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It's easy to miss the Heinrich Hoffmann Fountain next to the exit of Hauptwache U-Bahn (underground) station. The fountain is decorated with bronze figures made famous by the Frankfurt writer who achieved worldwide recognition with his children's classic, Struwwelpeter. Hoffmann himself stands in the center of the fountain, surrounded by characters from his tales such as 'Hans-Head-in-the-Air', 'Little Paulina', 'Friedrich' and many other childhood figures.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was baptized at this simple church in downtown Frankfurt. The baroque church was constructed in 1678-1681 on the remains of what used to be a monastery. It was completely destroyed and rebuilt shortly after World War II, although the splendid interior decor could not be restored. The outside of the building is now all that is left of this great church. Today, the church works to support the homeless, who come here for shelter and a warm meal.
The Fürstenpalais, the former residence of the royal family, used to lie just a few yards away from the Hauptwache, the main police station. Yet only the entrance to the residence can be seen today; the rest of the magnificent palace was destroyed in World War II. The 1741 baroque palace the most extravagant in the region, it originally served as the residence of the royal family, but the family left town in 1748 and the palace was turned into a home for royal guests. Between 1816 and 1848, the German parliament met here. Afterwards, the palace became the headquarters of the German Post Office. Completely destroyed during the War, apart from the front entrance, the Post Office Tower was built on the site of the original palace in 1955. Visitors to the area can still walk by the front entrance to the palace and marvel at its splendor while imagining how beautiful the whole palace must have looked.
The Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSE) is the world's third largest market for stocks, shares and foreign currencies. With a turnover of 75% of all shares traded, it is also the largest stock exchange in Germany. As long ago as the 16th Century, several traders made a pact to establish exchange rates for the various currencies coming into the city during trade fairs. This was the forerunner of the FSE. The stock exchange building, a tribute to the High Renaissance style, stems from 1879 when it replaced the old building next to Paulskirche. Visitors can watch the traders in action from a balcony above the trading floor: a fascinating spectacle. A large screen shows the movements of the DAX (the German share index), while individual share prices can be seen on monitors.
In the 14th Century, a rich Frankfurt patrician erected a chapel next to the city walls. The chapel was later extended into a Gothic hall with a bell tower called Liebfrauenkirche. During the 18th Century, the inside of the church received ornate rococo fittings, and during the 19th Century, the Three Kings portal was given a vestibule. After severe damage in the War, the whole place was rebuilt in 1954. A wooden roof has now replaced the Gothic original, and from the original interior, only the figures on the altar remain.
Magnificent skyscrapers and steel-and-glass buildings tower over the city, standing guard to one of Europe's largest financial centers. Nicknamed 'Mainhattan' for its businesslike personality and commercial spirit, Frankfurt Am Main appears different from the rest of the German cities. One of the world's largest stock exchanges calls this city home, as do a warren of national banks and financial institutions. Besides its modern architecture, it also features traditional architectural examples across the city. There is a host of 20th-century architecture that dots its streets, including timeless landmarks like the Goethe Haus, the post-war Bayer Haus and the Frauenfriedenskirche. Römerberg, Frankfurt's nostalgic plaza in Old Town, houses a beautiful set of half-timbered houses and 19th-century churches that contrast the city's modernity. Other landmarks like the famous Alte Oper remind about the city's cultural interests.
The house where Goethe was born on August 28, 1749, is a fine example of how the affluent lived in the late Baroque era. In 1733, Goethe's family acquired two neighboring half-timbered houses in Großen Hirschgraben. The family sold the property in 1795, by which time Goethe himself had already moved to Weimar. It is also worth taking a trip to the adjoining Goethe Museum, which was renovated and contains both a library and a bookshop. The house itself is a reconstruction of the original which was destroyed during World War II.
The spectacular facade of St.Paul's Church is a landmark and also a unique anomaly in Frankfurt. Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church) became famous not as a church, but as a meeting place. Built to replace the Barfüßerkirche, it was opened in 1833. The first freely-elected German parliament sat here in 1848. It met 99 times and passed 59 articles which are still part of the German constitution today. Destroyed in an air-raid in 1944, the church was rebuilt immediately after World War II as a memorial to the aftermath of war. The hall is now a venue for important events such as the annual German Peace Prize ceremony and the City of Frankfurt's Goethe Prize awards.