One of the more interesting places in Frankfurt is an “old town” area called Romer or Romerberg. I may a short visit on my last visit here, in between my side trip to Mallorca, and my flight home last October. With more time, I am in search of some delicious sauerbraten. My last visit here did not result in sauerbraten that could be called superior to what we get back home. And believe me, I have had sauerbraten all over Germany and Austria. The sauerbraten at the old Chef Burger in Pleasant Hill is far superior, as of today.
But first, a bit about Romer. The iconic square is home to great medieval buildings and historic markets. I would call it a mix between the old and the new. Romer has been the city hall since the 15th century. And though it was damaged extensively during WW2, it has been restored (1986), and just feels like it is old and historic once again. Romerberg means Roman Mountain, though nobody is quite sure how it got its name. It was the site of the Nazi book burning in 1933.
The facades are three step gables, as seen in the photo below. When I was last here, a wedding reception was held in the square, with anyone and everyone willing to participate.
The famous Frankfurt Christmas Market is held here. Some of the fairs held here centuries ago, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair, are still being held today, although they moved a long time ago from the square to more modern facilities. It now represents a classic example of the traditional half-timbered architectural style of times gone by. Every single house bears its own name. In the 17th century, the corner house, named “Grosser Engel”, became the home of Frankfurt’s first bank.
Römerberg is the town hall square lying in front of (and subsequently named after) the Römer complex, seat of the Frankfurt city administration since the 15th century. As the site of numerous imperial coronations, trade fairs and Christmas markets, this square marks the historic heart of the medieval Altstadt (Old Town) and is a popular tourist destination. In the 20th century, Römerberg was the scene of many major events, both joyful and not so. On May 10, 1933, the infamous book burning organized by the Nazi German Student Union took place here. In between 1932 and 1939, the internationally renowned Römerberg Festival had been held here every summer, with nearly 350 open-air theater shows performed during the period.
St. Paul’s Church, locally known as Paulskirche,is a historical church dating back to 1789. It was consecrated as a protestant church and has served its fair share of purposes: as a home to Germany’s first National Assembly, a meeting place for people to see American President John F. Kennedy deliver a speech in 1963, and as a venue for awards ceremonies and other special events.
From Culture Trip: The Römerberg Square is the gift that just keeps on giving, as here, in the very heart of Frankfurt’s Old Town, you will also discover the Fountain of Justice too. Built in 1543, the statue of goddess Justitia holding the scales of justice without her usual blindfold is facing the square. Legends have been built around the fountain, and the most famous one says that when an emperor was crowned, the people of Frankfurt could enjoy themselves here. The fountain didn’t provide the people of this city just with water, but it also spilled wine, and the people of Frankfurt could smell the aroma of a feast in the workings too!
Can you believe there is a Mexican restaurant here?
Unable to find my favorite German dish, sauerbraten, I opted for some snacks and a big tall cold beer, followed by an Aperol spritz. My waiter, a rather hard working middle easterner hardly had time for a word. But when I asked him how many languages he spoke, he responded the eight!!!
The Germans, on this Thursday evening, were celebrating like it was the weekend. Why can’t we do some of that here, stroll, enjoy some people watching, have a few drinks and snacks? I think we are missing out on something vital to our long term health and sanity.