Downtown Churches of Frankfurt, Frankfurt (Self Guided)

Frankfurt is home to a wide range of religious sites and places of worship. Religious or not, everyone is likely to be impressed by the huge cathedrals, small chapels and humble cloisters this city offers. We invite you to take this walking tour of Frankfurt's downtown and visit some of the most formidable churches in town.
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Downtown Churches of Frankfurt Map

Guide Name: Downtown Churches of Frankfurt
Guide Location: Germany » Frankfurt (See other walking tours in Frankfurt)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Author: helenp
1
Saint Catherine's (Katharinenkirche)

1) Saint Catherine's (Katharinenkirche)

The Katherinenkirche, located near the busy Hauptwache Plaza in Frankfurt is the city’s largest Lutheran Church. The present structure was constructed between 1678 and 1681.

The Katherinekirche was built at the site of a vestal cloister and hospital run by the Teutonic Knights. Later a small parish church existed at the location and gained importance in history because in 1522, it became the setting of the first protestant sermon in Frankfurt. The church was consecrated in 1681 and dedicated to the martyred Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The building is a single vessel hall church with a tower at the side and ornamental gateways. The church was also destroyed like other well known buildings during the bombings of 1944. The parishioners and citizens of Frankfurt rebuilt the structure to resemble the original exterior although with a simple interior in 1954.

Among the well known parishioners who worshiped at Ketherinenkirche was the Goethe family and Wolfgang von Goethe was confirmed here. He is known to have spent hours at the library reading Greek literature and at the age of 22 was witness to the beheading of child murderer Susanna Margaretha Brand. Goethe described the incident in his famous work, ‘Faust’.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Church of Our Dear Lady (Liebfraukirche)

2) Church of Our Dear Lady (Liebfraukirche)

Between the Zeil shopping street and the busy Romerberg square in Frankfurt lies this gothic style church that dates back to the early middle ages. The building is a functioning catholic parish church and Capuchin monastery. It is open to the public and the Capuchin fathers provide food for the needy and homeless near the main building.

The Liebfraukirche was donated by a Frankfurt aristocrat, Wigel of Wanebach whose epitaph still remains in the church in 1322. His son Wigel Frog and his widow Catherine of Wanebach added a chapel and expanded the building. The small church building was further enlarged in 1344 and a three aisle gothic hall was constructed. In 1415 the façade of the church was adorned with what is considered its greatest treasure, a Tympanum depicting the Adoration of the Magi from the workshop of artist Madern Gertheners. In 1923, the Capuchin order made the church their home. The building was completely destroyed in World War II and remained in ruins till its recent reconstruction in 1956.

Visitors to the cathedral can spend a few moments of peace and contemplation in the simple yet spiritual ambience of Liebfraukirche located in the busiest part of the city of Frankfurt.
3
Carmelite Monastery (Karmeliterkloster)

3) Carmelite Monastery (Karmeliterkloster)

The ancient Carmelite Monastery, Karmeliterkloster is located on the Karmelitengrasse in Frankfurt. The old structure houses the Archeological Museum, the Institute for Municipal History with the city’s municipal archives and a theatre in the cellar called Die Schmiere or The Grease where satirical plays are staged.

The Carmelite monastery in Frankfurt has a gothic architectural style and was built between 1460 and 1520. It is a single vessel church to which the Carmelites added a chapel and a 2 aisle refectory hall. The hall is covered with Northern Europe’s largest frescoes including a painting of the history of the Carmelite order and a 16th century depiction of Christ’s birth and death by artist Jorg Ratgeb. The artist was later cruelly executed for taking part in the German peasant’s revolution of 1525. After the secularization of the city in 1803, the building became the possession of the city. Over the years the structure served as a warehouse, garrison, fire department and a theatre. It was almost completely destroyed during World War II and the frescoes were badly damaged. The building was finally refurbished between 1987 and 1989.

Visitors to the archeological museum can find many objects from the Stone Age and the Roman civilization and objects and jewelry from Frankish and Alemanic graves.
4
Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church)

4) Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church) (must see)

The elliptical-shaped St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is located near the Zeil shopping area of Frankfurt. The building is significant not only for its architecture but the role it played in shaping German democracy in 1848.

Paulskirsche was built as a protestant Evangelical Lutheran church in an oval neoclassical style with red sandstone exterior walls between 1789 and 1833. Meetings were held in the church because of its rounded shape. In 1848, elected representatives from Germany and Austria met in the hall to draft a Charter of Basic Rights and a Constitution to unify Germany on the basis of popular self-determination. The attempt subsequently failed and the structure was used for church services again. Paulskirsche suffered extensive damage during WWII bombings. After the war, its exteriors were painstakingly restored and the interiors were simplified and modernized. The building is now used for exhibitions and meetings. The hall on the first floor is used for municipal and city functions. The Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the Goethe prize by the city of Frankfurt are awarded at this historic setting.

The striking feature of the building is a modern mural that encircles the interior wall showing the procession of the people’s representatives into Paulskrische that stands today as the symbol of German democracy.

Why You Should Visit:
Free entry, with a wealth of information in English covering the German democratic process.

Tip:
Pop in for the excellent art exhibition in the basement (pieces are for sale but are on the expensive side).
Upstairs you can visit the room in which JFK gave his brief speech in 1963.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
St. Nicolai Church (Nikolaikirche)

5) St. Nicolai Church (Nikolaikirche)

The St. Nikolai Church was the chapel used by the imperial court from 1290 to the 14th century. The building is located near the Romerberg Square in Frankfurt.

