This time we will visit a city in the middle of Germany. Many know of Frankfurt as it is where the European Central Bank is located but there is much more to this city than just the most famous bank in Europe. This is a city of superlatives. Do you know that the largest book fare in the world takes place there every autumn? If you prefer cars to books, the largest car show in the world is held in Frankfurt every two years. This place is a mix of old and new. Some 18th century house sit a few streets away from some of the highest skyscrapers in Europe.
Did you know?
- Frankfurt is the fifth largest city in Germany.
- 2.3 million people live in Frankfurt and the surrounding districts.
- It is the most expensive city in Germany and it is the 10th most expensive city in the world.
- Johann Wolfgang van Goethe was born and raised in Frankfurt. He is the most famous writer in the German language.
- One of the busiest airports in the world is in Frankfurt – it is a monster of an airport!!
- It is the richest city in Europe.
The best place to start a visit in Frankfurt is in the city centre. The most interesting buildings are located there and many of the streets are closed to vehicular traffic. The square in the very centre of the city is called the Hauptwache. That is where many shops and restaurants are located. There is a large market at Christmas time. Head east along the street called the Zeil. On the left hand side you will see a very eye-catching and unusual building with a glass front and large hole in the glass structure.
This is the MyZeil shopping centre. It is definitely worth going into it to see the amazing architecture. Whip out your mobile phone and take photographs of the long glass tunnel that twists its way through the roof. The appearance and design are spectacular. Head up to the top of the building to get the best views of this glass tunnel. You will not see anything like it.
Sights of the city
There is loads of things to do in this old city. You can go shopping or visit some of the musea in the city. Some of the interesting ones are:
Goethehaus – Grosser Hirschgraben 23 – 25 – this is the house Goethe was born in.
Staedel Museum – Schaumainkai 63 Museum fur Moderne Kunst – Domstrasse 10 – a modern art gallery. It is small.
Kindermuseum Frankfurt (The children’s museum) – An der Hauptwache 15 – Mezzanine – if you have some toddlers with you and you want to (or you really need to) bring them somewhere where they can have lots of fun, bring them here.
Frankfurter Feldbahn Museum – Am Romerhof 15f – this is an old train museum. It is located in a park that is not far from the city centre. It is possible to go for a journey on some of the trains.
Deutsches Architekturmuseum – Schaumainkai 43 – The German Architecture Museum. One can see designs and models of famous and not so famous buildings in Germany.
Eiserner Steg – (the iron bridge in German) it is a pedestrian bridge made of iron that crosses the wide river, the Main, in the middle of the city. It is a pretty bridge.
Alte Oper – this is a gorgeous neo-classical building on the side of a square in central Frankfurt. It looks like it has stood there for centuries but in fact it was rebuilt after being destroyed during the Second World War. There is a café at the entrance where you have a break while looking at the beautiful architecture of the opera house or gaze at life as it passes by in the square.
Paulskirche – Paulsplatz 11. It was in this church in 1848 that representatives from across Germany (which was not then a nation state and included Austria) came together to establish the first German parliament, Frankfurter Nationalversammlung. It was here that democracy in Germany first took hold and the Paulskirche is held in esteem by the people of Germany as the General Post Office is by the Irish people. The church was built in 1833. It was completely destroyed in March 1944 when the city was bombed unmercifully. Even though the German people were short on funds and resources after the Second World War, they gave whatever they could so that the church could be rebuilt in time for the centenary in 1948. It is no longer used as a church. The American president John F Kennedy gave a speech here in 1963.
If you are in search of good German food, head into Solber Faessje on Grosse Friedberger Strasse. They serve traditional food full of meat, potatoes and gravy or sauce poured all over them. They have a good selection of dishes so you will find it difficult to choose one.
A Wonderful View
Main Tower is one of the highest buildings in Frankfurt. It is the only building in which you can go all the way up to the top. 360º views of the city are to be got from the top of the tower which is 200m high. Don’t worry, you do not need to climb loads of stairs to reach the top. You can get up most of the way in the lift which stops at 190m and you go up one flight of stairs to get out on the top of the roof. It costs €4.60 to enter and it is open until 22.00 every night. It doesn’t matter if it is day or night, there are spectacular views of the city waiting for you.
Neue Mainzer Strasse 52 – 58
More information www.frankfurt.de