Frankfurt am Main

Continuing with the travel posts of the last few days (I’d still appreciate any tips for Ireland, by the way), I think it’s time for the next in my 30 German towns before 30 series. Today, it’s off to Frankfurt.

Frankfurt is a city with some very nice areas. Unfortunately, it is also a large and busy city (fifth largest in Germany!), so as well as the old, pretty buildings and cute parks, there are skyscrapers in abundance and lots and lots of cars. As you can tell, I’m not the greatest fan of big cities.

One of Frankfurt’s most important landmarks is the Römer (German for Roman), which is a complex of nine houses, among which is the Rathaus (town hall). The square that the Römer is located on is called the Römerberg.

Römerberg
Römerberg
Rathaus
Rathaus

The oldest and most unaltered building in the Innenstadt (town centre) district is the Eschenheimer tower. It was erected at the start of the 5th century and was originally a city gate.

Eschenheimer Turm
Eschenheimer Turm

The river that runs through Frankfurt is the Main, hence its complete name Frankfurt am Main. This distinguishes it from another Frankfurt – Frankfurt an der Oder, a small town in Brandenburg. It’s also the origin of Frankfurt’s nikname, Mainhattan – a merging of the words Main and Manhattan. The Wikipedia article for Mainhattan tells me that Frankfurt is the only city in Germany to allow the building of “Hochhäuser” (tower blocks/high-rise buildings) in the city centre.

River Main
River Main

Most of the times I’ve been to Frankfurt have been for some purpose other than sightseeing. For example, the time I took the photo of the river above we were actually there for a football match but decided to go early to have a look around. Here’s a photo of the inside of the Commerzbank Arena, the stadium where Eintracht Frankfurt play.

Commerzbank Arena
Commerzbank Arena

The match we saw was a friendly game between Germany and Bosnia.

Being a large city, Frankfurt of course has many cultural institutions. I went to see Imogen Heap at Batschkapp, a music venue in the Eschersheim area of Frankfurt, and I would have seen Incubus there but the concert was cancelled due to illness. Basically, Frankfurt is the closet possible destination for roughly 90% of the concerts I would like to see (some performers come to Stuttgart and Karlsruhe gets the occasional act that is either less famous or German, but for the most part Frankfurt is the place to be). The city is also home to The English Theatre,  the largest anglophone theatre in continental Europe (although I’ve never seen a play there).

Alte Oper - a former opera house, now a major concert hall.
Alte Oper – a former opera house, now a major concert hall.

Frankfurt is way, way too big for me to ever want to live there, but it’s always worth a visit. There’s so much to see and do, and any number of interesting cuisines in offer. The first time I went to Frankfurt was for an Open University meetup when I was doing a course with them. We ate at an amazing Thai restaurant that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of. And, as I said above, it’s my go-to-place whenever I hear that a major international performer is planning a tour of Germany. I have absolutely no doubt that I will return to Frankfurt at some point in the not-too-distant future… although the next time I’m in the vicinty, the only thing I’ll be checking out is its airport (which is like a miniature city in itself!). And speaking of airports, don’t be fooled by Frankfurt Hahn! That airport is as much in Frankfurt as Stansted is in London… and Stansted is MUCH easier to get to!

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