Frankfurt old town

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Coat of arms of Frankfurt am Main
Old town
1st district of Frankfurt am Main
Altstadt Bahnhofsviertel Bergen-Enkheim Berkersheim Bockenheim Bockenheim Bonames Bornheim Dornbusch Eckenheim Eschersheim Fechenheim Flughafen Frankfurter Berg Gallus Ginnheim Griesheim Gutleutviertel Harheim Hausen Heddernheim Höchst Innenstadt Kalbach-Riedberg Nied Nieder-Erlenbach Nieder-Eschbach Niederrad Niederursel Nordend-Ost Nordend-West Oberrad Ostend Praunheim Praunheim Preungesheim Riederwald Rödelheim Sachsenhausen-Nord Sachsenhausen-Süd Schwanheim Schwanheim Seckbach Sindlingen Sossenheim Unterliederbach Westend-Nord Westend-Süd Zeilsheimmap
About this picture
Coordinates 50 ° 6 '49 "  N , 8 ° 41' 4"  E Coordinates: 50 ° 6 '49 "  N , 8 ° 41' 4"  E
surface 0.506 km²
Residents 4218 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density 8336 inhabitants / km²
Post Code 60311
prefix 069
District 1 - downtown I.
  • 01 0 - old town
Transport links
Tram and subway U4 U5 11 12 14
bus n1 n11 n8 n83
Source: Statistics currently 03/2020. Residents with main residence in Frankfurt am Main. Retrieved April 8, 2020 .

The old town of Frankfurt am Main forms a district on the northern bank of the Main . The old town consists of the medieval town center, which was fortified with the Staufen wall. It is surrounded by the city ​​center district , the new town built in the 14th century within the ramparts . On the opposite side of the Main is the Sachsenhausen district , which has also been part of the city of Frankfurt since the Middle Ages.

The historic Frankfurt old town was one of the largest half-timbered towns in Germany until it was largely destroyed in the Second World War, with around 1250 half-timbered houses, most of which were from the Middle Ages . It was also one of the most important attractions for tourists in Germany . The historic old town was largely destroyed by the air raids on Frankfurt am Main in 1944. The streets and the entire district are today predominantly characterized by quickly and easily erected buildings from the 1950s and 1960s. However, several prominent buildings and some important town squares have been restored or reconstructed , especially around the main square, the Römerberg .

Under the name Dom-Römer-Projekt , a new 7,000 square meter old quarter was built between the Imperial Cathedral and the Römer Town Hall between 2012 and 2018 , following the decision of the City Council's assembly in 2007. The former streets and squares were restored, especially the historic coronation route of the German emperors, the street Alter Markt , as well as the chicken market and Hinter dem Lämmchen . In addition to the townhouse on the market over the Archaeological Garden 35 houses, including 15 as a contract following a strict design regulations creative replicas called reconstruction of destroyed buildings and 20 newly designed buildings.


Area and population

The district south of Berliner Strasse , in the foreground the Carmelite Monastery , seen from the Commerzbank Tower (August 2010). The area in front of the cathedral is the heart of the New Frankfurt Old Town

With less than half a square kilometer , the old town is the smallest district in Frankfurt. It roughly corresponds to the urban development that was reached towards the end of the 12th century and was limited by the partially preserved Staufen wall.

The district area is completely built up; apart from the Main , the banks of the Main, streets, squares and courtyards, there are no open spaces . Most of the development comes from the post-war reconstruction phase ; there are also numerous historical buildings, some of which were reconstructed after being destroyed in the war.

Of the 000000000004218.00000000004,218 inhabitants of the old town, around 37 percent are foreigners. This is above the rate for the city as a whole (around 30 percent), but in some cases significantly below the rate in other central parts of the city.

In the western old town, cultural (museums, theaters) and service uses dominate , the latter especially along Weißfrauenstrasse and Berliner Strasse . There are also residential buildings in the quarter around the Carmelite monastery and on the banks of the Main. The central old town is mainly used for tourism around the most important sights such as the Paulskirche , the Römerberg and the Kaiserdom as well as the seat of the city administration for administrative purposes. There is a strong retail presence in the northern old town , especially in the streets Neue Kräme and Töngesgasse . In the eastern old town, residential use dominates, the quarter is also the center of the Frankfurt art trade ( Braubachstrasse and Fahrgasse ).


The Römer am Römerberg has been the seat of the city administration of Frankfurt since 1405 (March 2011).

By far the largest employer in the old town is the city administration located here. The district has been the political center of Frankfurt since the 13th century . The mayor , magistrate and city ​​council as well as a substantial part of the municipal offices have had their seat in the Römer or in neighboring properties for over 600 years . With the demolition of the technical town hall in 2010, the city planning office moved to a building on the not far away Kurt-Schumacher-Straße .

Two other large institutions left the Old Town (and Frankfurt) early 21st century: the Federal Court in the Berliner Straße moved its headquarters to Bonn , in 1873, founded in the city of Degussa in Weißfrauenstraße moved to Dusseldorf to. While the listed building of the Federal Audit Office in Frankfurt am Main is being redesigned into a hotel and business complex called Kornmarkt-Arkaden , a new district was being built on the Degussa site under the project name Maintor .

Retail and tourism are other important economic and job factors. While there were still numerous small businesses in the narrow streets until the Second World War , today retail is predominant. In particular in the Neue Kräme and the Töngesgasse as well as along the Berliner Straße there are numerous, in some cases long-established, specialist shops. The quarter around the Weckmarkt am Dom and especially the Fahrgasse are a center of the antique trade in Frankfurt despite a huge loss of importance compared to the pre-war period.


The old town is well served by local public transport . The Dom / Römer underground station on the U4 and U5 lines , which opened in 1974, is centrally located under the historic center of the city. The construction of the line and the station between 1968 and 1974 presented a special technical challenge. The Willy-Brandt-Platz transfer station opens up parts of the western old town, the Hauptwache and Konstablerwache high-speed railway junctions the north of the district.

Tram line 11 in Braubachstrasse , view of the town hall tower " Langer Franz " with an emergency roof (May 2009).

The tram lines 11, 12 and 14 also run on the central street Bethmannstraße – Braubachstraße – Battonnstraße , the "old town route" . At the beginning of the 20th century, two tram lines were built through the old town, one - the so-called maidservant line  - from the Zeil over Im Trierischer Hof towards the cathedral , the other along the newly created street opening in Braubachstraße in an east-west direction.

While the maid line was never successful and was shut down after the First World War , the east-west line, the so-called old town line, has remained in operation to this day. In 1986 it had already been decided to shut it down, but was withdrawn upon intervention by the district president in Darmstadt . In the meantime, the old town route has again a permanent place in Frankfurt's local public transport. It also serves as a route for a Frankfurt tourist attraction, the Ebbelwei Express .

For the individual traffic after the are World War II laid out streets Berliner Straße (1952-1954) and Kurt-Schumacher-Straße and the Mainkai the main roads. Especially in the northern part of the old town there are numerous parking garages , in the center the two-storey underground car park Dom-Römer between the cathedral and the Römer .

From the area of ​​the old town, three bridges lead over the Main : the Old Bridge , which was probably built at the beginning of the 13th century at the latest , the pedestrian bridge Eiserner Steg dating back to 1868 and the Untermainbrücke, which was built as a second road bridge in 1872–1874 .

