Frankfurt New Altstadt

In September 2018 Frankfurt celebrated the official opening of the "new" Altstadt. This incredible development reflects architectural styles spanning six centuries. Of the 35 buildings which make up this new quarter, 15 of the houses have been authentically recreated whilst the other 20 properties have a modern contemporary style. The whole project was funded by the city costing 200 million euros and was over 12 years in the making.

Pre-war the old town was an area of 28,000m² and was the most expansive medieval old town in Germany. However, on March 22nd 1944, the bombs rained down. The timber-framed, medieval houses, were not able to withstand the fires, resulting in 80% of the old town being destroyed.

Frankfurt wanted to rebuild itself as a modern city and by 1974 the Technische Rathhaus (technical town hall) took pride of place between the cathedral and the Römerberg. However, there was little love for the building’s brutalist architecture so when it was voiced that the building was to be demolished, the locals wasted no time in petitioning for a sympathetic redevelopment of the old town to represent what stood here before the war. 

Today the old town is 7,000m² and is only a quarter of it's previous size. The new development brings back to life former times from the Romans, to the Kaiserpfalz of the earliest Holy Roman Emperors, and the centuries of architecture that followed.

Underneath the Stadthaus, and open for the public to view, lay the old Roman ruins, walls of the former Kaiserpfalz and some of the earliest medieval cellars.

Two of the old trading yards, Hinter dem Lämmchen and Hof zum Rebstock have been beautifully re-crafted, and after 70 years of being blocked, the Coronation Way, Krönungs Weg, is once again a thoroughfare for the public to retrace the steps of the newly crowned Holy Roman Emperors from the cathedral to the Römerberg.

The Hühnermarkt is the hub of the quarter, with the gothic Neue Rotes Haus ready to house "schirns" of yester-year and the Esslinger Haus, with it's reference to Tante Melber, an aunt of Germany's most famous author Johann Wolfgang Goethe. The baroque Grüne Linden, on the south side of the market place, houses the Balthasar Wein Bar offering quality German wines to thirsty passers-by. Meanwhile, on the east side, a row of classicist housing has been recreated. In the centre of the Hühnermarkt stands the fountain dedicated to Friedrich Stoltze, a local satirist and activist of the 1848 democratic movement.

The most outstanding house, the Goldene Waage (the Golden Scales) stands opposite the cathedral. It cost €8 million to authentically recreate both inside and out. This replica 17th century renaissance house is to be managed by the Historical Museum and is open to the public as a cafe and it also has internal access to the Stoltze Museum next door, in house Weisser Bock..  

Take some time to explore the new town. Better still, come on a Walk-Frankfurt tour and get the full details and stories of what life was really like here throughout the centuries.

A day out at the Frankfurt zoo(s)

Frankfurt has two zoos which are open every day of the year. Even in winter they offer a great day out with plenty of indoor exhibits as well as the outdoor pens where the animals roam.

The City Zoo

Located just 1 km east of the city centre the city zoo has it own U-bahn stop, "Zoo" on the number 6 and 7 lines and tram number 14 also stops right outside.

The zoo houses 450 species of animals and birds, including Kumar and Vanni, the lion and lioness. There's a monkey house, an exotic bird house and even peacocks strut freely around the grounds. A bonus for those with young children is the opportunity to hire a pull-along cart (3€), which is ideal for carrying backpacks and even tired children and there is a special petting area with goats and sheep. The zoo has various pit-stops offering snacks and drinks along the way and an indoor cafe.

The "animal of the month" feature showcases an animal each month and has special events such as supervised feeding times and information sessions by the keeper. Regular daily feeding times for the other animals is detailed on-line, http://www.zoo-frankfurt.de/ihr-zoo-besuch/fuetterungszeiten/ 

The zoo website offers some basic details in English, such as entrance fees and visiting times. Late night opening until 8pm is available on the last Friday of every month (except December). During the late night opening you can wander round at your leisure or join a tour (in German) which is themed each month. All this with a special 2€ price reduction on the regular entrance fee.  

