Frankfurt is the city of skyscrapers. In fact, the city is often called Mainhattanor Chicago am Main, doing a little joke with the name of the river Main which divides the city in two.
The Maintower, built between 1996 and 1999, is located in the financial district, surrounded by other important skyscrapers. It hosts the headquarters of many banks and its design is spectacular, since it connects two towers: one of them looks like a blue glass cylinder, while the other is rectangle-shaped.
Together, they form a beautiful, modern, dynamic, and functional building. In the upper part, you can find its famous antenna, used to transmit radio and television signals.Of the many skyscrapers in the city, this is the only one that allows access to its viewpoint. It is 205 m high, 240 m if we include its antenna spire, and its 56 floors make it the fourth tallest building in Frankfurt.
To get into the lift and go up to the top is an unforgettable experience. Up there, from an outdoor platform, you will enjoy an amazing view of the old Frankfurt and all the interesting buildings in the modern area. There you could have a drink in its luxurious restaurant recommended by the most prestigious gastronomic guides. Also, there, you can taste one of the renowned menus by Chef Sven Clean, recently awarded with a Michelin star.You can reach the viewpoint in a few seconds thanks to an 18km/h ultra-fast elevator. You will feel like a rocket flying directly to the moon but, don´t worry, the elevator will stop at the top so you can take spectacular pictures of Frankfurt.
The price to go up to the viewpoint is 7.50 € for adults and 5 € for children. It is important to remember that each entrance ticket can be only used for a single liftto the viewpoint. If you feel the need to go back up throughout the day, you would have to purchase another ticket.
The opening hours are wide: from March to October the lookout platform is open from 10.00h to 21.00h, Fridays and Saturdays closes at 23.00h.
We recommend you to visit it before sunset, so you can enjoy its romantic atmosphere.
GRAB A BITE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF SACHSENHAUSEN
Probably, when you thought about traveling to the city of Frankfurt, you listed some essential things to do such as eating a Frankfurter Würstchenor drinking a good german beer...
We must clarify, the "Frankfurt sausage"does not exist. It probably was some tourist´s or immigrant´s invention. For this reason, you won´t find any menu with this name on it. The sausage called "Frankfurt" in Germany is known as Wienerwurstor “Vienna sausage”. Non the less, the name is not important, since you will find all kinds of sausages: roasted (Bratwurst) or boiled (Bockwurst). Those are sold in many taverns of the beautiful Sachsenhausendistrict. Of course, there you´ll find Frankfurt beer as well. But, in this case, we would recommend a different drink, the most typical and local one: the cider.
Cider is Frankfurt´s most popular drink, so, please, do not miss it!. In German this beverage is called Apfelwein,but in the local dialect we will hear Epelwoi!!
The Epelwoi or Apfelweinis obtained from apple juice fermentation. It is the cheapest alcoholic drink in bars and restaurants, and, most important, it is 100% natural because no preservatives or food coloring are added. It is naturally fermented from the apple pulp sugar, producing 5% of alcohol.
Its first production dates back to the XVI - XVII centuries, when Frankfurt ceased to be a traditional wine region and became popular because of its cider. Nowadays, it is undoubtedly one of the city´s tourist attractions. The first bars which sold this drink were those in the beautiful Sachsenhausen district.
To drink like an authentic Frankfurter, you will need three essential elements: First, an 0,3 l. engraved crystal glass, which is called gerippten;second, a ceramic jug called bembelwhich is used to serve the cider; and third, a wooden lid to protect the drink in the jar calleddekelchen(little cover). This set of three elements are called by the locals "the magic triangle".
We recommend strolling around the neighborhood, which is lively and full of locals and foreigners who come to the city to work or to do some tourism. On Schweizer Strasse, you´ll find the most traditional taverns in the city.
Bear in mind that in German bars, the locals usually take their place on the table and then they share it with anyone, even though they do not know each other at all. Be ready, it should not come as a surprise if a German looks into your eyes and, lifting his glass of cider, says to you: ZUM WOHLor PROST! This means "cheers!".
TO ZEIL STREET
If you like to go shopping or stroll around beautiful boutiques, buildings, and restaurants, Zeil Street will be your favourite place in the city. For many years it has been one of the most popular streets in Frankfurt. In the XIX century, it was already popular throughout Germany for its imposing buildings. Unfortunately, it was razed during the Second World War. During the 50s, the city rose from its ashes in a very different style from the one it had in the past as those beautiful buildings were never rebuilt.
The name of the street comes from the word Zeile,which means “row”. It received its name in the XIV century when many houses here were built in a row and, over time, the name stuck. The street was parallel to the city wall and it grew into a common meeting place for traders. Beautiful shops were inaugurated is this place, so the rich people started to stroll nearby the area to do some shopping, look around, and be seen.
