Frankfurt, Germany

Boasting a huge collection of fine museums and historic buildings Frankfurt has so much to offer. With an impressive skyline dominated by a collection of high rise buildings in the banking quarter this old imperial city lies on the River Main and has long been the commercial and economic centre of the country. This is a great city to explore on foot and crossing the Main via the iconic 150 year old Eiserner Steg footbridge links you to the Sachsenhausen district with its cobblestone streets.

In the heart of Frankfurt's Altstadt or Old Town, you will find the Römerberg with its irregularly shaped square and the Fountain of Justice. It is one of Frankfurt’s most picturesque public squares and is also the city’s busiest pedestrian zone. In the Römerberg there are many open fronted shops, the 1954 Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) and the 1908 Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) as well as the 14th Century Gothic St. Leonhard Church and St. Nicolas Church.

Situated on Paulsplatz the St. Paul’s Church is a building of great significance, not just for Frankfurt but Germany as a nation. It started out in 1789 as a Lutheran Church, designed with a circular plan according to the protestant principles of the time, ensuring that every member of the congregation could hear the sermon. In 1848 the round format made it an ideal seat for Germany’s first democratically elected parliament, which in turn would form the basis for the German constitution.

The Roman Catholic Frankfurt Cathedral or officially the Imperial Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew is located in the centre of Frankfurt am Main and showcased by its lovely colour. The Gothic style Cathedral was built of red sandstone between the 13th-15th Centuries with a 95 metre tall tower and is only one of a handful of Churches in Germany to be designated as an Imperial Cathedral. Many of the Cathedral's most important artefacts can be viewed in Dommuseum Frankfurt.

The Baroque style Hauptwache or Main Guard is situated in the middle of the city on one of Frankfurt’s busiest pedestrian areas. Built in 1730, it once housed the city's militia, then a prison and later a police station. It now functions as a café amongst the squares main shopping area. The plaza to the western end of the Zeil, Frankfurt’s long pedestrianised shopping street is overflowing with high street chains and big German department stores like Karstadt. There are also plenty of entertainment places and the Rossmarkt and Kaiserplatz, which lead to the city’s main train station the Hauptbahnhof. While Zeil is all about the chain stores and malls, Berger Straße has a bit more character with restaurants, eccentric bars and is one of the best neighbourhoods for nightlife. The Goethestrasse is an upmarket shopping area with numerous fine boutiques, art galleries and cafés.

In the Museum District you will find some 16 different museums including the Städel Art Museum with its excellent collection of 14th Century paintings, the Museum of World Cultures regarded as one of Europe's top Ethnological Museums and the Museum of Ancient Sculpture. Other museums worth a visit are the Frankfurt Archaeological Museum set in a former Monastery and dealing with the city's history from its foundation to the present. The Museum of Modern Art is widely regarded as one of Europe's most important galleries of contemporary art.

The Goethe House and Museum was the birthplace of Germany's greatest writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe where he was born and lived until 1765. You can see everything from the sumptuously decorated dining room on the main floor to Goethe's writing room on the top floor, where he penned many of his early works and where he played as a child with his puppet theatre. The 14 room gallery next door showcases his masterpieces from the Late Baroque and Romantic periods. The Jewish Museum Frankfurt opened in 1988 on the 50th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, a pivotal point in the persecution of Germany's Jews in the 1930’s. The Jewish Museum is spread across two venues and a highlight is an exhibit relating to Anne Frank in the Frank Family Centre as well as a state of the art research library.

The Eschenheimer Turm or Eschenheim Tower was built in the 1400’s and remains the finest relic from Frankfurt's Old Town walls. It stands 47 metres tall and still impresses with its dimensions and dominates the Eschenheimer Gate district. Today, the tower houses a café and meeting rooms used by local historical societies.

Other sites to visit include the Old Opera House (Alte Oper), which you will find in the heart of Frankfurt's Opera Square (Opernplatz). The city's New Opera House, Oper Frankfurt and the Schauspiel Frankfurt, drama theatre, share a contemporary venue known as the Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt.

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