Old Town Frankfurt

Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurt’s Altstadt (German for “old town”) was once home to Germany’s largest timber-frame community. However, in 1944, the vicinity was almost completely destroyed by World War II bombings. The landmark was recently restored according to its original blueprint, returning it to its former postcard-worthy glory! Formerly a commercial center, Altstadt tells stories of royal events, cultural renaissance, and local day-to-day scenes. Unearth the city’s history as you explore classical buildings, legendary churches, and enlightening museums and galleries!

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Updated 5 months ago

Römerberg

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Frankfurt am Main, Germany • Recommendation • 

Originally built in 1986, Römerberg is a historic public square at the heart of the Altstadt. Just like in the medieval ages, the plaza hosts trade markets and fairs throughout the year—including the famous Frankfurt Christmas Market! Stroll along the Otzeille in Römerberg’s east side, and marvel at a colorful row of traditional half-timbered houses. Afterwards, stop at Haus Wertheym, the only home that survived the war unscathed, for a hearty home-style German meal!

  • Römerberg 26, Frankfurt, Germany

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Emperor’s Cathedral of St. Bartholomew (Frankfurt Cathedral)

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Frankfurt am Main, Germany • Recommendation • 

From 1356 to 1792, Frankfurt Cathedral’s Wahlkapelle (election chapel) saw the selection of Holy Roman emperors. After 1562, it even became the coronation site of ten imperial rulers! The red-sandstone property is distinguishable by its 95-meter high tower. Climb 328 steps to get to the observation platform, which grants you scenic views of the city’s skyline! Drop by the on-site Dommuseum, as well, to peruse the church’s collection of liturgical objects.

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Saalgasse

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Frankfurt am Main, Germany • Recommendation • 

Parallel to the River Main lies a stretch of unique townhouses on one of Frankfurt’s oldest streets, Saalgasse. The homes combine traditional half-timbered architecture of the Middle Ages with playful postmodern designs. Take a stroll to appreciate the visually interesting structures, and notice how the quirky makeup contrasts the sleek, lineal Schirn Art Hall across.

  • Frankfurt, Germany

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Römer

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Frankfurt am Main, Germany • Recommendation • 

The Römer has served as Frankfurt’s town hall since 1405. It’s iconic three-gabled facade introduces the medieval complex, composed of several buildings and courtyards. The Kaisersaal (“Emperor’s Hall”) is the most famous room, originally built to be the official seat of the council. In 1612, it was used as a banquet hall to celebrate the crowning of Emperor Matthias. Today, it continues to be the principal venue for formal receptions and ceremonies. It swanks a large balcony that opens up to the Römerberg. It’s free to visit every day, but it’s closed whenever there’s an event.

  • Römerberg 23, Frankfurt, Germany

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Paulskirche (St. Paul’s Church)

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Frankfurt am Main, Germany • Recommendation • 

Known as the cradle of German democracy, St. Paul’s Church served as the meeting place of the first all-German Parliament. Here, the Frankfurter National Assembly drafted the country’s original democratic constitution. It was also used for several national celebrations. The red-sandstone building was completely destroyed during the war, but it was one of the first landmarks to be rebuilt shortly after. In 1991, Berlin artist Johannes Grützke commemorated the Paulskirche’s history with a mural depicting the march of assemblymen towards the church. Today, the location is used for symbolic ceremonies such as the awarding of the Goethe Prize and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

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Alte Nikolaikirche (Old St. Nicholas Church)

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Frankfurt am Main, Germany • Recommendation • 

Keep an ear out for the harmonies of Old St. Nicholas Church’s 47 carillons! The small chapel, first mentioned as early as 1264, boasts a rich history. Its Baroque-style design is one of the best works of architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, who was entrusted to rebuild it after a fire tore it down in the 17th century. It was owned by several different religious factions until it ended in the hands of the Hussite church in 1920 (they still manage it today). Enter the white-walled chapel to wonder at delicate stucco decoration, religious ornaments, and exquisite frescoes!

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Frankfurter Kunstverein (Frankfurt Art Association)

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Frankfurt am Main, Germany • Recommendation • 

The Frankfurt Art Association is a world-renowned contemporary art gallery located in the historic Steinernes Haus on Römerberg. Since 1829, it has supported local and international artists who are pushing the envelope of visual inquiry, imagination, and creation. In an effort to make art accessible to the general public, artists’ talks, film screenings, and guided tours are held alongside exhibits. Check out their website for the latest events before popping in!

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Historisches Museum Frankfurt

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Frankfurt am Main, Germany • Recommendation • 

Visit Historisches Museum Frankfurt for a crash course on past and present Frankfurt! It’s “Frankfurt Once?” exhibit shows the city’s history through different themes, ranging from finance, technology, and science to toys, fashion, and musical instruments. The “Frankfurt Now!” display, on the other hand, features a large model of the city designed by artist Herman Helle. The piece was inspired by descriptions of locals from interviews done in 2015, translating into Frankfurt’s topographical and cultural diversity. Visit the museum on the last Saturday of the month for free admission!

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About Germany

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