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The Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen ('Well of Justice') was built in 1541, probably on the site of an even older well, in the middle of the Römerberg - Frankfurt's central square. The water had a 2 kilometer (1.24 mile) route to reach the wells. In 1610, the wells were provided with stone interiors and presided over by the impressive Statue of Justice. When Kaiser Matthias was crowned in 1612, wine - instead of water - flowed freely from the mouths of the stone lions. In 1887, the wells were renovated and the stone figures copied. The original sandstone statues were moved to the Museum of Local History.
The Alte Nikolaikirche (Old Nikolai Church) has formed the south section of Frankfurt's Römerberg since 1260. Initially designed as a chapel for the neighbouring Stauferpfalz Palace, the church was later used for mass and prayer by the town council. In the 15th Century, the building underwent changes and the watchtower was made higher to enable watchmen to signal to ships on the river from the top of the tower. Members of the council could also watch the festivities on the Römerberg from the extended rooftop. A hundred years later, this place of worship was turned into a warehouse and silo. Today, the facade of the late Gothic, doubled-naved church is painted in its original colors of white and red.
After Frankfurt's old town was destroyed during the Second World War, heated discussions took place as to how the area between the Dom and Römer should be rebuilt. Towards the end of the 1970s the town council began to reconstruct the half-timbered houses on the east side of the Römerberg. In 1981 work began on the so-called Ostzeile or "eastern wing," which resulted in the erection of buildings which bear names like Grosser Engel (The Giant Angel) and Goldener Greif (Golden Griffin). These buildings caused much controversy among locals but the Römerberg does look a lot better for them.
Saalgasse or Saal Lane is a fascinating amalgamation of history, culture and architecture. Situated in the heart of Frankfurt's Old Town, this lane is a testament to resilience and creativity. During World War II, this area was completely destroyed by bombs, over the following decades the area was rebuilt in the post-modern style, with no two houses alike. Walking down the narrow lane, you can observe the fascinating colors, and shapes of these bright narrow houses evoking a science fiction version of Mediterranean themes; a true landmark. Within walking distance are the Schirn Kunsthalle and the Schwarzer Stern Restaurant.
The beautiful, decadent Kaisersaal in the Römer City Hall stands as the building's largest draw. It's the home to a great many 19th-century paintings and as the name suggests houses the paintings of the German kings of the Holy Roman Empire. Back in the day, the room hosted coronation banquets. Today, the room is often used for hosting important events and festivities. Its stunning blend of Gothic and Medieval Romantic architecture lend it an aura of mystery and elegance.
Frankfurt Town Hall, as it stands today, is made up of a melee of different buildings. The first buildings to be constructed here were the Zum Römer House and the next-door guest-house, Goldener Schwan in 1405. At the beginning of the 20th Century, two building complexes (north and south) were erected next to Paulsplatz and were joined by a bridge. Designed in a Renaissance and Baroque architectural style, these buildings fit in well with the earlier buildings. They are decorated with reliefs depicting local events, such as the harvesting of cider apples. One particular draw is the exquisitely decorated Kaisersaal (Emperor's Hall) in the Rathaus (city hall). The Rathaus is the seat of the Lord Mayor of Frankfurt.
Located on the bank of the River Main, the Saalhof originally served as a residence for feudal rulers. Sold to the patrician Jakob Knoblauch in 1333, the palace was turned into a trading post and warehouse. Over the following centuries, the building was further added to, so that not much has been left of the original construction. The hexagonal chapel also underwent alterations. In the early 18th Century, the tower to the east of the main building was pulled down to make way for the Bernusbau, a magnificent example of Baroque architecture.
Rententurm, a tower on Frankfurt's most important shipping trade square, which was built between 1455 and 1456, has earned the recognition of officials and the harbor. It belonged to the late Gothic town defense system. The square, four-story building came equipped with a pointed roof and an oriole tower. In the 19th Century, the tower lost around 4 meters (13.12 feet) in height due to the expansion of the river Main. On the Main side of the river you can see the remains of a two-headed imperial eagle, and further down still, water depth marks. The Expressionist poet and dramatist Fritz von Unruh lived here before the First World War.