The traditional Zeil street,also known as “The Golden Mile”, runs from Kanstablerwache to Hauptwache. At both ends you´ll find a subway station (Ubahn). The shopping area has expanded into the Friedberger Anlage, which is nicknamed New Zeil and is in continuous development.
There are exclusive shops by local designers, multinational corporations, restaurants, beautiful cafes, stands where you can eat sausages, stores with typical regional products such as the famous cider glass (gerippten) and the jug to serve it (bembel), and new products like gin from Hesse. Without any doubt, it is the perfect place to have a good time and do some shopping.
FRANKFURT SKYLINE FROM EISERNER STEG
No doubts, Frankfurt Skylineis one of the essential pictures when visiting this city.
You could take the prized photo with the outline of the city from several bridges over the River Main. But, as we are hopeless romantics we recommend the Eiserner Steg, which is actually a footbridge. For some years, it has also been known by the name of “the bridge of lovers ", a name that is given by those little locks that couples in love place in it. The custom is to then throw the key to the river Main, promising eternal love to each other.
This neo-Gothic pedestrian bridge was built in iron and concrete in 1869 to link the historic city center to the Sachsenhausen district. Thousands of people pass through it every day, many of them to take their precious and perfect picture of Frankfurt.
From the bridge, you can see the beautiful scenery of Frankfurt skyscrapers. Some of them are world-famous, built by different architects. We will name some of the most curious constructions from left to right so you could recognize them:
Bürohause Westhafen-Tower:It is not the tallest one, it is only 108.9 m high, but it is definitely, one of the funniest since it represents the gerippten, the cider glass. A little further to the right you will appreciate the corrugated roof of Hauptbahnhof(Central Station).
Continuing to the right is the Eurotower: This 148.5 m high skyscraper, used to be the headquarters of the European Central Bank until 2015. On its main façade you´ll see the famous Euro symbol which is often seen on television.
Next comes the Commerzbank, which is the tallest skyscraper in the city with its 258.7 m high. A little further on, we found a brown skyscraper, the Messeturm. Although it looks like a small pencil it is 256.5 m high and is the main venue for the Frankfurt Fair.
Among many more beautiful skyscrapers, you will see the Maintower. Do not miss this charming panoramic view which is offered for free from the Eiserner Stegbridge. It does not matter, both day and night, the views always deserve a picture.
THE CHAPEL OF THE ROYAL EMPEROR
Few people know that during the domination of the Holy Roman Empire in 1536, Frankfurt was the permanent place to celebrate the imperial elections. From 1562 (Maximilian II) to 1792 (Francis II) the emperors were crowned in the Kaiserdom, the Imperial Cathedral where German Kaisers were elected since 1152. Today, the building is called the Imperial Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew.
It is just a few minutes walk from the main square (Römerberg), from where you can see its beautiful pink tower, made of sandstone from this region.
Before reaching the Cathedral, there are some ruins from a Roman bath and a Carolingian imperial palace from 75 - 110 b.C.
The Elector´s Chapel, today is known as the Chapel of Veneration. In this chapel were chosen 16 of the 23 Kaisers of the Empire. As a curiosity, the german word “Kaiser” comes from “Caesar” or Roman emperor.
In the transept of the temple, a modern altar placed in 1993 marks the historic site where the emperors´ coronations were celebrated.
If you are also interested in seeing some paintings to find out who and how these emperors were, Europamundo encourages you to pay a visit to the town hall (Rathaus) located in the main square. Here were held the sessions of the Prince-Electors before the formal election of the Emperor was made. The Imperial Hall of the Rathaus exhibits the portraits of all the German emperors up to 1806. The portraits are original ones, although the hall had to be rebuilt after World War II due to the innumerable damages.
It can be visited every day except when there is a commemorative act.
When there was an election, people were summoned to the banquet, and even commoners could assist. At every celebration, the fountain in the square was filled with wine instead of water and a huge ox roasted on a stick was served. We should warn you, unfortunately, the fountain is no longer filled with wine.
CLIMB TO THE TOWER OF THE CATHEDRAL
One of the challenges for the intrepid and those who are unafraid of aching muscles is to go up Saint Bartholomew´s Tower, in our beloved Frankfurt Cathedral. Do you dare to climb up?
Despite being called “Cathedral” it is not the seat of Frankfurt´s bishop. It received that name because it was the place where the coronation of kings and emperors were held. It was the fifth church built in this same spot in 1250. Its Gothic-style tower was added in the XV century, although the current design is from the XIX century. In 1867 the Cathedral and its tower suffered a great fire. It was restored just a year after Frankfurt was annexed to Prussia.