Opel Zoo

Opel Zoo is located in Kronberg, a 15 minute drive outside of Frankfurt. Easily accessed by car, it can also be reached by taking the S4 train from Frankfurt to Kronberg Bahnhof and then either the bus lines 261, X26 and X27 to the bus stop "Opel-Zoo".

The zoo is set out in a large park, which is perfect for a gentle stroll through all the themed areas. A highlight at the Opel Zoo is feeding the animals. The zoo sells small packs of food and actively encourages the feeding of various animals. At the elephant house you might be lucky to see the elephant holding his trunk straight up in the air, as a sign he wants another carrot!

There is a lot to see here, the elephant house, the giraffe house, a petting zoo with sheep, goats, ponies and donkeys, and lots of other species. For young children there is even the opportunity for a pony or camel ride. Throughout the park are kiosks offering refreshment. The Sambesi cafe has great views across the park, or you can even bring your own food and make use of the picnic facilities provided.  

Frankfurt Höchst

Sometimes written Hoechst, this little town in the western suburbs of Frankfurt has beautiful, timber-framed, medieval housing, an old town square, a delightful castle (the former residence of the Archbishop of Mainz), and a beautiful riverside along the Main.

Höchst is just 15 minutes by train from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof and can be reached using the S1 or S2 trains. It is within the Frankfurt travel zone area and the trip is covered by daily, weekly and yearly travel cards. To find the old town, alight at Frankfurt Höchst, exit the station to the south and head along Justinuskirchstraße.

It is also a very pleasant cycle ride to Höchst travelling west, out of Frankfurt, along the south bank of the river Main towards Schwanheim. As you draw level with Höchst, on the opposite riverbank, there is a small ferry boat which shuttles passengers to and fro, across the river, for just 1€. Once on the Höchst riverbank, you are directly in front of the old city gate and walls. Walk through the gate and you enter the old town. Alternatively, you can take refreshment at the Alteschiffsmeldestelle, an open air cafe 100m to the west of where the shuttle boat docks.

Höchst castle has some lovely grounds to explore and is in the heart of the old town. The small square as you approach the castle has plenty of quaint places to eat and relax. From the square it is possible to walk down, through the gate of the old town walls and to the river bank.

Close to the castle is Justinus Church, one of the few, almost complete, early medieval churches in Hessen. Open to the public from 2pm- 5pm, Tues - Sun during the summer months, it also has a pretty flower and herb garden worth visiting too. 

Just taking a walk through the streets of old Höchst will provide the quaint sight of beautifully restored medieval, timber houses. Streets of note are: Burggraben, Antoniterstraße, Kronengasse, and Alt-Höchst. At Alt-Höchst 7, stands a quaint, traditional weinstube (wine bar) Alte Münze , serving light bites and local wines. It's open daily (except Tuesday) from 4pm. On Bolongarostraße 152, is the Kronberger Haus which hosts the Höchst Porcelain Museum. The museum is small but it's a must for anyone interested in porcelain and pottery manufacture, open Sat & Sun from 11am - 6pm. 

On Tuesday, Friday and Saturday morning a market is held at Höchster Markt, lots of fruit and vegetable stalls and a flower market outdoors. In the indoor market is a good variety of diary, meat and delicatessen stalls. The coffee stand is particularly popular.  Outside, on the north-eastern corner of the market place is Cafe Piccolo, serving delicious ice-creams. At the eastern side of the market place is a large, ugly, pink building which is an old air-raid shelter built during World War 2. However, it is the former site of the local synagogue which was destroyed to make way for the shelter. Take a look through the binoculars stationed outside the bunker to see image of the former synagogue as it previously stood.

Whilst in Höchst, take some time to visit the church of St. Josef, on the corner of Hostatostraße and Justinuskirchstraße. Plain on the outside but a treasure of early 1900's architecture on the inside.

