Exploring the sights of Frankfurt in a couple of hours on a layover before heading for Zanzibar on the trip The Great Eastern Summer.
The fifth largest city in Germany is also one of the most important financial centers in the world. Frankfurt has been called “Mainhattan” (combining Main River and Manhattan) partly due to its skyscraper skyline. Most of the city, especially the wooden houses in the old town, was destroyed during the second World War.
As a central city, many flights connect here and a long layover is a perfect chance to briefly explore the city.
From the airport we got a train to the old city and walked around to explore the sights.
The Museum of Modern Art
The museum houses many famous works, but the architecture is also a draw. The building, designed by Hans Hollering, is known as “the slice of cake”.
Also known as Saint Bartholomew’s Cathedral this Roman Catholic church was built in the 14th and 15th centuries in the Gothic style. Unfortunately the church was burned out during World War II by Allied bombing. In the 1950s the church was rebuilt.
The pedestrian Iron Bridge spans the Main river and was built in 1868. It was blown up in the war but rebuilt right after.
This square is the historic center of Frankfurt dating back to 1405. The historic town hall is located here along with many other rebuilt timber houses. Unfortunately there was a stage of some sort in the center of the square… Didn’t they know I had to take pictures?
For lunch we ate in the square and tried the famous frankfurters with their cider like drink, apfelwein. I had to switch to a beer after a taste.
The Goethe House
The famous writer Goethe was born in Frankfurt and this museum is a recreation of his house which was also destroyed during the war.
St. Paul’s Church
This modest church is very important in Germany for its political history. In 1789, it was originally a Lutheran church but in 1849 it housed the Frankfurt Parliament which was Germany’s first freely elected legislative body.
Interesting to note, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech here when he visited.
This pedestrian street is known for its shopping. We met a friend who walked with us to an open market here in front of the Alte Oper.
The Alte Oper previously was the opera house, built in 1880. After World War II, it lay in ruin until it was reconstructed in 1981 and now serves as a concert hall.
After that we bid our friend farewell and caught a train back to the airport. Frankfurt is an interesting juxtapose of modernity and tradition. It is definitely worth a visit, even if you only have a few hours on a layover!
Next up, Tanzania!