Good weather and blue-sky days are perfect to climb the tower that is 95 m high and has 328 steps up a narrow spiral staircase. At the end of this staircase, you will encounter a wonderful reward. Climbing up there could be a good workout before continuing your walk: You should know that good physical condition is needed.
The top of the tower displays one of the most beautiful views of the city: you´ll see Frankfurt skyscrapers and its historic center. The entrance fee to climb the tower costs about 3,50 € for adults and 1,50 € for children. Prices and timetables can be consulted on the official website of the Kaiserdom:
Address: Domplatz 1
INVERTED COLLAR AND TIE SCULPTURE
If you walk through the streets of the financial district, among its more than 70 messy and scattered towers, you could find unique monuments. This district of Frankfurt is featured by its numerous banks, offices and law firms.
This is the reason why the usual attire of the people around the neighborhood will be a formal suit and tie. As a tribute to those workers was built the statue popularly known as "The Tie".
This peculiar sculpture is located in front of the entrance of the DZ Bank. It was created by the artist Claes Oldenburg from Stockholm, who along with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein was one of the main representatives of Pop Artin the USA.
The artist created this piece for the city of Frankfurt in California in 1993. Same as its other works distributed throughout the world, the artist represent an item of everyday life. In this case, portrays one of the accessories that office workers always bring to their workplace, the tie. Maybe you are wondering, why is the tie turned upside down?
Well, in Germany the working class has approximately 30 minutes, for lunch. That´s the reason why they usually bring their lunch from home or eat a sausage or a sandwich on their foot at the standingtables. As not to slip the tie on the plate, nor in the sandwich sauce, they usually flip it over their shoulder, thus being the inspiration for the artist.
The monument measures almost 12 meters high and weighs 7,5 tons. Surprisingly, the sculptor managed to create a sensation of lightness and flexibility with very heavy and rigid materials such as concrete, steel, and glass-reinforced plastic.
Westend-Süd (DZ Bank)
FROM RÖMERBERG TO THE RIVER MAIN!
The shore of the river Main is an unmissable spot. The river is the main city artery, even since the old days, when it was the highway which communicated the town with other cities, bringing wealth. Goods and passengers where carried through the river at the time.
The Main river is 524 km long. It flows through the Franconia wine region, the State of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, and Hesse: a common trading route in the Middle Ages. It is, also, the main tributary of the River Rhin, which is one of the major rivers in Europe.
Those characteristics where probably the reason why the city was born where Römerberg Square is located nowadays. This bank of the river was the side less affected by floods, reason why the first settlement was built here. We could start our walk in this emblematic square, currently the nerve center of the city. Next to the cathedral, we could still appreciate the Roman ruins from the first foundation.
In the square we would find the Old St Nicholas Church (Nikolaikirche),which was previously the temple of the council members since the town hall is located in the same place. Behind the church we would recognize Eiserner Steg, the iron footbridge from where we can see a beautiful view of Frankfurt skyline. The bridge crosses to the other bank of the Main, known as the bank of the museums, where many of the most famous and important museums of Frankfurt are located.
After visiting the square, we will be headed towards the Church of the Three Kings(Dreikönigskirche). It is an evangelical church from the XIX century which receives its name because the relics of the Three Kings, when they where on their way to the city of Cologne, spent a night in this church.
We will also stroll through Schaumainkaior the shore of the museums. There we will find the Museum of the Decorative Arts inaugurated in 1985 which is located in an old palace; the Villa Metzler;the Ethnological Museum;the German Film Museum,theCommunication Museum, and many more.
It is definitely worth the walk along this bank of the river. There, we could also enjoy a nice view of the city and the many boats navigating the Main.
Sometimes it is a good idea to take a break so you could let your feet rest, or have a delicious cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and enjoy Frankfurt´s social life.
The opera square is one of those spots which are full of life. There, you´ll see people who have just finished enjoying an opera performance, others who are on their way home after work, and even those who are taking a snack sitting on a bench.The Opera is a magnificent building inaugurated in 1880 in the presence of the German Emperor Wilhelm I.
Some of the most important operas have been performed here, such as the world premiere of Carmina Burana by Carl Orff in 1937. Unfortunately, like a large part of the historic center monuments, this building was destroyed by the 1944 bombings. A community fund-raising campaign in 1965 saved it from being demolished and the opera was reopened in 1967.
There are several spots where you can have a snack in the area, but we recommend the Restaurant Opéra, one of the most beautiful and elegant places in town. It has a mix of atmospheres ranging from tradition to modernity. It is the perfect place to have a Sunday Brunch, a drink after doing some shopping, or a business lunch. There, you´ll find a pianist who brightens the room. Even if he prices are a little bit high, their elaborated dishes are worth the expense.
Here you´ll find several and extravagant options to have lunch and dinner Mostly, we recommend the site so you could enjoy the views of the magnificent Alte Operbuilding.
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