A day out in Bad Homburg

Bad Homburg, spa town to royalty and Russian nobility during the 19th century, is a short train ride from Frankfurt (train details details below). It's a great place to spend the day enjoying the beautiful Kurpark, the Schloss Homburg gardens, the great variety of architecture, and the numerous cafes and restaurants for refreshment.

Bad Homburg Kurpark

In the 19th century, the Russian nobility flocked to Bad Homburg to enjoy the spa baths and casino located in the Kurpark, a beautiful park landscaped by Peter Joseph Lenné and lovingly maintained to this day. The park has a Russian orthodox church and two Siamese temples. The first Buddhist temple, inaugurated in 1914, was sent as a gift by King Chulalongkorn of Siam. Later in 2007 the Thai royal family sent another temple to commemorate the long standing ties between the town and Thailand. Back in the 1800's the German royal family constructed a spa house in the park. The Kur Royal Day Spa, is still open to the public and and there is also the more modern Taunus Therme baths. After the Kurpark wander along the streets nearby e.g. Landgrafenstraße towards the high street, which are filled with fine examples of art nouveau architecture.

Bad Homburg High Street

Bad Homburg high street (starting at the southern end of Louisenstraße) is pedestrianised, which makes for a pleasant, traffic free stroll up toward Schloss Homburg. There are plenty of places to grab a coffee and have a break, of particular note is Eiscafe De Pellegrin, Louisenstraße 9, serving excellent ice-creams. Don't forget to check the side streets for some 'off the beaten track' restaurants (Audenstraße has quite a few).

Schloss Homburg

At the northern end of the high street is the Schloss Homburg, the summer residence of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Today, the gardens are open to visitors and the main entrance is on Dorotheenstraße. Beside the main entrance is the Erlöserkirche, commissioned by the Kaiser, with a lavish interior presenting a mix of byzantine and art nouveau styles.

Edward VII was a regular guest at the Schloss and is credited with making famous the Homburg hat, which is still produced in Bad Homburg today. The original Homburger Hutsalon (hatters shop),  is on Rathausstraße 8, in a beautiful 16th century building, surrounded by other beautifully restored timber-framed houses. 

If you enjoy architecture, on returning back to the station, instead of walking along the high street, take the route along Dorotheenstraße, starting at the Schloss, and enjoy the lovely examples of 18th century Baroque housing. Along the way is the beautiful church of St. Marien.

Trains to Bad Homburg and map

Bad Homburg can be reached in 21 minutes by taking the S5 from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (or directly from Frankfurt city centre at Hauptwache and Konstablerwache) Trains run every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes at weekends. A single ticket costs 4,80€, a day card costs 9,35€ or, if there is between two to five people travelling, a group card is only 16,40€ (prices correct as from June 2017) If you have a Frankfurt travel-card, you will need to pay a 2,95€ supplement each way. The Bad Homburg tourist information web page has lots of additional information.

Bad Homburg - click on map will enlarge it and this link is the searchable web version.

Ernst May architecture and a lovely day out

The ernst-may-haus

Within the Frankfurt travel zone a little north of Frankfurt is an area known as Römerstadt (take U-bahn U1 or U9 to Römerstadt). Today, it is known as a 1920's housing project conceived and planned by Ernst May. Centuries ago, it was a an area of Roman activity. With an original 'ernst-may-haus' to visit and offering some beautiful countryside along the path of the river Nidda, the Römerstadt makes for a great day out. It's also accessible via several cycle routes. (I've added notes below)

First port of call is the ernst-may-haus (Im Burgfeld 136), run and maintained by the Ernst May Society. Directions to the house are well signposted from the Römerstadt U-bahn station. The ernst-may-haus is a sample house which re-creates the original interior and features of Ernst May's concepts and has a very informative video, in English, about his ideas and planning for the New Frankfurt, as it was called. Other exhibits are in German however, one can still enjoy the aesthetics and ideas which went into creating this 1920's home. In the house is an original kitchen, designed by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, a bathroom, a cellar and bedrooms. Rooms are decorated in the original colours from 1928 to give authenticity to Ernst May's vision.

