. Goethe House 
   In his autobiographical 
Goethe-Haus, © Stadt Frankfurt am Main
Goethe House
work ‘Poetry and Truth’ Johann Wolfgang 
Goethe writes ‘I was born in Frankfurt am 
Main on 28th August 1749, just as the clock 
struck noon’.  The house on Hirschgraben 
where Goethe was born has, having been 
destroyed during the war, has been perfectly
reconstructed using historical 
architects drawings and is visited by more than 130,000 guests every year.
5. The Iron Bridge (Eiserner Steg)  is a pedestrian-only bridge over the Main river which connects the Römerberg and Sachsenhausen. It was built in 1868 and was only the second bridge to cross the river in Frankfurt. After World War II, when it was blown up by the Wehrmacht, it was quickly rebuilt in 1946. Today around 10,000 people cross the bridge on a daily basis.


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