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Römerberg (Town Hall Square)
The Römberberg (Roman mountain) is the central square of Frankfurt. It derives its name from the Römer (Roman) house which is the town hall today. How that house got its name is still not clear.
The square is known for its half-timbered buildings and comes close to the stereotype of an old German market square. In the west, there is the Römer building, in the north there is a mix of post WWII-architecture and reconstructed medieval buildings. The Eastern part is a reconstruction of the pre-war buildings from the 1980s. In the 1950s, this space was occupied by a typical post-WWII building and later a subterranean parking lot. The Alte Nikolaikirche (old St. Nicholas Church) is located on the southern side.
Römer (Town Hall)
After the old town hall was becoming too small, the city bought a building called Römer (Roman) in 1405. The exact age of the Römer is unknown, the source of its name as well. At least, it is known that the Römer was mentioned in a document from 1322 and that it was most probably built in the early 14th century. The name Römer was adapted for the whole building complex and not for the building only. The Römer became the new town hall and has been expanded over the centuries through the acquisition of neighbouring buildings. Some negotiations about the election of the next Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire took place here.
The Römer was damaged in the second world war and some of the half-timbered buildings were destroyed completely. In 1955, reconstruction was completed and after refurbishments in 1974 and 2005 it regained its pre-war appearance. One of the very few deviations is the balcony which is often used for big events and celebrations. The Römer is Frankfurt's trademark and well known within Germany.
Most areas are not accessible to the public, but there are guided tours from time to time. Often (when there are no events), the main hall (Emperor's Hall) is accessible to the public as well. Unfortunataley, I did not get the chance to do that. Ask at the tourist information – which is located in the Römer as well – for the current schedule and accessibility.
Music in the Old Nikolai Church
Concerts are often held at the Old Nikolai Church, which is right on the Römerberg in front of the Historical Museum.
The one I attended recently was of Christmas Carols in English, featuring the Choir of the Trinity Lutheran Church under the direction of Jerrode Marsh.
Her husband Peter Marsh, the American tenor who has been a member of the Frankfurt Opera Ensemble since 1998, sang a powerful solo of "Oh Holy Night" by Adolphe Adam.
Second photo: The Old Nikolai Church during the annual Christmas Market on the Römerberg.
Third photo: Looking up at the church steeple.
The Romer area should be the highlight of a sightseeing visit to Frankfurt and we could tell it would usually be lovely, but during our visit it was a building site - dug up everywhere and with dumper trucks, steamrollers, barriers, seating for a recent NBA basketball event, rubbish strewn everywhere.
- Historical Travel
The Romerberg square, a short walk in front of the cathedral, is a beautiful fraud. The original medieval square was destroyed by Allied bombers during the war, and what you see here is a brilliantly convincing reconstruction, which only began in the 1980s. The square is a great place to start your Frankfurt tour, and it contains one of Frankfurt's three tourist offices.
The square includes a number of Frankfurt's most iconic sights, including the Romer's facade which appears on images all over the city, including adverts for Binding's Romer Pils. There is also the Historische museum, which charts the development of the city, and includes a fantastic model of pre-war Frankfurt.
During the World Cup, Romerberg was home to thousands of football fans, including a good number of the 40,000 England fans that descended on the city on the first weekend. Despite their poor reputation for hooliganism, the fans were extremely well behaved and good natured. The only major incident was when some of the fans were kicking a ball around, and one hit the fountain of justice, knocking its sword off.
The Römer or the City Hall
The building is really eye catching. It consist 3 buildings and the middle one is called Zum Romer meaning “At the Romans”. People say it was called like this because there were many Roman villages round here long before Frankfurt was settled.
