- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Visit Frankfurt, Germany
Thanks to its International Airport, Frankfurt is the major hub for Germany and Europe. The city is also the financial center of the country, which is reflected in Frankfurt’s gleaming skyscrapers. Frankfurt is host to many important events, among them the International Book Fair in October, the biggest of its kind in the world.
Considered a global city - it frequently ranks in the top ten best cities in which to live and do business - Frankfurt has also long been an important center for cultural and tourism activities, its huge trade fair complex, Messe Frankfurt, hosting important events such as the Frankfurt Book Fair (the world's most important publishing event), along with many fine museums, galleries, and gardens.
Tourist Attractions in Frankfurt
The Römerberg - Frankfurt's Old Town Center
In the heart of Frankfurt's Old Town (Altstadt), the Römerberg is an irregularly shaped square with the Justice Fountain (Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen) at its center. Not only is it Frankfurt's most picturesque public square, it's the city's busiest pedestrian zone, home to numerous tourist attractions from its many Kulturschirn, a form of open-fronted shop once common throughout the old town, to the Römer, a complex of 11 lovely old buildings from the 15th to 18th centuries that include the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) with its Imperial Hall (Kaisersaal), once the scene of splendid banquets. Other notable buildings include the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) from 1908, the 14th-century Gothic Church of St. Leonhard, and St. Nicholas Church, notable for its carillon. Also of interest are the Historical Museum (Historisches Museum), founded in 1878 with its collections related to Frankfurt's rich cultural history from medieval to modern times, and the six traditional-style buildings of the Ostzeile.
Goethe House and Museum
Frankfurt has the distinction of being the birthplace of Germany's greatest writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. His family home, Goethe House, is where Goethe was born on August 28, 1749, and where he lived until 1765 and shows how the well-to-do family (and their staff) would have lived. There are many rooms to explore, from the sumptuous décor of the 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 theater. Next-door is the Goethe Museum, a 14-room gallery showcasing artworks from the writer's time, including masterpieces of the Late Baroque and Romantic periods.
The Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art
The Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art (MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt) is widely regarded as one of Europe's most important galleries of contemporary art. Opened in 1991 in a stunning post-modern building in the heart of the city, the museum's vast collection includes some 5,000 fine examples from more than 450 leading artists spanning the 1960s to the present, including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Francis Bacon. The museum also operates MMK Zollamt, a satellite exhibition space featuring works by younger (as yet) unknown artists.
The Old Opera House
In the heart of Frankfurt's Opera Square (Opernplatz), the Old Opera House (Alte Oper) was constructed in 1880 in the style of the Italian High Renaissance. Destroyed during WWII, it was rebuilt and reopened in 1981 as one of the city's most important concert venues. The city's new opera house, Oper Frankfurt, and the drama theater Schauspiel Frankfurt share a contemporary state-of-the-art venue known as Opern-und Schauspielhaus Frankfurt, about half a mile away on Willy-Brandt-Platz, near the river.
St. Bartholomew's Cathedral
Roman Catholic St. Bartholomew's Cathedral (Frankfurter Dom, or Dom St. Bartholomäus), was built of red sandstone in Gothic style between the 13th and 15th centuries, and at 95 meters, still manages to stand out in this city of skyscrapers. One of only a handful of churches in Germany to be designated as an Imperial Cathedral, it was here from 1562 to 1792 that the coronation of Emperors took place in the Election Chapel. Beneath the tower is the magnificent Crucifixion by Hans Backoffen, sculpted in 1509, while in the Marienkapelle is the Maria-Schlaf-Altar from 1434. Other highlights include the grave-slab of King Günter von Schwarzburg who died in Frankfurt in 1349, as well as numerous carved side altars dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The cathedral's most important relic is the skullcap of St. Bartholomew, kept in the Late Romanesque Bartholomew's Choir.
The Palm Garden
On the Bockenheimer Landstrasse is the beautiful 54-acre Palm Garden (Palmengarten), the largest botanic garden in Germany. An instant hit with the public upon its opening in 1871, it attracted some of the top performers from around the world, including Buffalo Bill who visited with his Wild West show in 1890. Highlights of a visit include outdoor botanical exhibits laid out according to their geographical location, along with a number of greenhouses containing subtropical and tropical plant species. The gardens also offer recreational facilities such as boating, a children's playground, and picnic spots.