The city of Frankfurt, located on the banks of the Main River, is a large city (the fifth largest in Germany) and also very lively. It has over five million inhabitants and is home to some of the prominent economic hubs of Germany and of Europe as a whole, including the German Central Bank and the European Central Bank. It is a city that attracts crowds of visitors throughout the year, a city that has a lot to offer in every season. Magnificent cathedrals that tell a story between centuries, stylish churches, fascinating museums and many more interesting stopping points, all of which are a must. As soon as you arrive in the city, and especially in its center, it’s hard not to notice the skyscrapers in it, which fit perfectly next to the ancient buildings.
The history of Frankfurt dates back to the 1st century AD, with the end of the Roman settlement in the same area, its withdrawal to the south and the conquest of the place by the Franks (hence the city’s name, by the way). The city had a place of honor in the Holy Roman Empire and German kings and emperors were crowned there since 855 (this tradition continued for many years until it stopped in 1792). Over the years, the city was occupied and bombed by many forces and during the Second World War it was almost completely destroyed due to direct bombing of its buildings. At one time it was even nominated to be the capital of the western part of Germany, but in the end the city of Bonn won the coveted title. Today it is a city that does not stop for a moment, it seems, and combines, in a perfect way, between the old and the new, between the past and the future. A visit to Frankfurt can be a short visit of a weekend, but it is recommended to devote at least three or four days to it, if only to experience everything it has to offer (or at least – a significant part of it).
Remotely monitor the Frankfurt Cathedral
Magnificent architectural buildings, churches, cathedrals, squares, all these and more are just a part of what Frankfurt has to offer in terms of heritage sites and special and important points of interest. While wandering around the city you can be impressed by its great beauty thanks to those sites, which create a kind of perfect setting for a city with a long history.
Romer – This is, perhaps, one of the most well-known attractions in the city, one that almost every tourist who comes to Frankfurt is likely to pass through or stop by for a few moments during their visit. Romer is the city hall building, which is considered the most famous in the city and also a prominent landmark, and for over 600 years. It is an ancient building from the Middle Ages, located in front of the Church of St. Nicholas, right in the center of the city. The building complex has three floors on an area of 10,000 square meters and has nine buildings in total surrounded by six courtyards. The town hall was sold by a family of merchants along with another building to the Frankfurt City Council in 1405 and immediately became a town hall, as it is known to us today.
Frankfurt Cathedral (Frankfurt Cathedral) – similar to other European cities in the world, Frankfurt also boasts a large and impressive cathedral. Frankfurt Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral built of red sandstone between the 13th and 15th centuries. It is designed in a Gothic style and its tallest tower reaches a height of 95 meters, which makes it very prominent in the city’s skyline. Inside the cathedral, and these are its main points of interest, you will find the tombstone of King Guenter von Schwarzburg, who died in Frankfurt in 1349, as well as many carved altars from the 15th and 16th centuries. The most important relic in the cathedral itself is the dome of Saint Bartholomew, which has been preserved over the years.
The Old Opera House/Alte Oper – almost every self-respecting European city has a magnificent opera house, which serves as a special architectural attraction and at the same time as a place where various music and theater performances take place. The same is true of Frankfurt and its magnificent old opera house. It was built in 1880 and is designed in the Renaissance style. It is located in the heart of the Opera Square in the city, when in 1981 it was reopened to the public after being destroyed during the Second World War, in 1944, following many bombs that were dropped on the city.
Kleinmarkthalle Market – Markets are a perfect place to socialize with the locals and also try fine local produce. This market, which is located in a building from 1954, offers an area of 1,500 square meters that includes 150 stalls, which offer for sale, among other things, some of the best foods in the city. Good traditional spices, dishes from German cuisine, fine cheeses, meats of all kinds and also sausages are sold In large numbers, and in short – a very wide selection of options offered to visitors.
Whether you are an art lover or not, museums are a great place to learn about a certain field and “along the way” also get to know the city where they are located. There are quite a few interesting museums and special galleries in Frankfurt, which are home to artists from all kinds of periods and times and finds of great historical and cultural importance. It is very worthwhile to stop at some of them and combine them with the short or long vacation.