The Mainkai was the location of the oldest port in the city, which was excavated during the restoration of the Saalhof in 2009 and integrated into the Historical Museum . Today the landing stages of the excursion boats on the Main and Rhine are located on the Mainkai. Freight traffic is operated today in the Frankfurt Main ports that were created during the early days of the company.


Topographical preconditions and history

Remains of the oldest traces of settlement on the cathedral hill, including the Roman settlement and essentially the king's hall of the Carolingian palatinate of the 9th century, in the so-called archaeological garden, seen from the cathedral tower, September 2011

The old town is located on the right bank of the Main on the outer edge of a gentle river arch. To the north it was bounded by an above-ground flowing tributary of the Main, surrounded by a moor, the Braubach , in the approximate course of the street of the same name , then in its extension Bethmannstraße . Topographically, even today, the area south of the Braubach was characterized by a strong alternation of hills and valleys.

The sinks were regularly exposed to flooding of the Main and therefore did not represent suitable settlement areas for a long time. The hills were essentially the cathedral hill , also cathedral island , on the site of today's imperial cathedral St. Bartholomäus , the Saturday mountain in the area of ​​today eastern Römerberg and the Carmelite Hill at the site of the monastery complex of the same name . A ford that was passable for people and wagons , which would later give the city its name, was probably located between the Old Bridge and the Rententurm . It disappeared at the latest when the Main was dredged in the 19th century. Only the names of the driver's gate and the tramline still remind of this.

According to the findings of recent archeology, the area between Saturday Mountain and Cathedral Hill (later central axis: the street market ) was regularly populated since the Neolithic and at the latest since late antiquity and can therefore be regarded as the historical nucleus of the city. The oldest remnant of a building that has survived to this day is a Roman settlement on the cathedral hill , which, however, contrary to previous assumptions, was definitely not a center of Roman life in the region - it was located in the northwest of today's urban area in Nida .

After the fall of the Limes , the Roman stay in the old town ended in the early 3rd century: Alemanni destroyed a large part of the buildings and settled on the cathedral hill. At the beginning of the 6th century, the rule of the Merovingians replaced that of the Alamanni. Apart from ceramics and coins, little has survived from both epochs : a small St. Mary's Church originated in the 7th century, which today lies largely under the foundations of the cathedral tower. To the northeast of it, already in the middle of the nave of today's cathedral, was another small stone building with post-Roman hypocaust heating .

The old town since Carolingian times

The founding legend of the city names Charlemagne as the city's founder, which corresponds to the oldest surviving documentary mention on the occasion of a donation to the St. Emmeran monastery near Regensburg on February 22, 794, but not to the archaeological findings. Accordingly, the Königspfalz Frankfurt came into being under the son of the legendary founder, Ludwig the Pious , probably between 815 and 822. His descendant, Ludwig the German , founded the Salvator Foundation and Church in 852 (later Bartholomäusstift and cathedral ). This created two important institutions in the vicinity of which the small town of Franconofurd could develop for civil servants, craftsmen and other professions that interacted with them.

Wall ring around the core settlement on the Saturday Mountain
( chromolithography by Friedrich August Ravenstein from 1862 with overlay based on archaeological findings)

According to the current state of research, the core settlement was to be located on the Saturday mountain. This results first from topographical considerations: Palatinate building and Salvatorkirche occupied the area from the cathedral hill to the former Altstadtgasse Lange Schirn , roughly at the height of the rotunda of today's Schirn Kunsthalle ; to the north the Braubach flowed and to the west, in front of today's Römer, there was another flood-prone lowland.

Archaeological findings on the Römerberg and, most recently, in the area of ​​the Alte Nikolaikirche revealed small remains of a wall that can be considered Carolingian , which presumably surrounded the settlement on the Saturday Mountain and which , if continued, would also satisfactorily explain the conspicuous rounding of the plots on the former Goldhutgasse . If one follows this assumption, the wall in the south was roughly bounded by the course of the later Bendergasse , the northern and western extent can only be guessed at. Overall, however, the result is a typical, ring-like fortification, whose former row development in the eastern part was reflected by the parcels located in their former borders until the destruction of the Second World War .

In the 9th century, the Palatinate Franconofurd developed into one of the political centers of the Eastern Franconian Empire . Around the year 1000 the old town area was fortified under the Ottonian dynasty with a wider wall ring. It is unclear whether the core settlement had already expanded beyond the Carolingian wall by this time. With great caution, recent publications indicate that a very long transition from the post house to the half-timbered building with stone foundations was made from the middle of the 10th century at the earliest ; the sparse findings then actually point to a slow expansion of the city limits at that time.

Plan of the old town in 1628 by Matthäus Merian : the irregular-looking street grid of the Dom-Römer area compared to the rest of the old town is just as recognizable as the surrounding Staufer wall
( copper engraving )

After the Carolingian Palatinate probably lost between 1017 and 1027 due to a fire and the ruling family of the Salians showed little interest in the city, settlement activity only expanded significantly again in the 12th century with the active support of the Hohenstaufen . King Conrad III. had a royal castle on the Main built in the middle of the 12th century with the Saalhof, which is still partially preserved from this period . A little later, the urban area was surrounded by a wall named after the Swabian noble family , the course of which can still be clearly seen in the shape of the town from small remains above ground.

The Hohenstaufen town planning up to the destruction of the Second World War was also clearly recognizable by the regularity of the street grid outside the former core settlement, for example in Bendergasse, for which a facility in the 13th century is also archaeologically documented as one of the few former streets in the old town. The first written evidence of the development of important streets, such as the market, are not much younger either . The only deviation from this rule was the chaotic-looking development of the former Palatinate area, which can probably be explained by a disordered development in the period between the decline of the Palatinate and the appearance of the Hohenstaufen.

After the end of the Hohenstaufen rule in the 13th century, urban self-government developed, which began with imperial immediacy in 1245 and was completed in 1372 with the acquisition of the mayor's office . Most of the founding of churches and monasteries and the erection of the most important public buildings, most recently the town hall through renovation in 1405, are part of this first political and economic bloom, also due to the acquisition of numerous imperial privileges. A tradition of the road network by the canon Baldemar von Petterweil shows that it was was probably already completed in the early 14th century in its form, which has not been changed for centuries.

The old town in the early modern times

View from St. Paul's Church to the Cathedral, 1866
Salmenstein's house in the Frankfurt city fortifications , demolished in 1810 (depiction from 1886), model for the town hall tower " Kleiner Cohn "

Over the centuries, the city's population continued to grow, which led to a continuous increase in the population density in the old town. After all, the buildings had up to five full floors and (due to the usual, very steep roofs) several attic floors. Many of the upper floors protruded significantly from the previous one, so that the residents of the upper floors could partially shake hands across the alley.

In terms of urban planning, the old town had a clear structure with three north-south axes: In the west, the Kornmarkt ran between the Bockenheimer Pforte ( also called Katharinenpforte after the church that was later built there ) and the Leonhardstor next to the Leonhardskirche am Main. In the middle, the Neue Kräme connected the two largest squares in the old town, the Liebfrauenberg with the Römerberg and further with the Fahrtor on the banks of the Main to the south and the port there. To the east of the cathedral , the Fahrgasse ran from the Bornheimer Pforte near today's Konstablerwache to the Main Bridge . It was the busiest street in Frankfurt until the 20th century.