- Historical Travel
The Römerberg, the plaza in front of the Frankfurt City Hall (known as the Römer) provides visitors with even more traditional architecture to admire. While the square is dominated by the Römer (the City Hall), there are also many other interesting and quaint buildings to take in. All of the buildings are, obviously, reconstructed after the destruction of the Second World War, and many of them are dedicated to traditional restaurants or shops. The centre of the square has a beautiful fountain, and the city has been careful to preserve the traditional flavour of this area, a favourite with Japanese tour groups.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
The original Römer
The Römer, or Town Hall, is perhaps the stereotypical image that all tourists get when they think of traditional German architecture. It is (or rather was, prior to the Second World War) a wealthy merchant’s house purchased by the city in 1405, when it began its 600 year history as the seat of municipal government. In 1596, the buildings behind and beside the Römer was purchased and connected to it, which required a fair amount of engineering work, as the floors in the various buildings were radically different. The entire structure was destroyed during the heaviest bombing raid on Nazi Germany in 1944 and was reconstructed over the following 11 years, with reinauguration in 1955. Much of the façade of the building was rebuilt in the original neo-Gothic style with the sharply pointed roofs, although a balcony was added in order to allow for public events to take place.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Other remarkable contruction in Romerberg is the Alte Nikolaikirche, an early gothic church built in the 13th century. It is said that it used to be the royal chapel of the Stauferian nobility and also the court and electoral chapel of kings and emperors until the 15th century.
Everyday, its 35 bell carrilon chimes at certain hours.
The Town Hall has grown bigger over the years and new construction was added. One of them, in the 19th century, is a bridge which connects the main building with a new wing across the street.
The Bridge of Sighs (Seufzerbrucke) was named after the famous bridge in Venice. Frankfurt's romantic Bridge of Sighs is covered in red brick.
Last, but not the least, the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice) is situated in the center of the Romerberg.
This 16th century statue represents the goddess Justitia, and is represented without the usual blindfold, but also holding the scale of justice. Curiously, the goddess is facing the Romer.
Romerberg is a beautiful square situated in Frankfurt's Altstadt (Old Town). It is lined with half-timbered houses, a church and the Town Hall. Since the 12th century, this square has played an important role in trade fairs. Visitors came from Italy and France, which was really far, back in those long gone days! Also, apart from trade fairs, it was home to major festivities and celebrations, such as the coronation in the Town Hall of Holy Roman Emperors.
Romerberg is about 15 minute walk from Central Train Station (which connects the city with the airport).
If you're interested in finding out more about Romerberg, the Historisches Museum displays models of the square in the Middle Ages as well as shows the history of the city.
These half-timbered houses are so pictoresque! They are replicas of the 15th and 16th century houses which were destroyed by bombings in the WWII. The 1944 bombings devastated the whole historic district and the Romerberg was no exception. Some of the buildings were later reconstructed as was the case of these half-timbered houses and the Romer. However, these replicas are recent as they date from 1983.
The half-timbered houses are situated on the east side of Romerberg, opposite the Romer and the Fountain of Justice and are known as Ostzeile.
The Town Hall - Romer - is a set of 3 pinkish buildings with stepped gables built in Gothic style between the 15th and 18th century, located on the west side of Romerberg. Like the square itself, Romer was devasted in the WWII bombings and later rebuilt accordingly to its original Gothic style.
The name Romer comes from "Zum Romer" which means "to the Roman". "Zum Romer" is the name of the central building and it refers to Roman settlements situated in this area way before Frankfurt was a city. Inside the Romer there is the Kaisersaal, decorated with 52 portraits of kings and emperors, which is a simplified replica of the hall where the emperors were coronated.
A classic German Square
Romer is a classic German Square, This square was rebuilt just like it was before WW II.... filled with shops and restaurants ... If you have time as we did in between flights we made our way down here for a quick lunch... take the S-Bahn metro from the airport to Hauptwache stop and walk about 2 blocks towards the river and you come into Romer square...It took us 20 minutes to get here ....during a clear day, this place must look like a postcard... we were there in late Feburary which is still winter so many of the shops and restaurants aren't as packed as they would be in the summer. Give yourself about an hour to walk around and enjoy this classic German Square.
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Frankfurt am Main Travel Guide
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