The Museum of Modern Art (Museum fur Moderne Kunst) – art lovers will find this museum of great interest and an opportunity to see spectacular works of art up close. The Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt – MMK, was established in 1981 and was designed by the Viennese architect Hans Hollin. Because of its triangular shape, the building is known as a “piece of cake”, a shape that is hard not to be drawn to already facing the front, in front of the entrance. In 1983, the architect won an award for the design of the museum building. In practice, the museum was opened to the general public only in 1991 and since then has been a center of attraction for many. The museum includes a collection of 87 works of pop art and minimalism by the German collector Karl Strohr, which was transferred to the museum by his heirs. One of the works is a painting by Roy Lichtenstein, the famous artist, which was given to the museum as a gift. The works of other artists are also displayed in the museum, including the works of Andy Warhol. Today, the permanent collection displayed in the art museum includes over 4,500 different works of art, from the sixties of the last century to the present day.
The Jewish Museum of Frankfurt (Jewish Museum Frankfurt) – this special museum is a place you won’t want to miss, and not only because of its Jewish affinity. The Jewish Museum in Frankfurt opened in 1988 on the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, one of the dramatic events etched in the memory of many and a central point symbolizing the persecution of German Jews in the 1930s. The museum itself is actually spread over two locations: the first location is the Rothschild Palace, where various items are displayed, which are part of a history of more than 900 years of the life and work of the Jewish community in the city, while referring to and giving great emphasis to Anne Frank and her family. The second focal point of the museum is the Judengasse Museum which displays the foundations of 19 houses from the time of the first Jewish ghetto in Europe in the 15th century. In addition, you can also see interesting objects and exhibits related to this period, which provide a fascinating glimpse into Jewish culture as part of European history.
The Natural History Museum (Naturmuseum Senckenberg) – this museum is suitable for all ages, and is very popular among children and for good reason. It is the second largest of its kind in Germany and boasts wonderful exhibitions, the likes of which (at least some of them) you will not find anywhere else in the world. The Natural History Museum in Frankfurt has a collection of dinosaur fossils, which is considered the largest exhibition of dinosaurs in Europe. The museum also contains a large and very diverse collection of birds, including 90,000 bird skins, 5,050 eggs, 17,000 skeletons and equally interesting specimens. Over half a million visitors visit the museum every year and it is located inside a building that was built at the beginning of the 20th century. The museum is owned by the Nature Research Association and is among the leading and well-known attractions in the city.
Stadel Museum – This museum, whose official name is Stadelsches Kunstinstitut und Stadtische Galerie, is an art museum with the most important collections in Germany. In the Städel Museum there are 2,700 paintings, a collection of 100,000 drawings and prints and also 600 sculptures. Within an area of 4,000 square meters, visitors can also find an exhibition and a library of 100,000 books and 400 periodicals. Attendance figures are among the highest in its history – close to half a million visitors. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious art museums in the country, founded in 1815 by the businessman Johann Friedrich Städel and it is located in a building built in 1878, which was later (in 2012) expanded and renovated. In the museum’s permanent exhibitions you will find The works of renowned artists, such as Monet, Degas, Picasso, Rembrandt, Botticelli, Giacometti, etc. It also has changing exhibitions, guided tours and special events, including interesting meetings on art.
Goethe House and Museum – the city of Frankfurt is the birthplace of the greatest writer in Germany, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. His family’s home, the Goethe House, where the writer was born on August 28, 1949 and where he lived until 1765, is part of this fascinating museum, which is visited by many curious people throughout the year. When visiting the place you can see how the family lived their daily life and how their employees also lived. You can see the magnificent dining room decorated with a multitude of elements located on the main floor, Goethe’s writing room located on the upper floor, where he hung many of his early works as well as other interesting finds. Adjacent to the Goethe House is the Goethe Museum, a 14-room gallery that displays works of art from the writer’s lifetime, including works from the late Baroque period to the Romantic period. It is highly recommended to join the guided tours held in both buildings.
The Dialog Museum (DialogMuseum) – the concept of this museum is known in the world, and in Israel it is called “Dialogue in the Dark”. The museum redefines the popular perception of how a museum should be and what artifacts are seen in it. The idea behind it is our other senses, apart from sight, which allow us to experience the world from a slightly different angle, and no less successful than the sense of sight (and some argue even more than that). Visitors to the museum join upon their arrival a one-hour guided tour that goes through its four rooms, with all of this done in complete darkness. They experience the place without their sense of sight and just as blind people or those who suffer from severe visual impairments experience. This is an opportunity to get to know a slightly different museum and enjoy an hour that is an experience of all the senses (except the sense of sight).