The Bendergasse from the east, a typical street in the inner city of Frankfurt's old town, around 1904

The six east-west axes were less clearly visible in the cityscape. The important street Weckmarkt- Saalgasse -Alte Mainzer Gasse ran near what was then the northern bank of the Main, to the north of which the connections Bendergasse -Limpurgergasse-Münzgasse and Kannengießergasse- Markt -Wedelgasse-Barfüßergasse. Other important east-west connections were the Schnurgasse , which ran roughly along today's Berliner Strasse, and the Töngesgasse -Bleidenstrasse- Großer Hirschgraben road . The wooden moat marked the northern edge of the old town.

The majority of Frankfurt's population lived in the densely populated old town, while the new town retained the character of a suburb with loosely built-up buildings and even agricultural areas well into the 18th century. Since the Fettmilch uprising of 1614, the urban area was divided into 14 quarters , seven of them in the relatively small old town, five in the three times larger Neustadt and two in Sachsenhausen . Each quarter provided a militarily organized vigilante group under the command of a citizen-captain , the only democratically elected office in the otherwise class-based imperial city .

The cityscape only changed significantly after the Great Christian Fire of 1719. Over 430 houses burned down in the northeastern old town. In order to prevent such catastrophes in the future, the council tightened the building regulations in 1720. Between 1740 and 1800, over 3000 houses were rebuilt or rebuilt. The number and size of the overhangs were drastically limited. In addition, the houses had to be built with the eaves facing the street in future. Instead of the two-storey houses , only small attics were allowed.

In 1785 Johann Georg Christian Hess took up his post as city architect. In 1809 he wrote a building charter for the city of Frankfurt on behalf of Grand Duke Carl Theodor von Dalberg , which in principle remained in force until 1880. It was classicism mandatory as style. Hess was shaped by the spirit of the Enlightenment and advocated the architecture of classicism radically. He refused to preserve the numerous medieval buildings in Frankfurt because they did not meet his hygienic and aesthetic requirements. In the New Town and the new city districts that were being built outside the city ​​walls that were razed between 1804 and 1808, his ideas easily prevailed, but in the old town he encountered stubborn resistance from the conservative bourgeoisie. Only the new public buildings in the old town, e.g. B. the Paulskirche (1833) or the Alte Börse (1843) on Paulsplatz corresponded to his classicist ideal.

The decline of the old town in the 19th century

Backyard at Tuchgaden 9, around 1880
Kanngießergasse, around 1900
Nonnengasse, around 1915
Max Meckel's preliminary draft for the redesign of the Römer, 1890

In the 19th century, Frankfurt was considered one of the most beautiful cities in Germany because of its numerous classicist buildings. The medieval-looking old town, on the other hand, was viewed as backward and outdated.

Goethe had Mephisto mocked the old town:

I chose such a capital
In the core citizen-food horror.
Crooked alleys, steep gables,
Limited market, cabbage, beets, onions;
Meatballs where the thugs live
To eat the fat roasts;
There you will find anytime
Certainly stench and activity.
( Faust. The tragedy, part two, fourth act. High mountains)

The city historian Anton Kirchner also wrote Views of Frankfurt am Main on the buildings of the old town in his table work in 1818 . The classicist zeitgeist is clear from the description:

The overload of carvings and foolish artistry and the misshapen three- and four-story roofs make them easily recognizable with the eye. They do not belong to any order of architecture. "

The loss of image corresponded to a political and economic decline. The Frankfurt Fair , held twice a year in the old town , had been transferred to Leipzig since the middle of the 18th century . With the end of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation , no more imperial coronations took place.

Since the Napoleonic Wars, the economic and political focus of Frankfurt has been the Neustadt. After the restoration of the Free City of Frankfurt at the Congress of Vienna , the Bundestag took its seat here in the Palais Thurn und Taxis .

With the banking houses Bethmann , Rothschild and Gontard, Frankfurt became the European financial center. The trade fair business no longer played a role in the movement of goods; instead, the city's good transport links became the engine of the economic boom. Steam shipping on the Main was introduced around 1830 , Frankfurt joined the German Customs Union in 1836, and as early as 1839 there was an important node in the emerging German railway network.

This economic boom passed the old town by. At the latest after the annexation of Frankfurt by Prussia in 1866, the wealthy citizens moved to the new city quarters outside the ramparts , especially to the Westend . The city center gradually shifted to the Neustadt, where numerous Wilhelminian-style buildings were built on the Hauptwache , the Zeil and the Roßmarkt . The former exhibition halls in the buildings of the old town were converted into warehouses or second-hand goods shops, and the long-established craftsmen there were forced to move to the new town with their customers. When the new Kleinmarkthalle was built between Fahrgasse and Hasengasse from 1877 to 1878 , the traditional Schirnen also disappeared. The former coronation path market no longer deserved its name, which was a symbol of the beginning social and structural decline of the old town. The horse-drawn tram that started running in 1872 did not reach the old town either.

The early photographs of the old town, for example by Carl Friedrich Mylius , or the watercolors by Carl Theodor Reiffenstein not only show the picturesque and beautiful sides of the old town, but are also witnesses of its decline.

In the second half of the 19th century, the first road openings were made to make the old town more accessible to traffic. In 1855 the Liebfrauengasse was built between Liebfrauenberg and Zeil , in 1872 the Weißfrauengasse in the west to connect the old town with the train stations on the Taunusanlage . The associated loss of historical building fabric, especially the demolition of the White Deer , was accepted.

In 1874 and 1878 the Untermainbrücke and the Obermainbrücke were built. As a result, the old bridge and the tramline lost their importance, because from now on the traffic flowed around the old town as much as possible.

The medieval houses, not to mention their backyards , were now often in poor condition. The hygienic conditions improved with the construction of an alluvial sewer system based on the English model from 1867. More and more houses were connected to the drinking water network, especially after the construction of a pipeline from Vogelsberg in 1873. In the course of industrialization after 1870, numerous workers streamed into the city who quickly found cheap housing in the rundown buildings. Large parts of the old town were now regarded as the residential area of ​​the proletariat and poorer petty bourgeoisie, where poverty, prostitution and crime prevailed.

At the same time, however, people began to discover the picturesque sides of the old town and develop them for tourism. The plaster that was applied in the early 19th century was removed from many half-timbered buildings and the frame was then often painted in a historicist style. The painting preferred to refer to Frankfurt's significant past, so that well-known postcard motifs were created in touristically significant places such as the Roseneck or the Fünffingerplätze .

As in the age of classicism, however, many measures were limited to public buildings: in 1874 the medieval city ​​scales were demolished. Cathedral builder Franz Josef Denzinger created a neo-Gothic, much larger new building by 1877. Other large medieval buildings such as churches or patrician houses were restored or furnished with historicist jewelry. The best known example is the conversion of the Römers by Max Meckel (1896–1900).

The old town in the early 20th century

Houses prepared for tourism on the Roseneck, around 1900
Airship picture of the old town, 1911

At the beginning of the 20th century, the first aerial photographs of the old town were made from zeppelins . On them you can see countless buildings huddled in narrow streets around the cathedral , the structures of which had remained largely unchanged since the Middle Ages , as a comparison with copper engravings by Merian shows. In the old town alone there were around 2,000 buildings. The wooden half-timbering of the town houses was still predominant , although a few stone patrician houses and numerous public buildings stood next to them. Almost all stone buildings were made of red Main sandstone .

