Frankfurt 2013 - Frankfurt City
We made a trip to Europe this year and the first stop was Frankfurt. It was beginning of April - supposed to be springtime but this year spring was at least 2 weeks late. When we landed it was freezing cold ! In fact just a couple of weeks earlier Frankfurt airport was closed due to heavy snow and ice.
Frankfurt is the 5th largest city in Germany, and the biggest financial centre in continential Europe. It is home to the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange - one of the biggest in the World, so in terms of world ranking it is no slouch. As a tourist attraction though - it may still have a lot of work to do to catch up with other more popular destinations in Europe. Most people would probably think of Frankfurt as a boring business city - to be avoided if possible.
As it turned out, the City itself is not as boring as I had imagined it to be. That has a lot to do with the River Main which runs roughly East-West through the city. Developments are mostly concentrated on the Northern banks, whereas on the Sourthern banks you will find the museum district (Museumsufer) which includes an impressive roster of museums - the Stadel Institute, Museum of Applied Art, Museum of Ethnography, German Architectural Museum, etc.
Much of Frankfurt was destroyed during the 2nd World War. What you see on the streets are mostly post-war architecture. The classical or old buildings you see dotting the streetscape are mostly replicas.
The Alte Oper (Old Opera House) is one of the most handsome classical buildings in the city. It was completely destroyed during the 2nd World War and subsequently rebuilt.
The square in front of the Opera House is called Opernplatz and is a beautiful plaza and great for people watching.
If you see a sausage stand nearby, be sure to stop and order up a wurst or two. They are usually delicious.
Being a business oriented city, Frankfurt has its share of modern commercial buildings. One of the most well known is probably the Commerzbank Tower. Designed by Norman Foster, it was the tallest building in Europe from 1997 to 2003. A a ground-breaking office building when it was complted, with a series of 4-storey garden atriums which spiral all the way to the top of the building - it was considered one of the first ecological skyscrapers - and still look pretty good today.
One of the best ways to see the Frankfurt skyline is to take a river cruise. Unfortunately there is not much else to see besides the skyline, so you can safely give this a miss if you are rushed for time.