Once you leave the ernst-may-haus, you'll notice how the housing on every street conforms to the Ernst May principles, front lawns, back gardens, flat roofs and long terraces of identical buildings. Next you'll notice the amazing amount of greenery and nature incorporated into this residential project.

Nearby walks

My recommendation is that after you have visited the mayhaus, you walk back along the street, Im Burgfeld, towards the U-bahn, but instead of going into the station keep walking down the street (Hadrianstraße). Eventually, on the left you'll reach a road called "An der Ringmauer", walk beyond this street and take the next left which is a pathway leading you around the back of the housing and along the Schrebergartens. (Schrebergartens are small allotment gardens) The individuality of the Schrebergartens themselves are are pretty sight in the summer and the other unavoidable view are the imposing boundary walls, to the left as you walk, jutting out like battlements. Walk up upon one and capture some great Frankfurt skyline views.Find a path that takes you through the Schrebergartens and to the banks of the river Nidda. Suddenly you are transported away from housing and into the heart of the country-side with large green vistas and nature all around. Head toward the small bridge signposted as, "Am Bubeloch" and enjoy the views. For a pleasant walk, cross the bridge and walk down stream, in under 2km you reach another bridge where you can cross over, explore Steinbech (a small water inlet) and then walk back up towards Römerstadt. An alternative walk from "Am Bubeloch" is not to cross the bridge but to follow the bank of the river Nidda upstream for 3.5km and you will reach the old Bonames airfield which is today a nature reserve and has the excellent Tower Cafe, serving lunches and home-made cakes. (From The Tower Cafe it is possible to walk into town and catch the U2 or U9 trains at the Kalbach station.)

To incorporate a walk along the river, on route back to Frankfurt, turn left at Am Bubeloch and follow the river path upstream. The path will eventually take you up onto a road bridge. Turn right onto the bridge and cross the Nidda river. Turn right onto Niedwiesenstraße and then left onto Am Brückengarten. Turn left at the T-junction, at the end of Am Brückengarten, and you'll see some steps leading up. Follow the steps up and you'll find yourself on a busy road (Am Weißen Stein). Turn left and you'll see the S-bahn station Eschersheim. Turn right and follow the road down toward the U-bahn stop called Weißer Stein. This stop is served by the U1, U2, U3 and U8 trams. For a treat head to the Lido ice cream cafe, just behind the U-bahn stop. They make the ice cream on-site and the quality is top notch.

For cyclists

The cycle along the Nidda river, from Frankfurt heading north east is lovely. There is a small bridge at Am Bubeloch allowing you to cross over into Römerstadt where upon the Schrebergartens and Ernst May housing is directly ahead of you. Turn left at Am Bubeloch and follow the Nidda downstream and under the road bridge. The ernst-may-haus is across the fields heading north away from the river. After visiting Römerstadt head back to the river turn left and follow the Nidda upstream to Bonames and it's old airfield to rest and grab a bite to eat at the fabulous Tower Cafe.

Walking the old city walls

The medieval city walls no longer stand today. Instead there is a beautiful park, the Wallanlagen, that follows the path of the old walls and makes for an interesting and varied 5km walk. Look at any map of Frankfurt and it's easy to spot. It's the ring of green that surrounds the city centre and, at the southern edge, follows the river bank.

The ring of green is the former site of the medieval walls and today is a park.

The ring of green is the former site of the medieval walls and today is a park.

Constructed in 1343 the wall was up to eight metres high, three metres thick with a wide moat fed by the River Main. In the above map the blue line is the path of the wall, meanwhile the battlements are indicated by the yellow and black line. By the early 1800's the defensive walls were officially de-commissioned and the city planners approved the construction of a city park. The walls were dismantled between 1806-1812 and the area landscaped using designs by Sebastian Rinz.