The first really profound structural change in the old town occurred in the years 1904–1908 under Lord Mayor Franz Adickes : in order to make the old town better accessible to traffic, especially for the tram , a street breakthrough was made, based on the Paris model, from east to west beaten. Around the course of the former northern Carolingian Palatinate Wall and the silted Main Arm Braubach , the new Braubachstrasse was laid out. Around 100 old town houses, including art-historically valuable complexes dating back to the Middle Ages, such as the Nürnberger Hof or the Rebstock farm , were demolished. Representative new buildings were created, which in their historicizing architecture took up (albeit on a larger and more splendid scale) motifs from the old town. The corner house Braubachstraße / Neue Kräme from 1906, for example, copies the typical Frankfurt town house from around 1700.

The First World War and inflation initially prevented further interventions or restoration of the historical substance . In the 1920s under Lord Mayor Ludwig Landmann and City Planning Officer Ernst May , the focus was on eliminating the housing shortage and tackling the New Frankfurt project . May referred to a solution to the old town issue only after the housing problem was resolved. The city's richly illustrated tourist brochure for the Goethe year 1932 does not mention the old town. Nevertheless, its cultural and historical value was gradually being recognized as one of the best-preserved old towns in Central Europe. In 1932, the first Römerberg Festival took place on the initiative of Artistic Director Alwin Kronacher and Head of Culture Max Michel and attracted a large audience to the theater performances on the Römerberg.

The resurgence and the "old town recovery"

The National Socialists planned to replace parts of the old town, which was also a stronghold of the Communists until 1933 , with historicizing new buildings. A citizens' initiative, the Association of Active Old Town Friends founded in 1922 under the direction of the art historian Fried Lübbecke , turned against these efforts . The federal government had numerous old town buildings restored since 1926. However, as a pure association it was limited in its means, so that it mostly involved little substantial measures such as cleaning or repainting old buildings. Only with external financial help were comparatively significant campaigns such as the purchase and renovation of the important Gothic patrician house Fürsteneck in Fahrgasse possible . Until the measures came to a complete standstill in the early 1940s due to the events of the war, more than 600 buildings were thoroughly renovated, historically unsuitable additions removed and wells repaired. Fried Lübbecke in particular described in detail how this made the old town back into Frankfurt's Stubb estate again within just a decade . Facilities such as the unemployed kitchen, summer festivals and Christmas presents for the old town's children or the artists' Christmas market made many old town residents proud of their homeland.

After the National Socialist seizure of power in 1933, the new regime elevated the so-called old town recovery to a prestige project. In National Socialist Germany, the word creation was an umbrella term for measures carried out by the city administration to preserve the old town as a general monument; they took place at the same time in Hamburg , Cologne , Braunschweig , Kassel and Hanover , among others . In Frankfurt am Main a distinction was essentially made between:

  • Clearings,
  • New buildings or reconstructive additions and
  • Truss exposures
Treuner's old town model : Very detailed core part of the old town in its condition around 1926, from the east ...
... and in the same model from the west.

The evacuation was a euphemism for partly extensive gutting measures, in modern parlance the "renovation by demolition", which was common up until the 1970s and which were carried out in some of the backyards that had been completely overbuilt over the centuries. The NS city administration under Lord Mayor Friedrich Krebs used the project to change the social structure of the old town in line with its ideology. Long-established old town residents were to be displaced in new housing developments on the outskirts and the renovated old town apartments were to be given primarily to traders, craftsmen and party members. In doing so, the city also wanted to match the Nazi honorary title awarded in 1935 as a city ​​of German handicrafts . Fried Lübbecke and the poet Alfons Paquet turned against the destruction of medieval buildings . Your submissions were disqualified as “shouts from old town fanatics who judge things of community life not even out of bad will, but from a limited perspective”.

As a result of the clearing, the small craftsman's farm between Goldhutgasse, Markt, Langer Schirn and Bendergasse and the cherry orchard between Großer and Kleiner Fischergasse and Mainkai south of the cathedral were created behind the five-finger cookie . The Hainer Hof north-east of the cathedral was also practically completely replaced by new buildings, some of which can still be seen today due to the minor war damage there. Likewise, the green area around the choir of the Carmelite Church is not a result of the war, but the goal of further clearance, which removed numerous additions from the 19th century.

Really complete new buildings like those in the Hainer Hof were rarely seen as part of the renovation. Most of the time it was a matter of reconstructions or additions using traditional technology, which were particularly necessary after coring in order to provide the houses in the newly created inner courtyards with facades. In the half-timbered buildings in particular , however, entire rotten layers of beams often had to be completely replaced. A good example of a reconstruction is the restoration of the Renaissance gable on the Klein-Limpurg house at the corner of Limpurger Gasse and Römerberg . This was based on images of the building on old engravings, during the construction work actually exposed building fabric from the Renaissance, which had been reshaped during the classicistic redesign of the building around 1800.

Finally, there were also numerous half-timbered exposures in the entire old town area. Since many of them did not take place until the late 1930s or early 1940s, they are hardly documented, let alone known, in popular paintings about the old town. Among other things, the uncovering of the house at the golden vine on the corner of Liebfrauenberg / Töngesgasse , at the house at the Feigenbaum on the corner of Wildemannsgasse / Schnurgasse or the Pesthaus at Fünffingerplätze. The latter had been given a thematic repaint by the Old Town Association only ten years earlier. There was no longer any planned reconstruction of carefully stored half-timbered houses, such as the Großer Speicher or the Heydentanz house , on selected parcels in the old town.

After the DC circuit of the Municipal Theater , the new director tried Hans Meissner , the Römerberg Festival use them for propaganda and to develop a "Bayreuth of German Classicism". In everyday life, however, there was a dismantling of civil rights, the persecution, deportation and murder of Frankfurt Jews as well as the preparation for the Second World War. Address books from the 1930s, like some critical reports, show empty old town houses from former Jewish property.

The destruction in World War II

At the latest since February 14, 1942, with the enactment of the British Area Bombing Directive , it became apparent that the old town of Frankfurt am Main could also become a target of the bombing war . The association of active friends of the old town therefore had the entire existing building stock photographed and drawn from the summer of 1942, often with the help of external institutions such as the students of the Frankfurt Engineering School or retired architects.

Aerial view of the old town from the north in March 1945
The destroyed old town from the east based on the so-called rubble model of the Historical Museum

The first heavy air raid on Frankfurt am Main hit the old town on October 4, 1943. The Römer and the area between Liebfrauenberg , Töngesgasse and Hasengasse were particularly hit. Further attacks on December 20, 1943 and January 29, 1944 caused only minor damage in the old town, but destroyed the city ​​archive with a large part of the archive material. On March 18, 1944, 846 British planes dropped their aerial bombs over Frankfurt. They mainly hit the eastern old town and completely destroyed the area around the Fahrgasse . They also caused severe damage in the western old town, the Paulskirche burned down completely.

The worst blow was still to come: on March 22, 1944, another British air raid by 816 aircraft destroyed large parts of the old town that had been spared so far, including all the churches except for the Old Nikolaikirche and the Leonhardskirche . According to official information, 500 air mines , 3,000 heavy explosive bombs and 1.2 million incendiary bombs were dropped on the city, with a clear focus on the city center, in just under an hour . As with previous air strikes, this was part of the tactic: The majority of all houses in the old town were built in half-timbered construction, so that most of them were completely burned in the unleashed firestorm . But also patrician buildings made of stone from the Middle Ages, such as the canvas house or the stone house , were destroyed by explosive bombs. This air attack is also reproduced in a chalk drawing by the painter Karl Friedrich Lippmann , who painted the event from Sachsenhausen's side. The drawing shows how the old town and sky are brightly lit due to the fire. The artist's house and shelter were also bombed out.

