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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 Lord Mayor of Frankfurt.
The beautiful, decadent Kaisersaal in the Römer City Hall stands as the building's largest draw. It's the home to a great many 19th-century paintings and as the name suggests houses the paintings of the German kings of the Holy Roman Empire. Back in the day, the room hosted coronation banquets. Today, the room is often used for hosting important events and festivities. Its stunning blend of Gothic and Medieval Romantic architecture lend it an aura of mystery and elegance.
The house where Goethe was born on August 28, 1749 is a fine example of how the well-to-do 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 recently 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.
Between the Technisches Rathaus, the Schirm Kunsthalle and the cathedral lies an excavation area with ancient remains. Since 1953, excavation work here has produced finds from a Roman settlement, including parts of a Roman bath. Archaeologists have also discovered the remains of a 12th-century royal palace, said to have been the favorite residence of the East Franconian kings during the 12th Century. The "Archaelogical Garden" thus throws light onto several different eras in the early history of Frankfurt.
Goethestraße is Frankfurt's equivalent of Fifth Avenue or Oxford Street, although distinctly smaller and less crowded. This part of the city, between Alte Oper and Roßmarkt, is devoted to pretty much one thing: fashion! The street is lined by chic boutiques run by the world's greatest designers: Cartier, Chanel, Burberry, Jil Sander, Versace, Thierry Mugler and Tiffany, to name a few. No wonder it is Germany's third busiest luxury shopping street. Perfect for fashion lovers!
The Alte Brücke (Old Bridge) was the first and only bridge in Frankfurt until 1869. Although a bridge was first constructed on this site in 1222, there must have already been some form of crossing the river Main as this was where Karl the Great managed to escape with his troops. Throughout the century the bridge, which formed part of an important trade route, was destroyed and rebuilt many times. In 1945 the bridge was blown up and was temporarily repaired and later rebuilt and renovated. On the north side of the bridge there is a memorial dating from the 14th Century in the form of a crucifix, marking the place where criminals were thrown to their death into the river.
Frankfurt Zoo was established in 1858 and is one of the oldest in Germany. The zoo is linked closely with the name of the famous animal expert and researcher Bernhard Grzimek. After the World War II, it was Dr. Grzimek who took care of rebuilding the wrecked buildings. After being appointed as the zoo's director, he also took care of purchasing animals, new buildings and modern enclosures. The special attractions today are the tigers, lions and leopards, the snakes and spiders, and the so-called day and night house which simulates the night-time-so that visitors can see what animals get up to after dark. The 11 hectare (27.18 acre) zoo now boasts over 600 different species and a total of 5,000 animals.
Situated in the Westend precinct of Frankfurt, the Grüneburgpark is one of the largest and most loved parks in Frankfurt. The old masters like Wolfgang Goethe would seek solace in this lush greenery and seek inspiration here. Grüneburg which literally means Green Castle, was once the site of a castle in the 14th century but as time passed, it went on to become a 29 hectare green space for the public. One of the focal points of the park is the Korean Garden, which is segregated into four areas symbolizing the four seasons. Because of the park's proximity to the business district and educational institutions, a lot of students and businessmen come here to unwind after work.
In the southern part of the city, there are huge areas of forests with trails, warming huts, ponds and playgrounds. This is the spectacular Frankfurt City Forest or Stadtwald. The park was originally given as a gift in the year 1221, and has since been a center for recreation and escape from the urban character of the city. One of the largest inner city forests, it is an ideal rendezvous point for locals. There are annual festivals such as Wäldchestag (Forest Day) which takes place here as well. Visitors to the park can take a breather from the hustle and bustle of city life, and instead surround themselves with nature's serenity.
This park crowns the top of Frankfurt's highest hill, the Lorberg, not too far away from the center of town. Created in 1919-30, Lohrpark offers a wonderful panorama of the city, the River Main, Taunus, and Odenwald, and is also home to the only vineyard within city limits. The Lohrberg-Schänke offers thirsty visitors a selection of refreshments. An experimental garden and orchard are attached to the park.