Frankfurt am Main is one of the few places in Europe that can boast a defined skyscraper skyline. Its downtown packs more than 30 towers into a fairly small business district, making it one of the densest high-rise areas in the world. In fact, Frankfurt is visually closer to American and Asian cityscapes than its European counterparts, rooted in their medieval and renaissance heritage.
Germans call their city Mainhattan – a play on words between the names of the iconic NYC district and the river Main running through the country. Until WWII, Frankfurt resembled many other German towns, its twisted streets lined with colorful, picture-perfect houses. Sadly, much of the historic architecture has been destroyed under heavy bombardments. After the war, Germany – the original economic tiger – experienced a massive boom, with Frankfurt as its financial center. Corporations poured money into the new economic powerhouse, and soon the ever higher and sleeker towers started to compete for the most prominent place on the postcards.
It weren’t just the high-rises where Frankfurt was at the forefront of urban planning. The rapid city development and the influx of companies called for an efficient transport infrastructure. The city was one of the first in Europe to introduce an extensive metro and train network (S- and U- Bahn) that was later replicated across the continent. The city that has become the nexus for the famous Autobahn highways is now pioneering a brand-new type of roads designed to power electric and hybrid trucks with overhead wires.
It is not that common to think of Europe as a futuristic place, and much of its architecture is indeed inherited from the past. Yet take one of the impeccably punctual trains cruising Germany, and in a short time you’ll reach the City on Main that looks all dressed up for the 21st century.
Enjoyed our article about Frankfurt? Here are a few recommendations for you to learn more about the city:
- Fodor’s Essential Germany. The Fodor guide will help you navigate Frankfurt and other exicting places in Germany.
- Learn German With Stories. Would you like to brush up your German before visiting the country? Reading short stories is one of the best ways to brush up your vocabulary.