The Cathedral of Emperors is not as impressive as its title suggests, and has also been shrouded in scaffolding for some time now. Despite this, the cathedral has an arguably even more impressive a history than the Paulskirche, being the place of coronation for ten of the Holy Roman Emperors between the 16th and 18th century.
An unassuming, if rather unusual looking church in its rotundness, the Paulskirche hides an extremely important piece of German history. It was here in 1848 that German democracy began when the country's first freely elected national assembly was voted in, and the first German constitution, still a fundamental part of modern German law, was drafted.
Frankfurt's main Catholic church held elections (after negotiations in the nearby “Roemer” Town Hall) crowning ceremonies for the Holy Roman Emperors. It is therefore one of the most important churches in German history, though it is not as known as for example the cathedrals of Cologne or Aachen. The Kaiserdom itself is often called Cathedral but it does not have a bishop at all. Contrary to popular belief, “Dom” is only a ceremonial title for an important church, but is not synonymous with Kathedrale (Cathedral) which requires a bishop.
The construction of the Gothic building took place between 1250 and 1514, but due to financial problems, the tower was not completed until the 19th century. After heavy damage in WWII, the reconstruction was finished in 1953. Inside, you will find 15th century altarpieces and many other small details to look at. The church has a small museum (with relics of St. Bartholomew) which can be visited for a small fee. The tower can be climbed for a fee as well
The Paulskirche is not in regular use as a church, but for larger events. It is known for the first German parliament which had its see in this church in 1848 until it was dissolved a year later. The upper floor consists of a great hall which is not accessible to visitors. In the ground floor, there is an excellent exhibition about the development of democracy in Germany. There is no entry fee.
The Paulskirche was consecrated in 1833 and was built on the spot of the former Barfüsserkirche. Until 1944, it was the main Lutheran Church of the city, but it was heavily damaged during WWII. In 1948, reconstruction finished but the building was never consecrated as a church again. However, it was one of the first large buildings to be reconstructed due to its historical significance.
There are several monuments around the church, including those commemorating Freiherr vom Stein (the driving force between German unification in the early 19th century) and Friedrich Ebert (first democratically elected German president of the Weimar Republic).
The Nikolaikirche is the only remaining medieval church in central Frankfurt with its origins dating back to the 11th century. It took its present form in 1290 when the building was enlarged and the tower was added. The church only survived the centuries due to lucky circumstances. In the 16th century, it was closed during the reformation and used as a warehouse afterwards. It was only in the 1721 when the building was used as a church again. When the Hospitalkirche in Frankfurt was in urgent need of rebuilding, it was decided to pull down that one and reactivate the Nikolaikirche as a Luthern church. In 1813, it was closed and used as a warehouse again. History repeated after WWII when several churches in Frankfurt were destroyed but the Nikolaikirche survived. In 1949, it was consecrated again and has kept its function since then. The tower can be climbed, but unfortunately I do not have further details on that.
The two 13th century tomb slabs are from the former Hospitalkirche, the red „Schmerzensmann“ (pain man) sculpture is a copy from a 13th centry sculpture of that church. Note also the stained glass windows which were made by a local artists for a private chapel, but found its way into the Nikolaikirche in 1951. St. Nicholas, the church's patron saint, can be seen in one of the bosses on the ceiling. The small church has a 40 bell carillon which is played twice daily.
When you visit the "Old Nicholas Church" (Alte Nikolaikirche) make sure to climb the spiral stairway to the gallery, which provides a unique view of the Römerberg.
During the Summer months, on Friday evenings, the Church offers a variety of concerts.
Alte Nikolai is open 365 days a year, and the hours are from 10:00 to 20:00.
Admission is free
The Epiphany Protestant Church (Dreikönigskirche) is dedicated to the Three Magi. The towering Neo-Gothic church was built in 1880 on the location of an older Protestant church dating from 1340. A medieval pump outside the church decorated with a statue of the Magi is all that remains of the older church.
When you're in the church look for the stained glass windows by Charles Crodel (1956).
This beautiful church is almost 700 years and is now one of the main Protestant churches in Frankfurt. It is built in Gothic and Baroque Styles and has a wooden ceiling, beautiful stained-glass windows and ornamental baroque portals.