Significant for the force of the attack is the fact that in the morning of March 24, 1944, there was not a single house in Tuchgaden , where practically all the ground floors consisted of massive stone vaults. Of the roughly 2,000 half-timbered houses, only one - the Wertheim house at the Fahrtor - remained undamaged. The fire brigade had protected it with a water veil to keep the escape route from the Römerberg to the banks of the Main open.

The last major attack of the month followed on March 24, this time a daytime attack by 262 American Air Force aircraft . In total, over 1,500 people were killed in the attacks in March 1944. The fact that the number of victims was not higher than in other cities was mainly due to the fact that the massive cellars of the old town houses had been connected to one another since the summer of 1940. An emergency exit at the Fountain of Justice on the Römerberg alone saved around 800 people.

An impression of the destruction can be obtained from the model of the old town exhibited in the Historical Museum by the Treuner brothers , who measured most of the houses in the old town in the years before the destruction and rebuilt them on a 1: 200 scale. The debris model shown next to it shows the extent of the destruction of this bombing night. However, it should be viewed with reservation, as contemporary photographs show considerably more of the remains of buildings that have been preserved.

The Post-War Period: Reconstruction and Second Destruction

Sorting rubble stones, 1947
View from the cathedral, 1952.
Dom-Römer-Areal, 1956

Large parts of the old town were completely rebuilt after the destruction of the Second World War, so that only very few buildings with historical structures have been preserved. After the rubble had been cleared - as was often the case during this period - modernizers and keepers faced each other, so that construction was initially halted until 1952. It should be noted that even the keepers, mainly represented by the Association of Friends of the Old Town, did not advocate extensive reconstruction, but above all called for the preservation of the old road network with small-scale rebuilding and the reconstruction of some important buildings.

Finally, a mixed solution was found, albeit with a clear tendency towards modernizers: a number of prominent architectural monuments were reconstructed, the first being the Paulskirche in 1947 and the Goethe House in 1949 . After 1952 the landmark of Frankfurt, the Römer , as well as the Staufen wall , the stone house , the Saalhof , the Carmelite monastery and the canvas house followed . Of the located in the old town, destroyed endowment churches , which were Dom , the old St. Nicholas Church , the Church of Our Lady and the Dominican monastery of municipal funds rebuilt from 1952 to 1962. The burned-out ruins of the Gothic Weißfrauenkirche and the classicist German Reformed Church were removed in 1953.

Of the rebuilt buildings, only the Goethe House has been restored largely true to the original. Most of the other reconstructions were more or less simplified (for example the Silberberg , Frauenstein and Salzhaus houses in the Römer complex) or with modern extensions (for example the stone house ). Much of the former old town was built in the simple style of the 1950s . In the process, multi-storey residential buildings emerged, partly as perimeter block developments , partly as loosened-up row buildings , often with green inner courtyards . In addition, large-scale functional buildings such as the Federal Audit Office in Frankfurt am Main , the Kleinmarkthalle and numerous parking garages were built, including the Hauptwache car park in 1956 as the first public car park in Germany .

In addition, new main roads were drawn through the rubble desert, rejecting the historical ground plan. This meant that the car-friendly Frankfurt , which was often desired even before the war, should become a reality. This was realized in the form of the east-west axis, inaugurated on November 16, 1953 as the street at the Paulskirche and from 1955 until today known as Berliner Straße . It connects the also widened Weißfrauenstrasse with the north-south axis of Kurt-Schumacher-Strasse, which runs through the eastern inner city . In 1955 the ten-story skyscraper at the intersection of Berliner Straße / Fahrgasse was completed. At 30 meters, it is the tallest residential building in the old town.

The area between the cathedral and the Römer initially remained a wasteland, the development of which has long been debated. In the early 1970s, the Technical Town Hall (1972–1974) and the Historical Museum (1971/72) were two large monolithic buildings in a brutalist concrete style, regardless of historical floor plans and shapes.

Reconstruction of historical buildings

The imperial cathedral and the reconstructed town house " Großer Engel "
Postmodern old town houses in Saalgasse
Reconstruction of the Golden Scales in February 2018

1981–1983 the historic east side of the Römerberg was reconstructed with five half-timbered buildings, above all the famous Großer Engel town house . The other reconstructions, which particularly fortunately represent all forms of the local half-timbered building from Gothic to Classicism , can be seen as prototypes of the urban effect of the development of the entire district that was preserved until 1944.

In contrast to the historical models, the facades of the new buildings with their half-timbering remained unplastered. Their structure is partly extrapolated from known individual structural forms, photographs and analog connections , since construction plans were not preserved for all buildings. Since the beams and their infill were traditionally plastered or slated, decorative forms were built into the now visible half-timbering that were borrowed from other buildings of comparable construction.

Considerable structural damage occurred after just a few years, which required extensive renovation. As it turned out, the contracted construction companies no longer had the essential skills for a half-timbered building. For example , the timber from Alsace was not dried long enough and the beams were not properly connected to one another.

At the same time as the historicizing Ostzeile, the Kunsthalle Schirn and the postmodern new buildings on Saalgasse were built . In 1991 the Museum of Modern Art opened on Braubachstrasse. The Haus am Dom , an educational center of the Catholic Diocese of Limburg , was built in 2007 on Domstrasse on the preserved substructure of the former main customs office from 1927.

After the decision of the city ​​council to demolish the technical town hall , with which almost the entire historical nucleus of the city between the cathedral and the Römer became open space again, a professional and emotional discussion about the reconstruction of this old town began. In 2007, the parliamentary groups of the CDU and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen , which have ruled Frankfurt since the local elections in 2006, agreed on a compromise together with the FDP and the Free Voters against the votes of the SPD and Die Linke for the redevelopment of the Dom - Römer area.

The city was where "the historic district plan made largely on the basis of the plan" was to reconstruct eight historically significant buildings as owner, including the House of the Golden Scales and the new Red House on the market , the house for Esslinger (also known as House of Aunt Melber ) at the chicken market and the golden lamb . In addition, the city had the Alter Esslinger house between the latter two , the Klein Nuremberg house and parts of the Rebstock farm rebuilt. The remaining 32 parcels were given to builders who had 7 more reconstructions built. For the new buildings, which renowned architects were commissioned to plan, a strict design statute applied, which included specifications on the roof shape, building heights and materials used.

Construction began in 2012. At the end of 2017, the exterior of the building was completed. In September 2018, the New Old Town was opened with a three-day festival

The concrete building of the historical museum was demolished in 2012 and replaced by a new building that opened in October 2017.

District and sights of the old town

There are numerous sights in the old town - even if most of the buildings are only reconstructions after severe war destruction. All sights are close together and can be reached by tram and underground .

Römerberg and the surrounding area

Römerberg with Römer

The Römerberg is the center of the old town. Here is the Römer , the historic town hall and symbol of the city. It was acquired in 1405 by the city, which needed a new town hall, as the former town hall had to be demolished for the construction of the cathedral tower. By 1878 the ten adjoining houses were also acquired by the city and structurally connected to the Römer. The five adjoining houses, the facade of which faces the Römerberg, are called Alt Limpurg , Zum Römer , Löwenstein , Frauenstein and Salzhaus . Before it was destroyed, the salt house was one of the most beautiful half-timbered houses in Germany. It was rebuilt in a very simplified way after the war destruction.

