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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.
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.
Spanning across 2.93 acres (1.19 hectares), the Old Jewish Cemetery has tombstones dating back to the 13th-century. It was last used in 1828 and is the second oldest of its kind in Germany. It is situated near the Jewish Museum and had more than 4,000 of its graves destroyed during Hitler's era, yet has many that are still intact. The cemetery is now part of a memorial which contains the names of 11,134 Frankfurt Jews who were murdered by the Nazis.
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.
Oeder Weg runs through the heart of Nordend and is the district's main shopping street. The road is busy but not too noisy, and there is plenty of choice of places to spend your cash: dozens of boutiques, bakeries, butchers and off-licenses as well as several pubs and restaurants. Tourists seldom venture here, but it is well worth the trip just to see how the locals really live. After a stroll down Oeder Weg, you could head to nearby Holzhausen Park for a bit of rest and relaxation.
The idyllic Holzhausen Castle is situated in the middle of a lake in Holzhausen Park. Built in 1727 to 1729, the castle was once the Holzhausen dynasty's country residence. The Rococo building changed hands when it was taken over by the city of Frankfurt in 1923. Tranquil and exuding a peaceful charm, the castle was designed by French architect Louis Remy de la Fosse with Flemish and Nordic inspired architectural styles. The castle and its lush grounds are used today primarily for social and cultural events.
This monumental construction was built at the end of the 1920s by Hans Pölzig. At the time, it housed the headquarters of the chemical concern IG Farben, who later disgraced themselves working for the Nazis. The 240-meter-long building is designed in the neo-classical style that became so popular in the Nazi era. The IG-Farbenhaus was taken over by the US Army in 1945 and used as headquarters for Commander in Chief Eisenhower. After the American military left, the complex stood empty for several years before being handed over to Frankfurt University.
Constructed from 2002 to 2005, the Commerzbank Arena is one of the world's largest convertible sports venues. The transparent roof gives the stadium an impressive cathedral-like feel, making this a worthy replacement of the revered old Waldstadion. The Stadium seats over 45,000 with several VIP boxes. One of the top ten football stadiums in the country, the Commerzbank Arena was chosen as one of the primary venues for several FIFA World Cup matches. Hosting international as well as domestic matches, the turf is abuzz with roars of sports lovers perennially.
The Mainz Cathedral is an architectural and historical marvel that is a must-visit while in the city. Known by different names like Martinsdom and more popularly St. Martin's Cathedral, it is situated close to the old town and serves as one of the major landmarks of Mainz. With a history going back to over a thousand years, this Roman Catholic monument exhibits an array of architectural styles. However, it remains a fine example of Romanesque architecture, even though it received several designs and structural alterations over the centuries. The cathedral interiors are home to ornate plaques and tombs of erstwhile reigning Electoral-prince-archbishops. Several arresting turn-of-the-century religious artworks adorn its high walls. The statues of The Madonna and Saint Boniface are focal points of its sprawling grounds.