The Römerberg (Roman Mountain), the historic heart of Frankfurt’s Old Town (Altstadt), is an irregularly shaped square with the Justice Fountain at its center. The square encompasses numerous tourist attractions from Kulturschirn, an open-fronted shop once common throughout the old town, to the Römer, a complex of 11 lovely old buildings that include the Old Town Hall from 1405 with its Imperial Hall (Kaisersaal).
Other highlights include the New Town Hall from 1908, the Gothic St. Leonhard Church, and St. Nicholas Church, notable for its glockenspiel. Also of interest are the Historical Museum with its collections from medieval to modern times, and the traditional-style Ostzeile buildings.
Goethe House and Museum
Frankfurt has the merit of being the birthplace of Germany’s greatest writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe House is where Goethe was born in August 1749, and where he lived until 1765. Although the house was destroyed in World War II, it was restored with the original furniture, and paintings and nowadays shows how the Goethe family and their staff lived. Here you can take inspiration from the writing desk where “The Sorrows of Young Werther” was written.
Just a stone’s throw away is the Goethe Museum, a 14-room gallery displaying masterpieces of the Late Baroque and Romantic periods.
Other Frankfurt landmarks that pay tribute to the writer are the Goethe Tower, a 43-meter-tall wooden construction offering superb views of the city, and Goethestrasse, a classy shopping area with numerous boutiques, art galleries, and cafés.
One of Frankfurt’s busiest pedestrian areas, the Hauptwache (translated as the Main Guard) is famous for its blend of old historic buildings and modern structures. One of the highlights in the square is the old Baroque Guard House, built in 1730, which once housed the militia, a prison, and later, a police station, now serves as a café.
The square itself is one of Frankfurt’s main shopping areas and most important commercial streets radiate from here: the pedestrian-friendly Zeil, and the lively Kaiserstrasse.
St. Paul’s Church
To the south of Hauptwache, in Paulsplatz, stands St. Paul’s Church (Paulskirche). Built between 1790 and 1833 and restored in 1948, the Neoclassical landmark is famous as the seat of the first freely elected German parliament in 1848. It’s also renowned as the place of a speech given by President John F Kennedy in 1963. St. Paul’s is no longer used as a church, and has become one a key venue for exhibitions and events such as the annual Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in the framework of the Frankfurt Book Fair (the world’s most important publishing event).
The Old Opera House
The Old Opera House (Alte Oper), constructed in 1880, is a piece of the Italian High Renaissance architecture. Although destroyed during World War II, it remains one of the city’s major concert venues. The new opera house, Opern- und Schauspielhaus Frankfurt, is also located in the Opernplatz and also houses Theatre Frankfurt in its modern building.
The Eschenheimer Tower
The Eschenheimer Turm, built in the early 1400s, remains the finest relic from Frankfurt’s old town walls and dominates the Eschenheimer Gate district. These days, the tower houses a café and meeting rooms used for local historical societies. Another place of interest nearby is the Stock Exchange, built in 1879, the largest such establishment in the country.
Senckenberg Natural History Museum
The Senckenberg Natural History Museum is one of the most contemporary museums of natural history in Europe. Along with its excellent displays outlining the planet’s biodiversity and evolution, the museum also houses Europe’s biggest exhibition of large dinosaurs and the world’s biggest collection of stuffed birds.
The Palm Garden
The beautiful 54-acre Palm Garden (Palmengarten) is the largest botanic garden in Germany, that encompasses outdoor botanical exhibits laid out according to their geographical location, and a number of greenhouses with subtropical and tropical plant species. The gardens are also good for recreation such as boating and picnics.
The Tower of Europe (Europaturm), just a short walk away from Palmergarten, is a telecommunications tower worth visiting for its sky deck and restaurant.
Covering 32 acres near the city’s old Friedberger Tor, Zoo Frankfurt is home to more than 4,500 animals representing at least 450 different species. Founded in 1858, it’s Germany’s second oldest zoo and is noted for excellent animal houses, such as the unique Grzimek House displaying the diverse Madagascar fauna.
Also of interest is the Exotarium with animals from different climatic regions, including marine life, and reptiles. The Borgori Forest, with its Ape House in an authentic jungle setting, the Nocturnal Animals House, and the Bird Hall are also worth visiting. On top of all, a variety of fun events and entertaining programmes are offered at the zoo.