In the middle of the square is the Fountain of Justice , which was built from sandstone in the 17th century . The construction was replaced by a bronze replica in 1887 . Its name comes from the statue of Justitia that crowns it. Contrary to what is customary with her representations, Justitia in Frankfurt were not blindfolded. According to tradition, the fountain was fed with red and white wine when the emperors were coronated.

Saturday Mountain with Bartholomew Cathedral

The square has been surrounded by residential and commercial buildings since the Middle Ages - the reconstructed half-timbered houses on the Saturday Mountain (also known as Ostzeile ), including the Großer and Kleiner Engel and Schwarzer Stern , are particularly worth mentioning .

On the south side of the square are the Old Nikolaikirche and the Historical Museum in the former Hohenstaufen royal castle Saalhof .

Haus Wertheim , the only originally preserved half-timbered house in the old town (2013)

At the Fahrtor , the lane leading south from the Römerberg towards the Main, you will find Haus Wertheim (around 1600), the only completely undamaged half-timbered house in the old town, on the right. It is a richly decorated three-story Renaissance house with the stone ground floor that is common in Frankfurt. Opposite is the rent tower , which builder Eberhard Friedberger completed in 1456. He monitored the old port of Frankfurt, where customs and port fees were collected.

North of the Römerberg on Paulsplatz is the New Town Hall, built around 1900 with rich neo-renaissance and neo-baroque decor, as well as the Paulskirche , where the German National Assembly met in 1848/1849 .

Cathedral Hill

About 300 meters east of the Römerberg rises the largest and most important church in the city, the Catholic Imperial Cathedral of St. Bartholomew with its 95 meter high west tower. The majority of German kings have been elected here since the Middle Ages. From 1562 to 1792, 10 emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were also crowned in the Bartholomäuskirche . The market ( Kramgasse in the Middle Ages ) runs between the cathedral and the Römerberg, the main street of the old town that has been rebuilt more than 70 years after its destruction. This is where today's so-called coronation path ran , which the emperor took after the coronation for the celebrations on the Römerberg.

In front of the west tower of the cathedral is the archaeological garden , which was built over from 2012 to 2015 with the town hall on the market , in which remains of the foundations of the Roman military camp, the Carolingian Palatinate and medieval town houses are open to the public. The streets Hinter dem Lämmchen , Neugasse and the Hühnermarkt with their new buildings and reconstructions, which were rebuilt after the demolition of the Technical Town Hall, have been accessible again since May 2018. With the Haus zur Goldenen Waage and the New Red House , two of the most famous half-timbered buildings in the old town were rebuilt. Other reconstructions are the Grüne Linde , Würzgarten and Rotes Haus am Markt houses. Distinctive new buildings are the Großer Rebstock houses on the market next to the house on the cathedral, Neues Paradies on the corner of the Hühnermarkt, Altes Kaufhaus , Stadt Milano and Zu den Drei Römern on the western edge of the new development area.

On the north side of the Old Market is the Stone House , a Gothic patrician building from the 15th century . It is the seat of the Frankfurter Kunstverein . From the Nürnberger Hof (around 1410), the trade fair district of the Nuremberg merchants, there is still a gate passage near the stone house.

The Kunsthalle Schirn , which opened in 1986, extends south of the market , roughly along the former Bendergasse . In the same block, on the north side of Saalgasse , townhouses were built in the proportions of the former old town, but with the postmodern architecture of their time. South of the cathedral on the Weckmarkt is the canvas house, architecturally related to the stone house , which today houses the museum for comic art .

Between the cathedral, the Fahrgasse and the Main, construction was carried out in the style of the time in the 1950s. Most of the historic streets of the former butcher's quarter were lost. Quiet, green courtyards were created whose irregular design and small passageways could remind people of the enchanted old town streets with a lot of imagination. In the former old town there were numerous small fountains, many of which could be saved and put back in the courtyards.

Western old town

Leonhard's Church
Carmelite monastery

The most striking building in the western old town is the Leonhardskirche , the only church in Frankfurt city center that was undamaged during World War II. The north portal and the two east towers are still Romanesque , the basilica itself is late Gothic. The cathedral builder Madern Gerthener designed the high choir .

A few steps away is the former Carmelite monastery , today the seat of the Institute for City History and the Archaeological Museum . Among other things, the finds from the Roman city ​​of Nida (now Frankfurt-Heddernheim ) can be seen here. The late Gothic wall paintings by Jörg Ratgeb in the cloister and refectory, the most extensive cycle of wall paintings north of the Alps, are among the city's great art treasures.

In the vicinity of the monastery, in Seckbächer Gasse on the banks of the Main, a small gate of the city ​​fortifications from 1333 has been preserved.

To the north of Berliner Strasse, in the Großer Hirschgraben, is the Goethe House , the house where the poet was born.

Northern old town

House of paradise on Liebfrauenberg

The northern old town is the area between today's Berliner Straße and the Staufen wall, the former course of which can be seen on the Graben streets ( Hirschgraben , Holzgraben ). It is the area that the city gained through the second city expansion in the 12th century. In contrast to the older part in the area of ​​the former Carolingian Palatinate, which has an irregular road network, the northern old town had an almost right-angled lane grid. In the quarter between the “main streets” Neue Kräme , Töngesgasse , Fahrgasse and Schnurgasse (which was roughly in the course of today's Berliner Straße ), for example, twelve small, parallel alleys ran from north to south.

The center of the northern old town and one of the most beautiful squares in the city is the Liebfrauenberg , which is dominated by the Gothic Liebfrauenkirche . Opposite it is the Haus zum Paradies , one of the few large baroque buildings in the city. In the middle of the square there is a large baroque fountain from 1770.

From Liebfrauenberg the Töngesgasse shopping street leads east, Liebfrauenstrasse north to the Zeil and the pedestrian zone Neue Kräme south to the Römerberg. As its name suggests, the latter expanded the old market already described above as a market and fair street and was an important north-south connection.

Most of the northern old town was destroyed on June 26, 1719 in the " Great Christian Fire " (to distinguish it from the " Great Jewish Fire " in Judengasse eight years earlier). In the area between Fahrgasse, Schnurgasse and Töngesgasse, 282 people died and 425 houses were destroyed. However, the area was rebuilt quickly and on the old, small plots.

Eastern old town

The eastern old town, Judengasse, the Staufen wall and the Bornheimer Tor, 1628

The main street of the eastern old town was the Fahrgasse . It ran from the Bornheimer Pforte at the Konstablerwache to the Old Bridge ; all traffic over the only Main crossing between Mainz and Aschaffenburg passed through this street.

East of Fahrgasse is the former Dominican monastery with the Church of the Holy Spirit, rebuilt from 1953 to 1957 on the old plan . It is the seat of the Protestant city dean's office and the Protestant regional association Frankfurt. To the east of this is Börneplatz , the largest and busiest square in the district. Under changing names it was the center of Jewish life in Frankfurt . This is where the Judengasse ended, the Börneplatz synagogue , which had been destroyed in the November pogroms in 1938 , had been located here since 1882, and the Old Jewish Cemetery , Battonnstraße, whose oldest grave monuments date from 1272, is still located here today . In the Judengasse Museum , part of the Frankfurt Jewish Museum , excavated remains of the ghetto and synagogue can be viewed.

