… Mainhattan! – A bunch of beautiful towers, but as far as I know nobody blows the towerkeeper’s horn like the signals of peace in Muenster…
I chose English as an international language in this particular case because Frankfurt-on-Main is an international city. And in addition, I know of some specific international people that will read this article 😉
The day after the Musikmesse Frankfurt (trade fair for the music industry) where my significant other had been among the exhibitors, I traveled there to meet and collect him, so I took the chance to visit this old imperial city on the River Main, with its huge buildings in the banking quarter it looks quite americano… hence people nickname the city „Mainhattan“.
Whenever I visit a place with towers or the like I feel the urge to climb up all the stairs and experience the world from the bird’s-eye view. Here in Frankfurt, the first opportunity to do so is the famous Maintower.
The Maintower houses the bank Helaba (Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen) and is the only business tower open to the public. The hr (Hessischer Rundfunk) with its television broadcast studio is on the 53rd level. Here’s a link to the pdf-brochure with all the facts about the Maintower (in English): click!
We entered the building, purchased our tickets and waited for the elevator with many other excited visitors… unfortunately it is not possible – not even for the towerkeeper of Muenster – to walk the 1.090 (!) steps to the top of the building (with 200 m the 4th highest skyscraper in Frankfurt). The elevator takes 45 seconds to the top and then… and then there is that VIEW!!!
Wow! That panorama is magnificent… over there: St. Paul’s Church (notable for being the seat of the 1848 Frankfurt Parliament), here’s a link to an English description on frankfurt.de – click! And just a few steps ahead: The Cathedral (Kaiserdom St. Bartholomäus) with its significant tower – and that would be our next choice and try to climb some stairs…
We crossed the Goethe trail to get to the Kaiserdom (Cathedral) – as you probably know, Goethe was born in Frankfurt, in „Poetry and Truth / Dichtung und Wahrheit“, he writes:
I was born in Frankfurt am Main on 28th August 1749, just as the clock struck noon.Johann WOlfgang von Goethe, Poetry and Truth
Funfact: Goethe also happens to stand on the western portal of St. Lambert’s Church – „my“ church – in Muenster:
We are now at the foot of the huge Cathedral of Frankfurt (Kaiserdom St. Bartholomäus) and ready to walk 328 stairs (!) – a spiral staircase just like in „my“ church. There is a a rope in addition to a handrail for people to stand safe on their way up whenever there’s some oncoming traffic (it’s getting more and more narrow as we reach the top).
With some other people going downstairs it was really hard work to climb all those 328 stairs even if I am really used to surviving narrow spiral staircases (I do it every night except on tuesdays – but without the two-way traffic!).
But then again: That VIEW! Really magical…
On some occasions there are guided tours on the Cathedral Tower, too, and if you are with a group of 10 to 25 people, a guide will take you to see the belfry and even the historic room of the last towerkeeper Johannes Rüb and his wife Elise, who actually lived on the tower (until 1942). These locations are usually not open to the public, only for guided tours.
And when I did some research on towerkeepers in former times in the city of Frankfurt/Main, I found records about even more towerkeepers – all working for the city’s safety as fire guard: They were installed on Eschenheimer Tower (part of the city walls, today a restaurant and bar, click for the history and some photos here – this homepage is in German!), on the tower of Katharinenkirche (Frankfurt’s main protestant church on the tourism site, click!), and even on the tower of Nikolaikirche (Old St. Nicolai’s Church –„…at one time in the church’s history [following the middle of the 15th century], a watchman resided in the church steeple. His job was to announce the arrival and departure of ships on the Main River…“ quoted from the homepage of the Paulsgemeinde, click!).
Every month I write about books I am going to read the next time – „Turmstubenbuecher„, books for the tower office – and in April 2019, I chose the following (the description and links are in German!Please scroll down if you want to skip these passages in light blue):
Museums-Depesche, Informationsschrift des Feuerwehrgeschichts- und Museumsvereins Frankfurt am Main e.V., Ausgabe 20, Dezember 2014 (hier geht’s zum Downloadlink der PDF-Broschüre – Klick!, einfach abspeichern und öffnen – es finden sich tolle Fotos und Beschreibungen über die Türmer der Stadt Frankfurt, über Johannes Rüb, den letzten Türmer mit Wohnung auf dem Kaiserdom, welcher ein Feuerwehrmann gewesen ist…)
Feuersbrünste – Sturmgeläut: Stadtbrände in Frankfurt am Main. Die Geschichte der städtischen Türmer und der Feuermeldetechnik. Ausstellung zum 1200-Jahre-Jubiläum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main und zum 120-Jahre-Jubiläum der Berufsfeuerwehr Frankfurt am Main in der Zeit vom 29. Juli bis 30. Oktober 1994 im Pfarrturm der St.-Bartholomäus-Kirche („Kaiserdom“). Frankfurt 1994
Frankfurt am Main: Goethes Panorama Travelogue -ein Rundgang mit Goethe durch das Frankfurt von heute. Stefan Köser, Carnetto 1998 (eine Goethe-Themen-Stadtführung und Besuch der diversen Goethe-POI machen wir beim nächsten Mal, und dies ist ein Baustein der Vorbereitung…)
On our walk through Taunusanlagen, we said hello to Ludwig van Beethoven (ooops, he is naked!) and his two genies:
And my old pal, Friedrich Schiller, resides here, too (he’s also depicted on St. Lambert’s Church, Muenster):
I am very impressed by the history and also by the modern buildings… the lesson is clear:
I’ll be back for MORE, Frankfurt-on-Main!
… And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand …
(An Irish Blessing)