The Historic Railway Museum – The railway museum in Frankfurt, also known as HEF, was established in 1978 with the aim of preserving the history of the railways and serving as a kind of monument to the old steam locomotives. Since its opening, the museum, which presents its visitors with a lot of important information about the subject, while referring to the technological side of the trains as well as the cultural side, has been open on the weekends and attracts many interested people. Since 1981, and every year, the train festival has also been held there, when a special line is operated between Frankfurt and Königstein.
The entrance to the Palmengarten botanical gardens (photo: Anna16, Wikipedia)
Although it is lively and large, even in Frankfurt you can find quite a few quiet, pleasant and peaceful spots in the form of charming gardens or parks. There are several parks in the city, which are considered prominent and well-known tourist attractions, suitable for a break, a short picnic or just a leisurely stroll of an hour or more.
The Palmengarten Botanical Garden – The Palmengarten is one of three botanical gardens in Frankfurt, which is a stopping point for those looking for a place to escape for a moment from the hustle and bustle of the city. Like other public sites in the city, it was also financed and implemented by the architect Heinrich Schlosser, when his work was completed in 1871, it was also officially opened to the general public. After World War II, the garden was handed over to the American occupation authorities, but was eventually returned to the city around the 1960s. From that moment, a massive reconstruction of the garden began, since many buildings in it and large areas were almost completely destroyed during the war. In 1992, its restoration was successfully completed and it instantly became one of the city’s tourist attractions.
Bethmannpark (Bethmannpark) – this charming park covers a large area, and is one of the most prominent on the list of Frankfurt’s parks. It was named after the Bethman family who lived in the city, who purchased the area in 1783, which began as a private garden in the rococo style. The park has been visited by several famous figures throughout history: King Frederick William III visited the place in 1803, Emperor Napoleon Boniparte visited it in 1813, in 1815 it was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who visited the place and in 1863, on the occasion of the birthday of the Prince of Frankfurt, he visited the Emperor’s Park Austro-Hungarian Franz Joseph. The park was redesigned several times according to the fashion of those years (it was in the style of the English gardens, the Rococo style, etc.) and in 1941 it passed into the hands of the city itself. In 1953 the park became an educational park and in 1976 it became a public park. In 1989, a Sinai garden was established in the southwestern part, which in itself is a highly recommended stopping point.
Gruneburg Park – This park got its name from the “Green Castle”, which stood there in the 14th century and is now a prominent and well-known attraction in the city. The area on which the park is located was purchased in 1789 by the banker Peter Heinrich von Bethmann Metzler and he took care of its design and invested quite a bit of his money and time. In the following years, great thinkers met in the park, among them Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Tina von Arnim. In 1837, the park was purchased by the Rothschild family, who took care to nurture it quite a bit, and in 1877, the design of the park became an English design by Heinrich Sesshayer. In 1935, after the Nazis came to power, Albert von Goldschmidt-Rothschild, who committed suicide five years later, was forced to transfer the park, which was part of his family home, to the authorities. After World War II, the area of the park was expanded and from then until today, the park is used as a meeting and recreation place for the locals as well as for tourists, especially in the summer months. In the northwestern corner of the park there is a botanical garden and in the park there is also a beautiful Korean garden, which was given as a gift to the city in 2005 and its design is based on the traditional design style of Korean gardens.
Rothschild Park – Rothschild Park is a public park located next to the Opera Square in the business center of Frankfurt. The park is named after the Rothschild family, a very wealthy banking family, which originated in the city itself. The story of the park begins as early as 1810, when Amschel Meir Rothschild bought a country house with a plot of land in the area. In 1830 the house was expanded by the family and in 1832 the property around it was developed as an English-style garden park. The park and the building, where the family lived, were further expanded by Baron Wilhelm Karl von Rothschild in 1870, when in 1943 the place was destroyed by the English after their invasion of the city. Since 1950, the property has been owned by the municipality and is now a public park, slightly smaller than its original area, but definitely one that is an attraction in itself.
Frankfurt Zoo (Frankfurt Zoo) – In this huge zoo you will find over 4,500 different animals, representing at least 510 different species. It is a very large zoo founded in 1858, which makes it the second oldest zoo in Germany. It is known for its excellent habitats, including Grzimek House which displays a variety of animals from Madagascar. The zoo also has marine animals, reptiles, crocodiles and those that characterize diverse climate zones. There is a monkey house, which is inside a forest that looks like an authentic jungle and other special surprises.