Former and reconstructed buildings

The old stock exchange closed the square next to the Paulskirche, around 1845
Old bridge around 1600, watercolor from 1889
Canal construction on the market, 1867
Behind the lamb, 1910
Chicken Market, 1903
Mehlwaage and Fürsteneck at the Garkücheplatz, around 1880
White women's monastery and church 1872

Many architectural monuments as well as striking buildings or street corners or entire streets of the old town were lost during the Second World War or due to demolition, some of them rebuilt or - in some cases over 70 years after the destruction - reconstructed. Here are a few of the most important ones:

  • The Old Stock Exchange on Paulsplatz was a late classicist building from 1843, burned out in 1944 and demolished in 1952.
  • The old bridge was first mentioned in a document in 1222. It has been destroyed and rebuilt at least 18 times over the centuries. In 1914 the only beautiful monument from earlier times (Goethe) worthy of such a large city was torn down. The New Old Bridge , inaugurated in its place in 1926, was rebuilt in a simplified manner after being destroyed in the war in 1965.
  • The Bendergasse was the epitome of an old town street with numerous five- to six-story half-timbered buildings from the 16th to 18th centuries. Destroyed in 1944, the site was cleared by 1950. Today the Schirn art gallery is located here .
  • The German Reformed Church on the Großer Kornmarkt was built between 1789 and 1792 in the classical style. Burned out in 1944, it was demolished after the war. The new Federal Audit Office was built on the site in the 1950s .
  • The five-finger cookie was a popular postcard motif, a tiny old town spot near the Römerberg. This is where the Rapunzel-, Schwertfeger-, Drachen-, Goldhut- and the Flößergasse met (burned out in 1944).
  • The food stall was east of the cathedral. In the middle of the square was a group of small houses from the beginning of the 18th century, which mainly served to supply the visitors to the fair. All houses were completely destroyed in 1944.
  • The Große Hirschgraben was a preferred residential and commercial street on the northwestern border of the old town. The houses on the north side of the street already belonged to the new town. In addition to the Goethe House , there were originally numerous other town houses and courtyards from the late 16th century, including the Zum Spitznagel house , the Hirschgrabenhof and the Andreaesche Orphan Foundation . In the 19th century, the Große Hirschgraben was still a preferred residential area for wealthy Frankfurt citizens, including the Böhmer , Gwinner , Bethmann-Hollweg , Passavant and Andreae families .
  • The Great Stalburg on the Great Kornmarkt was built in 1498 under Claus Stalburg and was the most magnificent Gothic stone building in the old town. It had to give way to the German Reformed Church as early as 1789.
  • The Alter Braunfels house on Liebfrauenberg was a Gothic patrician stone building from around 1350, redesigned in Baroque style in the 18th century and the oldest seat of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. In 1943 it burned down and was demolished because of the risk of collapse.
  • The Haus zum Esslinger on the Hühnermarkt was a baroque, late Gothic half-timbered building, in which Goethe's aunt Johanna Melber lived in the 18th century, which he also described in his autobiographical work Poetry and Truth . The building burned down in 1944 and the ruins were removed in 1950. The reconstruction, which opened in 2018, is the seat of the Struwwelpeter Museum.
  • The Fürsteneck house was a Gothic patrician stone building from the 13th century. Elaborately restored in the 1920s, it burned out in 1944. The remains were torn down after the war.
  • The house at the Goldene Waage in Höllgasse west of the cathedral was an elaborately decorated Renaissance half-timbered building. Built between 1618 and 1619, it was renovated at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1944 the Goldene Waage burned out, its remains were cleared away in 1950. The reconstruction of the Golden Scales will reopen in 2018 as a branch of the History Museum.
  • The Lichtenstein house was essentially a Gothic patrician stone house on the southwestern Römerberg, which was changed in the 18th century in Baroque style. It burned out in 1944, the well-preserved but unsecured ruin was badly damaged in a storm in 1946 and demolished shortly afterwards despite an estimate of rebuilding.
  • The Rebstock farm was a half-timbered building from the 17th century and one of the most important inns in the old town. The poet Friedrich Stoltze was born here in 1816 . Large parts were demolished at the beginning of the 20th century to break through Braubachstrasse , the rest destroyed in 1944. Two buildings of the former courtyard were reconstructed.
  • Behind the Lämmchen was the name of a narrow alley between the Nürnberger Hof and the Hühnermarkt , which housed some of the city's most important half-timbered houses, including the Zum Nürnberger Hof , Zum Mohrenkopf and Goldenes Lämmchen . From 1974 to 2010 the whole area with the technical town hall was built over. The houses in Klein Nürnberg , Goldenes Lämmchen and Alter Esslinger were reconstructed.
  • The chicken market between the cathedral and the Römer was a picturesque ensemble of half-timbered houses from the 17th and 18th centuries: the most important were the Old Red House and the New Red House on the passage to Tuchgaden . Both have since been reconstructed. The Stoltze fountain stood on the chicken market until 1944, and returned to its regular location in 2016. The Schildknecht house on the Hühnermarkt, built around 1405, had the largest overhang of all Frankfurt half-timbered houses at almost two meters. The houses Zur Flechte , Goldene Schere , Eichhorn and Schlegel were reconstructed .
  • The Judengasse was the Frankfurt Ghetto from 1462 to 1796 . Burned down several times and rebuilt, its remains were demolished from 1874 to 1888. Only the synagogue and the Rothschild house remained initially. The synagogue fell victim to the November pogroms in 1938 , the Rothschild house to the bombing war in 1944.
  • The Krautmarkt was a square at the exit from Bendergasse to the cathedral. The baroque stone houses of the late 18th century were completely destroyed in 1944.
  • The market was historically the most important old town street in Frankfurt. The coronation path of the German emperors from the cathedral to the Römer ran through him. The countless, mostly richly decorated half-timbered buildings from the 16th to 18th centuries were destroyed in 1944. In the early 1970s, the site was built over with the Technical Town Hall and the Römer underground station. After the town hall was demolished, the market was rebuilt. The Goldene Waage , Green Linden , Red House , New Red House , Schlegel and Würzgarten houses were reconstructed . Distinctive new buildings are Großer Rebstock, Neues Paradies and the Haus zu den drei Römern.
  • The flour scale at the Garkücheplatz was built in 1719. The flour was officially weighed and customs cleared on the ground floor, and the upper floors served as the city prison until 1866. In 1938 the building was extensively renovated and destroyed in 1944.
  • The Nürnberger Hof was an extensive building complex from the 13th century. It was largely demolished in 1905 when Braubachstrasse was being built. The remainder suffered severe bombing in 1944 and were demolished in 1953, except for the baroque gate in favor of Berliner Strasse .
  • The Roseneck was a very beautiful group of half-timbered houses south of the cathedral. It was completely destroyed in 1944.
  • The Saalgasse ran south of the Alte Nikolaikirche parallel to Bendergasse . Its numerous multi-storey half-timbered buildings and some stone buildings from the 16th to 18th centuries were destroyed in 1944 and the remains cleared away after the war. The south side was rebuilt in the 1950s, on the north side a number of postmodern townhouses were built in the early 1980s.
  • The Scharnhäuser at the Heilig-Geist-Platz in the Saalgasse were two Baroque altered, late Gothic half-timbered buildings with public passageways on their ground floors on wooden pillars. In the 1770s, Johann Wolfgang Goethe successfully tried a court case around one of the buildings. The buildings burned down in 1944 and were cleared by 1950.
  • The Technical Town Hall was the seat of the technical offices of the city of Frankfurt am Main. The building, which was built between 1972 and 1974, was demolished between 2010 and 2012 to rebuild the old town.
  • At the Weckmarkt south of the cathedral, two of the most important medieval stone buildings in Frankfurt were the canvas house from 1399 and the former city ​​scales from 1504. The city scales were rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style around 1880 by master builder Franz Josef Denzinger . It housed the city archive until it was destroyed in 1944. The ruin of the canvas house was rebuilt in 1982.
  • The White Deer on the Großer Hirschgraben was one of the few properties in the old town that had a spacious garden, although some of it extended into the new town. Mentioned for the first time as an inn in 1592, it came into the possession of the Gontard Huguenot family in 1753 . Rebuilt around 1790 in the classical style, it was one of the most magnificent houses in Frankfurt. From 1795 to 1800 the poet Friedrich Hölderlin lived here as tutor of the Gontard family and a friend of Susette Gontard . In 1872, the White Deer was torn down and the garden was built over to enable a road breakthrough to Frankfurt's western train stations. The Hotel Frankfurter Hof , Kaiserplatz and the Commerzbank Tower are located on the site today .
  • The Weißfrauenkloster, founded in 1228, and the Weißfrauenkirche were among the oldest sacred buildings in Frankfurt. In 1542 after the introduction of the Reformation, the monastery was converted into an institution for the care of local needy virgins and widows of the Lutheran creed , whose legal successors still exist today. While the monastery buildings were demolished in 1912, the church remained the spiritual center of the western old town until 1944. Badly damaged in the bombing war, the remains of the church were demolished in 1953 to widen Weissfrauenstrasse.