A new Rieger organ was added in 1990 and the church often hosts 30 minutes music concerts with Prof. Martin Lucker.
Church Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10-12 clock.
In the evening the church offers varied concerts throughout the year. Free Admission
St. Paul's Church is known not for being a church but more for the very important political role it played in the years 1848/49 where the first democratically elected Parliament representing the National Assembly met in the building's circular hall.
It was completely destroyed in WWII and re-built in 1948 in celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the National Assembly.
Today the Church is mainly used for public events and exhibitions.
Hours: Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Price: Free admission
The Church of Our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche) is a Parish Church, Monastery Church and Pilgrimage Church at the same time. There is a beautiful Pieta, a tombstone from 13th century and ornate rococo wood carvings inside the church. A beautiful tympanum relief (“Portal of the Three Kings”) is located above the small southeastern exit.
There’s a Capuchin monastery behind the church and a peaceful, concealed courtyard where a statue of the Virgin Mary stands in a sea of candles lit by visitors.
Open daily from 6:00 am to around 22.00 pm
Admission is Free
The Gothic Dom doesn't have a bishop so it’s not a real cathedral but it was named “Kaiserdom” in the 18th century because Royals were crowned in it. It was destroyed and rebuilt twice and the current structure was built in 1953.
It boasts an impressive organ and a beautiful Retable (altar piece) dating from the 15th century. The cathedral’s most prized relic is the skullcap of St. Bartholomew (Dom’s namesake)
Don't miss the Wahlkapelle (Election Chapel) where 16 German emperors were elected then crowned where now a white modern altar stands south of the medieval High Choir.
The museum in the medieval cloister displays exhibits from the Dom’s treasury and objects from a 7th century Merovingian grave unearthed in the cathedral's central nave
A door on the right of the cathedral gives access to the tower for 324 steps climb but in the end you will be rewarded with a magnificent panoramic view of Frankfurt.
Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm / Fri 1:00–8:00 pm
Price: Free admission to the Dom - 3:00 EUR to visit the museum and 3:00 EUR to climb the Tower
In the Carmelite Monastery (Karmeliterkloster) church you will find the Archaeological Museum (Archaeologisches Museum). The Institute of History (Institut für Stadtgeschichte ) is located in the the adjacent buildings.
A 16th-century large religious fresco can be found in the main cloister. The fresco by Jörg Ratgeb represents Christ's birth and death.
Cost: Museum €6, free last Sat. of month - Cloister: Free
Hours: Tues.--Sun. 10 am--5 pm, Wed. 10--8. Closed Mon.
Built initially as a gothic cathedral between XIV and XV centuries, it was rebuilt few times after that and this is why the look is now a neo-gothic one.
It is anyway impressive and probably the 95 m tower is giving most of its greatness.
Frankfurt Dom, or Cathedral, is one of the city’s best known tourist attractions, and a must-see part of the city’s sights. The massive Gothic structure was, like all of Frankfurt’s attractions, damaged badly during the Second World War and rebuilt in the decade that followed the defeat of Nazi Germany. Saint Bartholomew’s Cathedral, as it is more properly known, is a Gothic structure originally constructed between the middle of the 14th century and the 15th century. It was destroyed by fire in the 1860s and rebuilt according to a slightly different plan, which was followed again in the 1950s. The Cathedral was never the seat of a Bishop, but it was nevertheless quite important in the history of the Catholic Church and Holy Roman Empire, as at least one Pope and several Emperors were crowned here throughout the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. Today, the Cathedral is used both for religious services and for tourist visits. The interior is a dark, cavernous example of Gothic architecture, with its sharply point vaults all the way up the nave to the transept. Visitors are permitted to go up the 95 m tower and view the city, although I imagine that this can get quite busy during the peak tourist season.
Nikolaikirche, or St. Nicholas’ Church, is an interesting component of Frankfurt’s Römerberg. While it is square and somewhat lacking ornamentation, like many of Frankfurt’s other churches, the structure has something that is rather reminiscent of Red Square and Muscovite architecture. I found it to be a great subject for photographs, but otherwise I wasn’t able to gather much on its founding or history. It just seems to provide a bit of variety in Römerberg, in a manner that doesn’t break the continuity of atmosphere.