There is plenty to see in the park. Small lakes provide for birds, children's play areas are plentiful along the eastern section of the Wallanlagen and there are some iconic sights such as the Euro sign and medieval Eschenheimer tower.

Euro Sign by the former ECB headquarters, at Willy-Brandt Platz (Gallusanlage)

Euro Sign by the former ECB headquarters, at Willy-Brandt Platz (Gallusanlage)

Cafe's and other highlights around the Wallanlagen

Starting from the eastern side, where Obermainanlage meets the river, and heading north the park has the air of an English garden. Along the way you'll notice a small lake and sculptures, plus a few children's play areas so the kids can enjoy the park too. As you reach the Zeil intersection there is the Haus Bar which opens in the evenings from 18:00. Very close by is Main Gold, a cafe and restaurant open from 10:00. As you carry on walking around the park there is another larger lake with weeping willows. If you cross over the road (Friedberger Anlage) at this point you enter Bethmannpark with it's beautiful Chinese garden. Heading back into the Wallanlagen, another key sight is the Italian sunken garden just before the Eschenheimer tower. Cross over the road into the next section of the Wallanlagen and at this point there is another cafe, "Good times for good people", which is great for lunch and coffees. Continue on to see the small garden house, the Nebbiensches Gartenhaus, which hosts regular exhibits by local artists. Walk past the lake and you are at Opernplatz. Carry on through to the Taunusanlage section of the park, and here you will find sculptures dedicated to Beethoven, Schiller, and Heinrich Heine, as well the Museum of Modern Art (MMK). After the MMK the large Euro sign is impossible to miss. Another 200 metres south and you are at the River Main and have completed a walk around the Wallanlagen. 

Jewish history in Frankfurt

Frankfurt has a Jewish history dating back to at least the 12th century and there is some excellent information on the web to guide you to key cultural sites within Frankfurt, http://en.juedisches-frankfurt.de/
 
There are two museums in Frankfurt city centre dedicated to Jewish heritage in the city, both offering extensive information in English as well as German. Be aware however, the the Jewish Museum (opposite the river on Untermainkai 14) is closed until 2018 for renovations. The museum of the Jewish Ghetto is open, and newly renovated, and includes as a permanent exhibit the original foundation stones of the ghetto from 1462. In addition to these two central museums, is the Bildungsstätte Anne Frank, a small exhibit dedicated to Anne Frank, whose family lived in Frankfurt until the National Socialist regime forced them to move to Amsterdam. This museum is easily accessible by taking the U-bahn (1,2,3 or 8) to Dornbusch. During my last visit they were exhibiting the original diary of Anne Frank.

An exhibit from the Bildungsstätte - Anne Frank in Frankfurt

An exhibit from the Bildungsstätte - Anne Frank in Frankfurt

As well as the information listed on web about Frankfurt Jewish culture there are some additional places to visit which have a Jewish connection. Up near the old opera house is the Rothschildpark, situated on land where the Rothschild's once lived. A placard by the park entrance, on Bockenheimer Landstraße, offers information and photos about the family home that once stood there.

Not far from Konstablerwache is a remnant of the old city wall, the Staufenmauer, dating back to the 12th century. It's also the north entrance to what used to be the Jewish ghetto, first constructed in 1462 and, up until 1815, Jewish residents were confined to living there. Today nothing exists of the old ghetto but walk through the old north entrance and head south towards the Jewish ghetto museum (Museum Judengasse) and you will be treading the path of where the ghetto used to stand.

Staufenmauer, the 12th century city wall and the entrance to the Jewish ghetto.

Staufenmauer, the 12th century city wall and the entrance to the Jewish ghetto.