In the old town there are numerous museums that are part of the so-called museum bank along the Main , including the Jewish Museum , the Archaeological Museum in the Carmelite Monastery, the Historical Museum with a focus on city history, the Schirn Art Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art . The Steinerne Haus , seat of the Frankfurter Kunstverein , the canvas house and the Literaturhaus Frankfurt in the Old City Library are important domiciles of the Frankfurt art scene, which have their headquarters in three reconstructed historical buildings.

Three of the Frankfurt theaters, namely the Komödie , the Volksbühne and the cabaret Die Schmiere , have their venues in the old town. In the past, the old town was generally not very busy in the evenings, except for major events such as the Museumsuferfest . Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been a significant increase in public traffic, especially from tourists. During the soccer World Cup in 2006 , numerous soccer games were broadcast in the specially built Mainarena , an open-air cinema for around 15,000 visitors on the northern bank of the Main.

See also


  • Johann Georg Battonn : Local description of the city of Frankfurt am Main - Volumes I – VI. Association for history and antiquity in Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt am Main 1861–1871
  • Hartwig Beseler, Niels Gutschow: War fates of German architecture. Loss - damage - reconstruction. Documentation for the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. Volume II: South. Panorama Verlag, Wiesbaden 2000, ISBN 3-926642-22-X .
  • Friedrich Bothe : History of the city of Frankfurt am Main. Published by Moritz Diesterweg, Frankfurt am Main 1913.
  • Wilhelm Carlé (arr.): The new old town. Yearbook 1926 of the Association of Active Old Town Friends in Frankfurt a. Main. Holbein-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1926.
  • Olaf Cunitz : Urban redevelopment in Frankfurt am Main 1933–1945. Final thesis to obtain the Magister Artium, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Faculty 08 History / History Seminar, 1996 ( online ; PDF; 11.2 MB).
  • Frankfurt Historical Commission (ed.): Frankfurt am Main - The history of the city in nine contributions. (=  Publications of the Frankfurt Historical Commission . Volume XVII ). Jan Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1991, ISBN 3-7995-4158-6 .
  • Georg Hartmann , Fried Lübbecke : Old Frankfurt. A legacy. Verlag Sauer and Auvermann KG, Glashütten / Taunus 1971.
  • Julius Hülsen, Rudolf Jung , Carl Wolff: The architectural monuments in Frankfurt am Main. Self-published / Völcker, Frankfurt am Main 1896–1914.
  • Georg Ludwig Kriegk : History of Frankfurt am Main in selected representations. Heyder and Zimmer, Frankfurt am Main 1871.
  • Fried Lübbecke : The face of the city. Based on Frankfurt plans by Faber, Merian and Delkeskamp 1552–1864. Waldemar Kramer publishing house, Frankfurt am Main 1952.
  • Walter Sage: The community center in Frankfurt a. M. until the end of the Thirty Years War. Wasmuth, Tübingen 1959 ( Das Deutsche Bürgerhaus 2).
  • Wolf-Christian Setzepfandt : Architecture Guide Frankfurt am Main / Architectural Guide . 3. Edition. Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-496-01236-6 .
  • Philipp Sturm, Peter Cachola Schmal (ed.): The always new old town . Building between cathedral and Römer since 1900. Jovis Verlag, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-86859-501-7 (catalog for the exhibition in the German Architecture Museum ).
  • Heinrich Völcker: The city of Goethe. Frankfurt am Main in the XVIII. Century. Verlag Universitäts-Buchhandlung Blazek & Bergmann, Frankfurt am Main 1932.
  • Magnus Wintergerst: Franconofurd. Volume I. The findings of the Carolingian-Ottonian Palatinate from the Frankfurt old town excavations 1953–1993. Archaeological Museum Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 3-88270-501-9 ( Writings of the Archaeological Museum Frankfurt 22/1).
  • Hermann Karl Zimmermann: The work of art of a city. Frankfurt am Main as an example. Waldemar Kramer publishing house, Frankfurt am Main 1963.

Web links

Commons : Frankfurt-Altstadt  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Manfred Gerner , half-timbered house in Frankfurt am Main . Frankfurter Sparkasse from 1822 (Polytechnische Gesellschaft) (Ed.), Verlag Waldemar Kramer, Frankfurt am Main 1979, ISBN 3-7829-0217-3 .
  2. ^ Website of Dom-Römer GmbH
  3. Statistics currently 03/2020. Residents with main residence in Frankfurt am Main. Retrieved April 8, 2020 .
  4. a b Heike Drummer, Jutta Zwilling: Old town recovery. In: Frankfurt 1933–1945. Institute for Urban History , November 3, 2015, accessed on May 22, 2019 .
  5. ^ Theo Derlam: The Frankfurt old town recovery . In: Wolfgang Klötzer (Ed.): The Frankfurt old town. A memory . Frankfurt am Main 1983, p. 315-323 .
  6. ^ Heike Drummer, Jutta Zwilling: Frankfurt and the Römerberg Festival. In: Frankfurt 1933–1945. Institute for Urban History , October 26, 2015, accessed on May 22, 2019 .
  7. ^ Illustration of the drawing on the website ( [1] ).
  8. ^ Lecture by the magistrate to the city council M 112 2007 from June 20, 2007. In: PARLIS - Parliament information system of the city council Frankfurt am Main. Retrieved January 15, 2010 .
  9. Verbatim minutes of the 15th plenary session of the city council on Thursday, September 6, 2007 (4:02 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.). In: PARLIS - Parliamentary Information System of the City Council of Frankfurt am Main. Retrieved January 15, 2010 .
  10. Schomann, Heinz: 111 Frankfurt architectural monuments describe. Dieter Fricke, Frankfurt am Main 1977, ISBN 3-88184-008-7 , p. 28 .
  11. ^ Chronicle of the Frankfurt fire brigade
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on June 27, 2006 .