BridgesCitiesGermany

Frankfurt in February


Dusk on the Main as a barge passes in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany
Dusk on the Main as a barge passes in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany. Frankfurt is a metropolis and the largest city of the German federal state of Hesse, and its 746,878 (2017) inhabitants make it the fifth-largest city in Germany.

In February 2014 I visited the city of Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt on the Main – helpfully distinguishing the city from Frankfurt an der Oder in the east of the country). I took the chance to explore the city and do some photography.

This Frankfurt is in the Hesse region of Germany and is the financial centre of the Eurozone, and rivalled in this regard only by London in Europe as a whole. The headquarters of the European and German Central Banks are located here as are the head offices of the main German commercial banks. Banks being what they are, this has led to the growth of huge skyscrapers in the central part of the city, so much so that the city has earned the nickname ‘Mainhattan’.

The Alte Oper and the Opernturm on the Opernplatz, Frankfurt am Main
The Alte Oper and the Opernturm on the Opernplatz, Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany.
A view of Frankfurt Cathedral (Frankfurter Dom), officially the Imperial Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew.
A view of Frankfurt Cathedral (Frankfurter Dom), officially the Imperial Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew.

Early morning view of central Frankfurt am Main, Germany, from across the river.
Early morning view of central Frankfurt am Main from across the river.

History and Culture, Old and New

The city also has a rich history, having at one time being the site of election and coronation of the Holy Roman Emperors. These rulers had the tricky job of attempting to manage the conglomeration of German-speaking nations, dukedoms and free imperial cities – of which Frankfurt was one – and other miscellaneous lands outside what is now Germany. Their coronations took place in the Frankfurter Dom (Cathedral) on the Römerberg. The combination of old (although much rebuilt after massive WW2 bombing) and new gives lots of attractive photographic possibilities in the city.

Apart from this, Frankfurt, like all German cities, is a wonderful cultural centre and my initial reason for heading there was the opportunity to hear the wonderful American soprano Angela Meade singing in a performance of Giacomo Puccini’s early opera Edgar at the Oper Frankfurt. While there I also attended a concert of Bach and Handel in the rebuilt Alte Oper – Frankfurt’s original opera house. Frankfurt was also the birthplace and youthful home of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany’s pre-eminent literary figure and author of Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther and Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship as well as works on science and biology.

Engineering and Architecture

The presence of the River Main running through the city means that there are several of one of my favourite photographic subjects – bridges! Being February, Frankfurt was pretty cold and dark at times, but the lights of the city and the barges passing down the river proved well worth exploring. The internal architecture of the newly built shopping centre on the Zeil, Frankfurt’s main shopping street, also proved to be an interesting – and thankfully warm -photographic venue.

Interior detail of the MyZeil mall in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany.
Interior detail of the MyZeil mall in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany.
Platz der Republic, Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany.
Platz der Republic, Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany.

You can view all of my photos from this trip in the Frankfurt Gallery

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