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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 Mayor of Frankfurt.
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.
Playing host to large trade fairs since the 12th Century, the celebrated Römerberg square is located in the Old Town (Alstadt) of Frankfurt. It also witnessed grand celebrations marking the coronation of Roman Emperors. At the center, stands the majestic Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen or the Fountain of Justice, with the statue of goddess Justitia. South of Römerberg, is the Historisches Museum displaying artifacts and historical models of Frankfurt. Facing the museum is a small but beautiful 11th-century Gothic church - Alte Nikolaikirche. Several attractions lie in the surroundings of this charming square so stop for a visit while in the city.
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.
The Alte Nikolaikirche (Old Nikolai Church) can be found in the southern section of Frankfurt's Römerberg for centuries. Initially designed as a chapel for the neighboring 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.
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.
This post-modern building lies in the center of the old town, between the Dom and the Römer, and is renowned for its classy international art exhibitions which have been attracting visitors since 1986. The Schirn Kunsthalle does not have its own collection but holds temporary exhibitions by German and foreign artists. The top-floor gallery has been home to exhibitions such as European Masterpieces 1910-1960 and the Kandinsky Retrospective. The art gallery has seen impressionist, dadaist, surrealist and other works of art on its walls. The name Schirn comes from the alfresco market stalls which used to stand here in the Middle Ages. Admission can vary according to exhibition. Check website for more details.
Primus Linie is a fleet of boats owned and operated by the Frankfurter Personenschiffahrt Anton Nauheimer GmbH. A variety of wonderful cruise options are available according to your budget and your needs. Enjoy the breeze, and take in the beautiful architecture of Frankfurt city as you sail down the river. Cruises run on the Maine, Rhine and Neckar rivers. Interested in a romantic dinner on a boat, you can opt for the Riversight Dinner Cruise; want a fun day out with the family, opt for the Magical Family Breakfast Cruise. For a fun party with a DJ, drinks and lively atmosphere, you can even choose the Afterwork-Shipping option. Most popular with tourists is the 100 minute Sightseeing River Cruise, where you can discover Frankfurt City from a whole new angle and see all the major Landmarks and take fabulous pictures of the panorama.