As you reach the Jewish ghetto museum, on the south east corner of Kurt-Schumacher-Straße and Battonstraße, look out for some brass plates laid into the ground with house names on them, e.g. Goldenes Schaf. The brass plates outline where some of the ghetto houses previously stood and are part of the museum exhibit. The entrance to the Jewish ghetto museum is 30 metres along Battonstraße and it is the ideal place to visit for more information about life in the ghetto.
Next door to the museum, is the old Jewish cemetery, in use from the 1200's through to the 1800's. Around the cemetery walls are listed almost 12,000 names, the names of the Jewish Frankfurt citizens murdered during the holocaust. Follow the wall to the south side and into the Neue Borne Platz, previously the old Jewish market place, today it is a permanent place of remembrance. If you wish to enter the cemetery a key can beborrowed from the museum, but only on production of a valid ID card.

A name from the Jewish cemetery wall memorial.

A name from the Jewish cemetery wall memorial.

This link also gives details of the other two Jewish cemeteries in Frankfurt, which are both accessible via a short ride on the U-bahn.    

In the heart of the old town, on Römerberg stands the Alte Nikolaikirche. Step inside and notice the colourful stained glass windows in the south wall and one to the west. These windows formerly belonged to Carl von Weinberg. Born into a Jewish family, in the 1880's he converted to the evangelical faith however, because of his Jewish beginnings, the National Socialist regime reclassified Carl von Weinberg and forced him to sell his estate. The window's creator,  Lena von Schauroth, took the windows for save keeping and in 1951 permission was given for the windows to be installed in the Alte Nikolaikirche. Another relic from the von Weinberg estate is the Florentine fountain, an original 16th century renaissance sculpture which can be found in the Wallanlage park, next to the Nebbiensches Gartenhaus.

The Wollheim memorial in the Goethe University grounds, Frankfurt.

The Wollheim memorial in the Goethe University grounds, Frankfurt.

The Goethe University grounds in the Westend, house the Wollheim memorial, dedicated to slave labourers forced to work at IG Farben during the second world war. The main university building is the former IG Farben headquarters. The public are free to walk around the university grounds which connect up with the Grüneburgpark, and the Botanical Gardens.

Walking around old Sachsenhausen (Alt Sachsenhausen)

Old Sachsenhausen, south of the river, is a unique part of Frankfurt. Today the area comes alive at night, crammed as it is with bars, clubs and apple wine taverns but take a closer look and you will notice traditional cobbled streets, gas lamps and old medieval houses.

Große Rittergasse, Sachsenhausen in Frankfurt

Große Rittergasse, Sachsenhausen in Frankfurt

First mentioned in a document back in the 12th century, old Sachsenhausen became the place where the fishermen, weavers, and the other poorer classes lived. The area survived the devastation of the second war and today offers a glimpse into the Frankfurt of old.

The easiest way to get to old Sachsenhausen is to walk cross the Alte Brücke (notes on other routes are at the bottom of this page). Once on the south side of the river, look in the direction of 10 o'clock and you'll see a side street (Große Rittergasse) running behind the youth hostel. Follow the side street and you'll suddenly find yourself standing next to the Kuhhirtenturm,  the cowherds tower. Today it serves as a museum dedicated to the composer Hindemith, who converted the tower into accommodation and whose family lived here from 1923 until 1943. Only open on Sundays, it a great little museum offering information in English and German. The link above offers more details. 

Kuhhirtenturm, now a museum to the composer Hindemith, open on Sundays.

Kuhhirtenturm, now a museum to the composer Hindemith, open on Sundays.

Wander along Große Rittergasse. Many of the bars and building you see are old timber frame houses but the facades were covered over in a post war attempt to modernise the rickety old buildings. At the junction of Frankensteiner Straße stands one of many traditional water fountains you can find around old Sachsenhausen. These pink sandstone pillars, decorated on top with statues of people, animals and, in one case, even an artichoke were meticulously restored by Georg Krämer in the 1950/60s. Every year since 1490 the local folk of Sachsenhausen host a fest (during the 3rd weekend in August) to celebrate the fountains and their vital source of water.

