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The spectacular facade of St.Paul's Church is a landmark and also a unique anomaly in Frankfurt. Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church) became famous not as a church, but as a meeting place. Built to replace the Barfüßerkirche, it was opened in 1833. The first freely-elected German parliament sat here in 1848. It met 99 times and passed 59 articles which are still part of the German constitution today. Destroyed in an air-raid in 1944, the church was rebuilt immediately after World War II as a memorial to the aftermath of war. The hall is now a venue for important events such as the annual German Peace Prize ceremony and the City of Frankfurt's Goethe Prize awards.
Frankfurt Town Hall, as it stands today, is made up of a melee of different buildings. The first buildings to be constructed here were the Zum Römer House and the next-door guest-house, Goldener Schwan in 1405. At the beginning of the 20th Century, two building complexes (north and south) were erected next to Paulsplatz and were joined by a bridge. Designed in a Renaissance and Baroque architectural style, these buildings fit in well with the earlier buildings. They are decorated with reliefs depicting local events, such as the harvesting of cider apples. One particular draw is the exquisitely decorated Kaisersaal (Emperor's Hall) in the Rathaus (city hall). The Rathaus is the seat of the Mayor of Frankfurt.
The house where Goethe was born on August 28, 1749, is a fine example of how the affluent lived in the late Baroque era. In 1733, Goethe's family acquired two neighboring half-timbered houses in Großen Hirschgraben. The family sold the property in 1795, by which time Goethe himself had already moved to Weimar. It is also worth taking a trip to the adjoining Goethe Museum, which was renovated and contains both a library and a bookshop. The house itself is a reconstruction of the original which was destroyed during World War II.
Built between 1460 and 1520, this historic monastery is worth a visit for its architecture alone. Yet there is much more to see than just thick brick walls. The refectory is considered to be one of the most beautiful Renaissance-period buildings in the city, and Joerg Ratgeb's frescos in the hallway rank among the most important wall-paintings in the whole of Europe. After the last monks (of the Karmeliter Order) left the monastery in 1803, it was turned into a military barracks. Nowadays, Karmeliterkloster is home to the Museum of Early History, the Institute of Urban History and a public art gallery.
Designed by Hans Hollein, the Museum für Moderne Kunst (Museum of Modern Art) is among the most important in Frankfurt and is known to locals as Das Tortenstück ("the slice of cake") due to its triangular shape. The unconventional yet elegantly designed building reflects the style of contemporary art and enriches Frankfurt's architectural landscape. The focal point is a naturally-lit, glass-vaulted hall covering two floors, from which staircases lead to the exhibition's upper floors. The nucleus of the collection comes from Darmstadt industrialist Karl Ströher and includes works by American artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Exhibits are rotated biannually and often include works and projects by new artists. A glass-fronted cafeteria is located on the ground floor.
Situated near Main River, the Imperial Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew is one of the most historically rich monuments in the city. Its Gothic style structure has become a part of Frankfurt's skyline. With its origins dating back to 7th Century BCE, the church is steeped in Roman history. The cathedral is renowned for being a coronation church for Roman emperors from the years 1562 to 1792. Withstanding the Second World War, the church was rebuilt in the 1970s. Housing several relics and prized possessions, the sculpture by Hans Backoffen depicting a scene of Christ's crucifixion is a masterpiece belonging to the early Renaissance period. While its status as an imperial church declined after the Roman Empire's fall, it became a beacon of national integrity after the 19th Century.
The Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSE) is the world's third largest market for stocks, shares and foreign currencies. With a turnover of 75% of all shares traded, it is also the largest stock exchange in Germany. As long ago as the 16th Century, several traders made a pact to establish exchange rates for the various currencies coming into the city during trade fairs. This was the forerunner of the FSE. The stock exchange building, a tribute to the High Renaissance style, stems from 1879 when it replaced the old building next to Paulskirche. Visitors can watch the traders in action from a balcony above the trading floor: a fascinating spectacle. A large screen shows the movements of the DAX (the German share index), while individual share prices can be seen on monitors.
Acquiring its name from the renowned Main River, Main Tower is a stunning 56-story architectural structure that also happens to be one of the most important buildings around the Innenstadt neighborhood. Through its spectacular blue glass structure, the tower reflects the bustling streets of Frankfurt. The two attached towers are collectively considered to be one of the tallest structures in Germany. They comprise the German offices of the famous Standard & Poor's, Merrill Lynch, the Hessischer Rundfunk television studio and many others. The Main Tower Restaurant & Bar on the 53rd floor serves Euro-Asian cuisine that is loved by patrons.
Opera is a burning issue in Frankfurt in more ways than one. Outsiders tend to associate it with the Alte Oper or the Opernbühne, but both were completely destroyed in the World War II. A new building was opened in 1951 but burned to the ground in 1987, being reopened some four years later. The stucco sculpting on the ceiling of the foyer is of particular architectural interest. The works of the six operatic stalwarts are staged here more than anything else, though they also alternate with more recent composers. Instead of a permanent program, the Oper Frankfurt currently employs a staggione system, staging performances in groups. The reputation of the opera house used to be a cut above the rest, but is on the wane as a result of internal disputes, despite some spectacular productions.
The German Architecture Museum is housed within a gorgeous 18th century villa. The concept of the museum is mirrored in the unusual design of the building which is a house within a house. There are exhibits that are spread over various levels of the museum. Visitors can view the amazing collection of the ancient and recent building plans, models and structures. The exhibits at this museum keep rotating. The museum is a great place for students who are learning architecture since there is a plethora of architectural drawings and models that can be viewed. The museum also organizes several events, programs and lectures.
The Alte Oper or the Old Opera House still looks as magnificent and imposing as it did when it was inaugurated by Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1880. The building was financed by affluent Frankfurt citizens and was designed in an Italian Renaissance style by Richard Lucae. Destroyed in a 1944 air raid, it was rebuilt later and renamed the 'Old Opera Concert and Conference Center'. The main auditorium, the Grosser Saal with seating for about 2500 people, is the central part of the building and is used for concerts and musical extravaganzas. Smaller rooms can be hired for functions, conferences, corporate events, receptions, product launches and so on. Visitors can obtain refreshments in the cafe, the restaurant or the bistro.