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coat of arms
Street in Frankfurt am Main
Bendergasse around 1904
Basic data
place Frankfurt am Main
District Old town
Created 13th Century
Newly designed 1950, 1983-1986
Hist. Names Vicus doliatorum
Connecting roads Krautmarkt, Römerberg
Cross streets Wobelinsgasse, Tuchgaden, Lange Schirn, Stinkgäßchen
Buildings Scharnhäuser (†), Schwarzer Stern , Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt , Alte Nikolaikirche
Road design Pedestrian zone
Technical specifications
Street length 180 m

The Bendergasse is a formerly important street in the old town of Frankfurt am Main . It runs between the herb market at the Imperial Cathedral of St. Bartholomew and the Römerberg . From the Middle Ages until it was destroyed in the air raid on March 22, 1944 , it formed one of the three east-west traffic axes in the old town center , alongside the market running north and Saalgasse running south . Densely built with gable , multi-storey and multi- cantilevered half-timbered houses from the Gothic and Baroque periodsit was one of the picturesque old town alleys, which has served as a motif for numerous local and foreign artists, including Anton Burger and Carl Theodor Reiffenstein , since the 19th century .

After the war initially a rubble wasteland, Bendergasse was built over with the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt from 1983 to 1986 . The footpath along the north facade of the Schirn is shown in today's city maps as Bendergasse. With the construction of the town house on the market as part of the Dom-Römer project from 2014 to 2016, an alley situation arose again for the first time since the destruction, at least in its eastern section.


Dom-Römer area on the Ravenstein map 1862
Today's course of Bendergasse along the Schirn

The Bendergasse was part of the regular street grid of the old town, which was created in the Staufer era from the end of the 12th century and connected the large squares. Between the cathedral and the Römerberg , three east-west axes ran roughly parallel to the Main : the market between Domplatz and Römerberg in the north, the Bendergasse in the middle and finally the Saalgasse between Weckmarkt and Römerberg in the south.

At the eastern end, the Bendergasse widened to the Krautmarkt to a small square on which the Wobelinsbrunnen stood. Here the narrow Wobelinsgasse branched off to the south , which led to the parallel Saalgasse . The names are derived from the house Wobelin ("Weiblein") standing here . To the north, the street Unter den Tuchgaden led to the market . The Lange Schirn , which connected the market with the Saalgasse , crossed roughly in the middle of Bendergasse . This is where the Scharnhäuser , a characteristic semi-detached house with a stone basement that accommodated sales rooms and three inhabited half-timbered upper floors were located.

The westernmost building on the north side of Bendergasse was the old Nikolaikirche . A narrow passage ran between her choir and the neighboring Schwarzer Stern house , which was already referred to in the topography of Baldemar von Petterweil in 1350 as a corridor near St. Nicolai .

Otherwise there were only several narrow, partially built-up passages to the side streets in the course of Bendergasse: To the north, the narrow Stinkgasse connected Bendergasse to the north with Flößergasse and Fünffingerplätze , one of the most picturesque squares in the old town. To the south, the Dreckgäßchen, east of the Langen Schirn, which was also called Scharngäßchen here , and further to the west, the Glasgäßchen between houses 29 and 31 connected Bendergasse with Saalgasse . The names of the passageways refer to the hygienic conditions in the densely populated old town, which only improved significantly with the construction of a waterway sewer system from 1867 and the first urban sewage treatment plant in Niederrad in 1882.

Nothing can be seen of the former course of the street in today's cityscape. The footpath marked today as Bendergasse is a little north of the old street. It runs from the Römerberg north of the Schwarzer Stern house along the north facade of the Schirn through its entrance rotunda and on to the cathedral.


The alley of the Bender

The Bendergasse was south of the Carolingian royal palace of Frankfurt and the Salvatorkirche connected to it, the forerunner of the cathedral. The exact time of origin is not documented. The oldest mention of the alley under the Bender is found in a document from 1324. In Latin scripts of this time it is referred to as vicus doliatorum . The street was named after the Bender guild that was based here. This was a consequence of medieval environmental protection regulations, according to which each craft associated with noise, bad smell, special waste or water pollution was assigned its own lane. According to a council ordinance 1402 or 1403, all residents of the old town, provided they still lived outside of Bendergasse, had to move to Bendergasse within a year, or, if they did not get an apartment there, to the sparsely populated Neustadt outside the old town wall. Those who had lived outside the Bendergasse in the old town for at least 10 years or who inherited houses were allowed to stay in it; In future, however, they were not allowed to manufacture their barrels anywhere but in Bendergasse or in the new town, or in a barn . Karl Bücher gives the number of guild members for the year 1387 as 63, including probably 56 masters; the number hardly changed until the middle of the 17th century.