If you are in the mood for a coffee stop by the Libertine cafe which offers home-made cakes in the afternoon. It also offers breakfast and in the evening the cafe becomes a trendy bar!

Next, wander up the cobbled lane of Kleine Rittergasse. If you're here in the evening stop by the street lamps and take a close look. Many of these old lamps are still lit by gas, if you're not sure whether it's a genuine old lamp or not, have a listen and you'll hear the gentle hiss of gas. Near the top of Kleine Rittergasse, turn left into what looks like a dead end. Ahead of you is the back entrance to "Lorsbacher Thal" one of the traditional apple wine taverns, with a good reputation too. An idea place to stop and enjoy traditional fare such as Handkäse, grüne Söße and of course, apple wine.

Never heard of apple wine? More information is available on my apple wine blog post, but back the business of old Sachsenhausen...

From the back entrance of the Lorsbach Thal, you can turn the corner and head left onto Klappergasse. More old houses and gas lamps, but this lane is particularly famous for it's statue dedicated to Frau Rauscher, who spits water at unsuspecting passers-by. She was a local character, known for drinking a little too much apple wine and even has a poem dedicated to her antics, this English version isn't a direct translation but works well as a rhyme: Mrs Rauscher’s been found with a bump on her head. Whether from apple wine or her old man, at least she ain’t dead.

Next to the statue stands the Frau Rauscher Apfelweinlokal, which is another good place to stop and have a traditional meal if you're hungry. A little further down the street is an unassuming door at number 3, but it's a great little jazz club, Summa Summarum.  Once you walk through the door you descend the stairs into a deep cellar dating back to at least the 17th century. The club isn't always open so check the link to see if any acts are playing during your visit.

Summa Summarum, a great little live band venue and jazz club deep in the cellar of this old 17th century building

Summa Summarum, a great little live band venue and jazz club deep in the cellar of this old 17th century building

Wander back on yourself up Klappergasse and keep your eyes open for brass apples in the cobble stones which are a nod to the apple wine heritage of the area. At the end of the street join Kleine Rittergasse and walk towards Paradiesgasse. Turn left and in 30 metres turn left again for more apple wine taverns including,  Dauth Schneider, with it's tree growing through the roof, and Klaane Sachsenhäuser with it's lovely courtyard. Alternatively, turn right and cross over the road into Wallstraße for the opportunity to explore more of Sachsenhausen as detailed in my other blog post, Konstablerwache to Sachsenhausen.

Brass apple depicting the trail through old sachsenhausen

Brass apple depicting the trail through old sachsenhausen

Map and directions

Old Sachsenhausen - Google My Maps.png

Alt Sachsenhausen

A larger map detailing highlights of this blog is linked here. To get to old Sachsenhausen using public transport, take tram number 14 or 18 and alight at Frankensteiner Platz, or take the S-bahn or U-bahn to Südbahnhof and exit via Diesterwegplatz.

If you are in the area, don't forget the flea market, held every fortnight on a Saturday along the Museumsufer. Click on this link and scroll down to Weekly markets entry for up to date information.

The Museumsufer, which runs along the south bank of the river Main, offers plenty of museums to visit. This museums link will tell you more.

Frankfurt: from Konstablerwache to Sachsenhausen

January, February and March are cold months in Frankfurt. Even so it's still possible to explore and, by browsing a shop or two or enjoying a new cafe, you get the chance to intermittently warm up. The walk I'm suggesting for such a Winter's day takes you into what appears to be an unassuming part of town, filled with 1950's post war architecture but delivering some lovely cafes, galleries and views which you might otherwise never notice. The walk is simply a straight line from north to south and over the river.
Starting at Konstablerwache, if it's Thursday or Saturday you have the chance to peruse the farmers market, eat a bratwurst and have a glass of Glühwein from one of the wine stalls. From Konstablerwache head south, down Fahrgasse.

