The skyline is probably Frankfurt's most famous and most eye-catching attraction, and it is celebrated every few years with the skyscraper festival. However, the area around Römerberg square in the city centre has a distinct historical charm. The German Architecture Museum (DAM) provides an overview of building design through the ages, while the Ernst May estate is an example of Modernist town planning.
What makes Frankfurt's skyline unique is the mixture of modern and historical towers. Nowadays the construction of high-rise buildings is normally only permitted to the west of the old town in order to preserve the historical ambience of the city centre for locals and visitors alike.
For anyone wishing to explore some of the individual buildings that make up the skyline there are various options to get to the top, or at least close to it. The visitor platform in the Main Tower provides spectacular views across the city and is always open to the public. By arrangement, and also on certain special occasions, visitors can take a guided architectural tour of Commerzbank's main building or explore the art collections at DZ Bank, Deutsche Bank, Helaba or in the Gallileo tower. In the evenings, the best places to enjoy the illuminated skyline are the Main Tower bar and the 22nd Lounge in the Eurotheum tower. A skyscraper festival is held at regular intervals, offering a chance to visit many of the skyscrapers and towers.
Looking from the east along the river Main, the scene is dominated by the Gothic cathedral and various church towers, with modern skyscrapers forming the background. In the city's old town visitors can enjoy the juxtaposition of the Gothic imperial cathedral and the mainly timber-framed buildings of Römerberg square, which includes the town hall and the Fountain of Justice. This historical setting used to provide a magnificent backdrop for the election of kings and the coronation of emperors. Today, visitors can climb up to the cathedral's viewing platform (66m) all year round. A head for heights and a certain degree of fitness are a distinct advantage, and the effort is rewarded with stunning panoramic views across the city that capture its contrast of historical and modern architecture.
The German Architecture Museum (DAM) provides an overview of the history of architecture, from primitive huts to contemporary buildings, supplemented by lectures and special exhibitions. The DAM enjoys a central location in the southern section of the museum embankment, near Untermainbrücke bridge.
Work on the Römerstadt estate began in 1925, under the auspices of Ernst May; the architect was Carl-Hermann Rudloff. It comprises a total of 1,220 residential units. This project set benchmarks for modern living, with new hygiene guidelines. The homes were fitted with innovative 'Frankfurt kitchens', which streamlined kitchen processes and can be regarded as the precursor of the fitted kitchen. They are still occupied by tenants.
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