Frankfurt am Main, the metropolis in the heart of Europe, is defined by the stimulating contrasts of tradition and modernity, commerce and culture, business and tranquility. Frankfurt is a city of finance, a city of culture featuring a truly unique theatre and museum landscape and it is and has always been Germany’s most modern city.
The famous international trade fairs held here, the financial business conducted, the city’s cultural scene and its accessible location all contribute to Frankfurt’s metropolitan modern reputation. Frankfurt’s famed skyline features more skyscrapers than any other German city. Its formation and rapid expansion is largely due to the presence of many national and international banks which, alongside the stock exchange, the head office of the German Federal Bank and the European Central Bank, have turned the city into Germany’s premier financial centre. Furthermore, Frankfurt is the leading service sector location, as evidenced by the Commerzbank skyscraper which, at 259 meters (not counting the 40-metre antenna) is Europe’s tallest office high-rise.
Frankfurt’s skyline is ever-changing – the newest skyscrapers are already under construction and many more are in the design stages. One of the most notable attractions is the Main Tower, the only skyscraper open to the general public. The Main Tower offers a restaurant on the 53rd floor and a spectacular panoramic observation platform on the 55th floor – 200 metres above street level.
Frankfurt’s urban development plan promises the completion of two new and spectacular high-rise projects in the coming years. The first of the two, a 150-metre-tall structure, will be the new home of the European Central Bank, while the second high-rise, bearing the name “PalaisQuartier” is at present under construction. Its shopping mall with relaxation and activity venue has opened in 2009 and this year the opening of the luxury hotel “Jumeirah” as well as an office building will complete this project.
At Frankfurt’s famous museum embankment, magnificent museums of every variety stand side by side like pearls on a string. Here, one finds a total of 26 museums and exhibition venues of great distinction, including the Museum of Applied Arts, the German Architecture Museum, the German Film Museum and the internationally renowned Städel Art Museum.
The historical centre of Frankfurt, meanwhile, offers a plethora of interesting sightseeing attractions, such as the birthplace of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the Emperor’s Cathedral (Kaiserdom), the famous Römerberg old town and St. Paul’s Church, all of which have taken their place in the annals of German history. Best of all, everything is within walking distance, including the banks of the majestic River Main, which present themselves to locals and visitors as a pair of beautiful riverside promenades with green belts, cocktail bars and plenty of space for sports and leisure.
If you’re looking for a more cozy atmosphere, simply cross the Main and head to the nearby going-out district of Sachsenhausen, where you’ll find numerous traditional apple wine pubs offering the locals’ beverage of choice as well as popular regional delicacies. Frankfurt am Main is also extremely family-friendly, with Frankfurt Zoo, the Palmengarten and the Senckenberg Museum, Germany’s largest museum of natural history, ready to inspire children of all ages with their fascinating exhibits.
The final weekend of every August is dedicated to the spectacular Museum Embankment Festival, renowned as one of Europe’s largest cultural celebrations. Frankfurt’s museums stand at the centre of attention during this time, offering art enthusiasts and all others a colourful cultural programme that is on show late into the night. The festival celebrates a different motto every year and features a unique combination of art, culture, music and cuisine representing the four corners of the Earth.
As the home of one of Europe’s largest airports (renamed Fraport AG after listing on the stock exchange in 2001), biggest passenger train station and a major overland traffic hub, Frankfurt is easily reached from within Germany and further afield.
Frankfurt is also an ideal base for day trips: the mountainous forest landscapes of the Taunus, Spessart and Odenwald regions are easily reached by car, public transport and even boat. The romantic Rheingau area, with its picturesque castles and vineyards, the Romantic Road and famous cities like Heidelberg, Wiesbaden and Mainz, are also ideal destinations for relaxing holiday jaunts.
Photos: Tourismus+Congress GmbH Frankfurt, Holger Ullmann.