Frankfurt, Germany

You will be awed at the skyline of “The city of banks” and “Mainhattan.” Frankfurt am Main has more skyscrapers than the rest of Germany combined. Nestled among them are a few places with old world charm.

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1 Skyline of Downtown Frankfurt, Germany

Unlike most European cities, Frankfurt’s downtown skyline is dominated by skyscrapers which earned it the nickname “Mainhattan.” This combines the name of the Main River shown flowing under the Ignatz Bubis Bridge and Manhattan in New York. Frankfurt has almost 300 high-rises and the ten tallest in Germany. And as you can see from the six cranes in this photo, they are undergoing another building boom with more than fifty new towers either under construction or planned.

Deutschherrnufer 33, 60594 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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2 Alte Oper Building in Frankfurt, Germany

This is Frankfurt Germany’s first opera house which is now called Alte Oper (Old Opera). It was the Opernhaus when it was built in 1880 but then destroyed in 1944 by Allied bombing. The building was rebuilt and opened as a concert hall in 1981. The German words under the pediment translate into: “To the true, the beautiful, the good.”

Opernplatz 1, 60313 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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3 Alte Oper Pediment Frieze in Frankfurt, Germany

If you look closely at the Alte Oper’s pediment you’ll discover two interesting features in addition to the beautiful Greek sculptures. The first is the coat of arms: when this building was originally built, the German Empire had adopted the single eagle from the Holy Roman Emperors. This continued until the end of WWI. More fascinating is the bronze quadriga with four panthers instead of the traditional horses.

Opernplatz 1, 60313 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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4 Mozart Statue at Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Germany

This statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is on the second-level terrace of the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Germany. During the late 18th century, he was a prolific composer of over 600 pieces of music yet was heavily in debt when he died of undiagnosed causes at the age of 35. He was buried in a common grave. Mozart’s popularity and success was largely posthumous.

Opernplatz 1, 60313 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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5 Commerzbank on Gallusanlage Street in Frankfurt, Germany

In a downtown business district dominated by glass skyscrapers, it is rare to come upon a beautiful old building dating before 1944. However, this baroque architecture was built in 1905. It now serves as a branch of Commerzbank on Gallusanlage Street. The inside of the bank is as beautiful as the exterior.

Gallusanlage 2, 60329 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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6 Commerzbank Tower and Eurotower in Frankfurt, Germany

On the left, standing next to the Eurotower which was built in 1977, is the Commerzbank Tower. When it opened in 1977, it was Europe’s tallest skyscraper at 850 feet. Although it lost that distinction, it remains the largest in Frankfurt am Main. When you add in the mast on top, its total height is 300 meters or 984 feet so it dominates the skyline of the downtown district.

Willy-Brandt-Platz, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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7 Deutsche Bank Twin Towers in Frankfurt, Germany

The largest financial firm in Germany with over 100,000 employees is Deutsche Bank. They are headquartered in these twin towers which the locals sometimes call “Debit and Credit.” These identical, trapezoidal skyscrapers were built in 1984 and reach a height of 509 feet.

Taunusanlage 12, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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8 European Central Bank and Euro Sculpture in Frankfurt, Germany

In 1998, the European Central Bank was formed by 18 EU members with their headquarters in this 40 story Eurotower in Frankfurt, Germany. Below it is this blue and yellow, 49 foot Euro logo sculpture created in 2001 by Ottmar Höri. But if you hope to see the sculpture during your trip to Frankfurt you might be disappointed because there is a rumor that it may be sold soon in an auction. Plus, the ECB plans to move into new offices in 2014.

Willy-Brandt-Platz, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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9 Oper Frankfurt Opera House in Frankfurt, Germany

After World War II, while Frankfurt’s original opera house lay in ruins, construction began on Opern-und Schauspielhaus Frankfurt. This multipurpose facility near Willy-Brandt-Platz, which opened in 1951, is not only a venue for excellent opera performances but also as a theater. On the right is a blue and yellow Euro sculpture by Ottmar Höri.

Willy-Brandt-Platz, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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10 European Central Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany

In 2014, the European Central Bank headquarters will move from the financial district of Frankfurt, Germany, to its new office in the Ostend District. Although the $1.85 billion twin skyscraper will only be slightly taller at 659 feet, it will contain more than twice the office space and have a towering view of the Main River below.

Rosa-Marx-Weg 60314 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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11 Financial District in Frankfurt, Germany

This view along Neue Mainzer Straße is the heart of the financial district of Frankfurt am Main. The street was created at the turn of the 19th century and is a delightful blend of skyscrapers, like the Eurotower, Main Tower and Commerzbank Tower shown here, plus historic buildings that survived the ravages of WWII. Frankfurt has over 250 financial institutions, earning it the nickname of Bankenstadt or “The city of banks.”

Neue Mainzer Str. 22 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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12 Frankfurt Cathedral Spire in Frankfurt, Germany

After its initial construction during the 14th century, German kings were elected and crowned at St. Bartholomew’s until the late 18th century. But in 1867 it suffered a severe fire and was heavily bombed by the Allies in 1944 during WWII. Each time, the Frankfurt Cathedral was restored so that its handsome Gothic spire now stands 311 feet in testament to the churches that have been on this spot since the 7th century.

Domplatz 1, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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13 Gallileo Building and Caryatids Beneath Pediment in Frankfurt, Germany

On the left is the Gallileo building which was built in 2003 in the Station District of Frankfurt as the corporate headquarters for Dresdner Bank which was subsequently acquired by Commerzbank. In sharp contrast is another Commerzbank facility that was built almost 100 years earlier. It has exquisite caryatids which are female sculptures designed to provide architectural support of this pediment.

Kaiserstraße 30, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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14 Main Tower in Frankfurt, Germany

The blue cladding on this circular skyscraper in Frankfurt, Germany, was perhaps the inspiration for calling it the Main Tower after the nearby Main River. The 787 foot office building houses the headquarters of Helaba. This commercial bank’s formal name is Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen.

Neue Mainzer Str. 52, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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