The St. Nikolai church was dedicated to St. Nikolai of Bari the patron saint of boatmen. The style of architecture is early Gothic. In the 15th century a tower with a leveled roof and balcony were added to the existing structure. The church has a double aisle hall with a high Gothic choir. A watchman sat in the steeple of the church and sounded a bugle when boats or ships went up and down the Main River. The bugle was also sounded when fires were sighted like the modern day fire alarm. The church has three bells and a carillon with 47 bells. The balcony at the top served as a viewing gallery for aristocrats when passion plays and other events took place in the Plaza below.

The acoustics in the church is well known among German and international visitors. Organ concerts, hand bells, trumpets, choirs and brass bands are hosted through the year at the building. Visitors can also climb the spiral stairway to the gallery for a spectacular view of the Romerberg Plaza.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Imperial Cathedral of St. Bartholomäus

6) Imperial Cathedral of St. Bartholomäus (must see)

This 13th-century church is the site of the coronation of German kings and Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire for centuries. This event has earned the building the name Kaiserdom. The cathedral is the largest church in Frankfurt and lies on the banks on the River Main.

The present cathedral is the fifth church on the same site. The early church was constructed over a 7th-century Merovingian chapel in 1250. The church was subsequently adorned with architectural ornamentation and became the splendid architectural wonder it is today. Emperor Charles IV decreed by his Golden Bull that all German Kings would be crowned in the Kaiserdom from 1356 and from 1562 all emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were also crowned at the cathedral.

The church has many splendid works of art including a unique high altar and the Maria Schlaf altar located in St. Mary’s chapel. A Gothic tower was added in the 15th century. It has an Anthony Van Dyke Painting, ‘The Lamentation’, and a museum with many historic pieces including objects discovered in a grave of a Merovingian girl.

Why You Should Visit:
Admission is free and you can sometimes enjoy classical works on an impressive organ or take in panoramic views of Frankfurt by climbing to the top of the Cathedral's tower (for a small fee).

Tip:
Try and go on a weekday to avoid weekend crowd, and take a bottle of water on your climb up the tower.

Opening Hours:
[Church] Mon-Thu, Sat: 9am-12pm / 1:15-8pm, Fri: 1:15-8pm; Sun: 1-8pm
[Tower] Daily: 9am-6pm (Apr-Oct), 10am-5pm (Nov-Mar)
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Dominican Monastery (Dominikanerkloster)

7) Dominican Monastery (Dominikanerkloster)

The Dominican Monastery in Frankfurt was the earliest church and Christian monastery in the city. Today, it serves as an exhibition hall and meeting place and is the seat of the Protestant Evangelical Association consisting of Evangelical Churches and Deaneries in the region. The Synod of the Evangelical Church in Hessen and Nassau is convened here, twice every year.

The monastery established in 1233 had humble beginnings. The first Dominican brothers built a small house with four rooms and set about their task of providing religious instruction to the local people. This small house served as the entrance to the monastery. In the 14th century the monastery consisted of many scholars and received generous donations from citizens in appreciation of the good work performed by the monks and a richly decorated monastery and chapel were constructed. The building was taken over by the Lutherans after the reformation. The city obtained the monastery during the secularization period and put it to several non religious uses.

The design of the monastery was Gothic and the structure was made of rubble stone. It was almost completely destroyed after the Second World War. After the war, architect Gustav Scheinpflug designed a new structure based on the layout of the old monastery. The new structure has a Gothic style with modern interiors. Of the old building, only the choir of the Holy Ghost Church remains. The courtyard of the monastery plays host to a folk theater performance every summer and concerts by the Church Music Association Frankfurt.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Frankfurt, Germany

Create Your Own Walk in Frankfurt

Create Your Own Walk in Frankfurt

Creating your own self-guided walk in Frankfurt is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Shopping Streets

Shopping Streets

Frankfurt is an amazing shopping destination, it will impress any and all of its guests with its countless exquisite shops, shopping centers and shopping streets, selling just about anything. Take a walk with us today down Frankfurt's most famed shopping streets.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Frankfurt's Parks

Frankfurt's Parks

Frankfurt is home to an amazing diversity of parks, like a park with an old residential baroque castle; a park with a Chinese garden; a park built on-top a previous airport; a park that once accommodated guests like Napoleon and Emperor Franz Joseph.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 km
Old Town Walk

Old Town Walk

Frankfurt’s downtown, which is also the city's “Old Town”, is an ideal area to discover on foot. Though it was partially destroyed during World War II, it was nearly fully reconstructed in the years since, saving many of the original buildings. After you visit Old Town Frankfurt, you will walk away with a new appreciation of old churches, museums, squares, and shops.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
East Innenstadt Sights

East Innenstadt Sights

The Innenstadt (Inner city) is the central city district of Frankfurt am Main and is home to Germany's most expensive shopping streets and real estate. It is home to The Zeil - Frankfurt's most famous street, beautiful churches and modern skyscrapers, trendy restaurants, night clubs, and much more. Take this tour to experience the history and glamor of today's Frankfurt.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
West Innenstadt Sights

West Innenstadt Sights

The Innenstadt (Inner city) is the central city district of Frankfurt am Main. Germany's most expensive shopping streets and real estate are found within Frankfurt's Innenstadt. It is home to The Zeil - Frankfurt's most famous street, beautiful churches and modern skyscrapers, trendy restaurants, night clubs, and much more. Take this tour to experience the history and glamor of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km
North - East Leisure Tour

North - East Leisure Tour

Frankfurt is a city young at heart, it has a very active and outgoing population. Take this tour of the city's North - East districts - Bornheim, Nordend Ost and Ostend - and visit Frankfurt's Zoological Garden and the Bethmannpark, as well as enjoy a cultural, shopping and leisure walk all in one.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Frankfurt for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Frankfurt has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Frankfurt, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.