First published May 25, 2022 by the Morning News and SCNow and reproduced here with permission.
Frankfurt is a delightful, vibrant large city on the Main River, which has risen out of the ashes of World War II destruction, aided by German, US, Japanese, Middle Eastern and recently Chinese money, to be a prominent modern German city, in fact its financial center. I have been there about five times.
The name comes from the German/English words for the ancient German tribes (the Franks) and the proximate Main River ford. It was established by the Romans and further developed as an important center by Charlemagne.
In modern times Frankfurt started out in the French orbit, moving towards Germany after the fall of Napoleon. Eventually it became part of Germany, despite brief revolt and independence. World War II basically led to its destruction, starting with internal destruction of all buildings Jewish (over 30 synagogues, now only two – Frankfurt was once the most Jewish city of all Germany) , then carpet bombing and shelling by the Allies. My father was a forward observer for shelling control in Patton’s Army and told me he once was able to walk out on the ruined Main bridge across from the old Opera House and climb up about five feet: he could see all the way to the horizon in all directions, all was basically rubble – total destruction. Following World War II, Frankfurt was considered for the new German Capital, but in any event it certainly did grow as Berlin was restricted by the Allies. It now has about 800,000 population and stands in a metro area that includes Offenbach, of about 2.3 million people. It's considered the richest city in Europe. Reconstruction recreated some of its iconic old buildings such as the Romer, the Old Opera House, the Goethe House and St Paul’s Church.
My favorite tourist sites are Romer Square/Plaza and the business district. Many Friday nights, light shows and open air concerts are held in Romer mostly with a local audience. The City Hall building was developed by the Holy Roman Empire and then used by the local governments since 1405. The surrounding area encompasses ST Nichols and St Bartholomew’s Churches with several other museums, fountains, etc. The Old Romer building contains important portraits of the emperors of the 1800’s and originated the now famous Frankfurt Book Fair (usually in October). St Bartholomew is of Gothic architecture and has a fabulous, reconstructed interior. In the financial district start at the Willy Brandt Plaza and the euro sculpture. Ride to the top of the Main Tower for a stunning observation tower view, but also admire the modern architecture of multiple new office towers for the Central Bank, Goldman Sachs, Deutsch Bank, Price Waterhouse, the Euro Bank, the Marriot Hotel, and Skyper. And enjoy all the green space sprinkled around – Frankfurt is 50% green space much of it around the city in the Green Belt, but in other parks, two botanical gardens and green strips. Frankfurt has about 30 museums most in the Museumsufer area featuring Architecture, Film, Frankfurt history, sculpture, World Culture, German Art and Applied Art. By the way public transport is very good and includes a vast underground system, the U-Bahn and the S-Bahn. Finally, always amusing to me, the Frankfurt International Airport is considered a tourist attraction.
Frankfurt has over 2000 restaurants. My favorites include Paulaner, Maindiner, Romer Pils Brunner, Restaurante Francais, Schirn Café and Zum Stern. Several are repeats. The locals love their Apple wine and also a special green sauce, Grune Sobe, on schnitzel. I guess you need at least one frankfurter (but invented in Vienna) with sauerkraut, but I think the Frankfurter Rippchen is better.
Have extra time? I encourage trips to nearby Heidelberg and the Eltz castle.
Abschied and/or Auf Wiedersehen .