The Bendergasse as a picturesque old town

Postcard around 1910

Until the end of the Holy Roman Empire and the Free Imperial City in 1806, the old town was the lively center of the city. The cityscape remained essentially unchanged for centuries, just as Matthäus Merian had handed down on his bird's eye view plan from 1628 . Housing, trade and commerce continued to belong together in a very small space. The butchers had their stalls in the Langen Schirn , and vegetables were sold at the herb market. The Mozart family stayed at Bendergasse 3 at Wobelinsbrunnen in August 1763 during their first stay in Frankfurt. Leopold Mozart scratched the inscription with his ring on the casement of his accommodation:

Mozart. Maitre de la Musique de la chapelle de Salzburg avec son Famile le 12 Août 1763

In the 19th century, wealthy citizens left the old town and moved to the new districts outside the ramparts . In the old town mainly small craftsmen and working-class families gathered. The division of the formerly spacious residential buildings resulted in ever closer living conditions. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was not uncommon for a dozen families to live in the unrenovated half-timbered houses in the old town. The hygienic conditions improved with the construction of the alluvial sewer system from 1867 and the municipal market hall in 1877. The traffic conditions remained cramped. The trams and major road breakthroughs of Braubachstraße and Bethmannstraße early 20th century did not reach this part of the old town. Dilapidated houses were torn down and not replaced, for example the house at Bendergasse 8 on the corner of Langen Schirn around 1864 .

From 1922 onwards, on the initiative of the historian Fried Lübbecke , the Association of Active Friends of the Old Town campaigned for the recovery of the old town , a comprehensive renovation and improvement of living conditions. More and more houses in the old town were renovated, the half-timbered structure was exposed (for example at the Schwarzer Stern house ) and the living situation was improved by gouging and removing the narrow passageways and backyards. The emerging tourism made Frankfurt's old town a popular travel destination and the gothic house canyon on Bendergasse a frequently photographed postcard motif.

Destruction and restoration

Mounted police in front of the cathedral in July 1960. Remains of the old curb can be seen in the foreground.
View from the cathedral towards the Römer in the new Bendergasse, October 2016

On March 22, 1944, an air raid destroyed the historic old town. In the quarter between the cathedral and the Römer, all the houses burned out, including on Bendergasse. Only remnants of the stone ground floors had survived the firestorm. In May 1947 the Frankfurt magistrate decided that a comprehensive restoration of the old town, apart from a few striking monuments, was out of the question. In the area between the cathedral and the Römer, the rubble was completely cleared by 1950. While the general reconstruction in the old town began in 1952 and was largely completed in 1960, the area between the cathedral and the Römer remained fallow, the future shape of which was long debated. A design by the Frankfurt office of Bartsch-Thürwächter-Weber emerged as the winner from an architectural competition held in 1963. For financial reasons, however, the project was never realized. In 1970/71 the Dom / Römer underground station was built north of Bendergasse as part of the construction of the underground, including a two-story underground car park above it. The largely preserved medieval vaulted cellars were destroyed for the excavation of the construction pit. The construction of the underground car park also raised the floor level by several meters. South of the Old Nikolaikirche, the western end of Bendergasse was built over in 1971/72 with the construction of the Historical Museum .

After a change of power in the local elections in 1977, all previous plans for the Dom-Römer site were put aside. Instead, a building complex of reconstructed houses was built on the east side of the Römerberg between 1981 and 1983, including the Schwarzer Stern house . Between 1983 and 1986 the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt was built. Its monumental exhibition hall, 140 meters long, 10 meters wide and five storeys high, runs almost exactly over the north side of the old Bendergasse. Since then, Bendergasse has been running as a footpath between Römerberg and the cathedral along the north facade of the Schirn.

As part of the Dom-Römer project , the archaeological garden with the preserved remains of the Roman settlement on the cathedral hill and the Carolingian-Ottonian royal palace in Frankfurt with the town hall on the market were built over. The event and museum building completed in June 2016 consists of five different structures, three of which, House 1 with three pointed gable roofs up to 25 meters high, House 3 and House 4 form the new north side of Bendergasse.

Web links

Commons : Bendergasse  - collection of images, videos and audio files


Individual evidence

  1. Stadtvermessungsamt Frankfurt am Main (ed.): Portal GeoInfo Frankfurt , city ​​map
  2. ^ Transitus prope Capellam S. Nicolai dictus der Gang. Battonn, Local Description. Third booklet , pp. 292f.
  3. Johann Georg Battonn : Slave Narratives Frankfurt . Third booklet, containing the description of the old town, namely the southern and western parts of the upper town. Verlag des Verein für Geschichte und Alterthumskunde , Frankfurt am Main 1864, p. 294 ( full text in Google Book Search).
  4. Battonn, Slave Narratives. Third booklet , p. 296
  5. ^ Karl books : The population of Frankfurt am Main in the XIV. And XV. Century . Social statistical studies. Verlag der Lauppschen Buchhandlung, Tübingen 1886, p. 97 ( ).
  6. Bendergasse 3 / Schirn (PDF, 1.17 MB)
  7. Reconstruction of the old town in 1952 ( Memento from June 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  8. ^ Hans-Reiner Müller-Raemisch: Frankfurt am Main. Urban development and planning history since 1945 . Campus, Frankfurt / New York 1998, ISBN 3-593-35918-9 , p. 342f.
  9. The town house on the market

Coordinates: 50 ° 6 ′ 37 ″  N , 8 ° 40 ′ 59 ″  E