Fahrgasse, starting at Konstablerwache in the heart of Frankfurt

Fahrgasse, starting at Konstablerwache in the heart of Frankfurt

Within 100 metres, you'll notice a large wall on the left hand side of the street. It's a fragment of the old medieval wall from the 12th century, the Staufenmauer. It also served as the northern entrance to the Jewish Ghetto, the Judengasse, decreed in 1462 and the first Jewish ghetto in Europe. Destroyed in the late 1800's, nothing remains of the ghetto today.

An der Staufenmauer, at the junction of Fahrgasse and Töngesgasse

An der Staufenmauer, at the junction of Fahrgasse and Töngesgasse

Carry on heading south and the first half of Fahrgasse has a variety of Asian stores and if it's lunch time you might want to stop by one of the authentic restaurants, e.g. Mikuni, and have a bite to eat. If you prefer a coffee then carry on down Fahrgasse, crossing over Berliner Strasse and towards the river. This half of Fahrgasse has antique shops and galleries on both sides of the street that are worth a browse.

Part way down the street, on the right hand side, is a small street called Weckmarkt. At the very entrance of this street is a modern jewellery store called "feinform" which offers some interesting contemporary pieces and is worth a peek. Back onto Fahrgasse and a little further south is a whiskey shop, Whiskey for Life  which is every whiskey drinkers dream. If you're lucky you might catch a tasting. Opposite on the other side of the street is the Holy Cross Brewing Society, reputedly one of the best coffee stops in town. In fact, you're spoilt for choice for places to relax and eat in this area. Check out Cafe Sugar Mama , Naiv and Langosch.

If you're not quite ready for a stop then walk to the end of Fahrgasse and onto the Alte Brücke. As you step onto the bridge look to your left to see the fine statue of Karl der Grosse, aka Charlemagne. He was the King of the Frankish tribesmen and the first person to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor. He's also gave Frankfurt it's name which means, 'the ford of the Franks'. As you cross the bridge, take in the view of the ECB, European Central Bank on the left hand side and get your camera ready for the classic 'Skyline' view of Frankfurt to your right. Once over the river, keep to the left hand side of the bridge and at it's end, cross over the road (Sachsenhäuser Ufer) and head straight down the side street which is the beginning of Brückenstraße. Almost immediately you'll discover the entrance to the Ikonen Museum which has quite the collection of religious artefacts. Next door is the Deutschordenskirche. It's usually open by 12 noon, so step inside and take a look around. If it's January you're in for a special treat because the nativity scene is quite something to behold.

Ikonen Museum, Frankfurt.

Ikonen Museum, Frankfurt.

From the church, continue down Brückenstraße, over the junction. You're now in the heart of Sachsenhausen. Immediately to your left is the Brücke Cafe, serving coffee, home-made cakes, drinks and meals late into the evening. Further down the street are clothing boutiques and plenty of stores for window shopping. One highlight is the Portuguese gourmet shop at number 60 - Casa de Portugal  Here you can buy groceries, port, terracotta pots and freshly baked Portuguese specialities. It's a great little place. Down at this corner of Brückestraße is another great cafe, Schiller Cafe, serving breakfasts and meals all day. 

Wander back up Brückestraße, and turn right (east) along Wallstraße. Again, this street hosts an array of independent shops, restaurants and in particular two classic apple wine taverns, Fichtekranzi and Atschel (Atschel is usually open at lunch time) Next door to Fichte Kranzi is a traditional pottery shop, Töpferei Maurer, selling all things pottery related to Frankfurt's apple wine scene. On Saturdays there is also Markt im Hof, a small venture hosting a couple of food trucks, apple wine tastings and an indoor canteen with innovative choices of food. It's a real favourite with the locals!

By now you've probably seen a few places where you'd like to stop, eat and relax. If you're still in the mood for exploring then look out for my next blog post which will take you across the road and into the heart of Old Sachsenhausen!