Podcast for Ostendstrasse stop via Börneplatz to the cathedral
You’ll find the old Jewish cemetery on the left-hand side between the Allerheiligentor and Börneplatz stops that are just coming up. This is the second oldest Jewish burial ground in Germany and was used as such until 1828.
A total of 5,500 gravestones have been counted both above and below the ground. These date back as far as 1272. On the cemetery wall, there are 11,134 small plaques commemorating the Jewish citizens of Frankfurt who were murdered during the Holocaust.
At the end of the 1980s, the foundations of five houses in Judengasse and the Börneplatz synagogue were uncovered when building a new administrative centre for Frankfurt’s public utility company. Some of these walls and archaeological treasures were saved, and in 1992 the Judengasse museum opened in the basement of the administrative building. The Judengasse museum is a subsidiary of Frankfurt’s Jewish Museum. It’s located on the left at Kurt-Schumacher-Strasse 10. Here, as already explained, you’ll find archaeological relics from Frankfurt’s Judengasse shown as part of an exhibition on the history of the Jewish community since the 15th century, everyday life in the street and the history of Börneplatz since the 19th century.For more information, please go to the Judengasse museum website.Judengasse museum Frankfurt website
Börneplatz was historically the site of the Börneplatz synagogue. This was built from 1881–1882 on the site of the Fremdenhospital that was constructed at the southern end of the former Judengasse in 1780. The synagogue was opened on 10 September 1882. The Börneplatz synagogue was one of four major synagogues in Frankfurt used by the orthodox wing of the community as their religious centre. It was set on fire by the National Socialists during the November 1938 pogrom and was completely destroyed apart from the external walls. The remains of the synagogue were torn down immediately afterwards.
Reconstruction of the area around Börneplatz that was completely destroyed in World War II began in 1952, but the former Börnestrasse was not rebuilt. Instead, a wide street was created: Kurt-Schumacher-Strasse, which is where VGF’s administrative building is now located.
At the Börneplatz stop, you can look to the right towards Konstablerwache and Zeil. Zeil was built in 1330 and is the most famous shopping street in Frankfurt. Today this 1,100-metre-long and 40-metre-wide pedestrian zone is one of the busiest shopping areas in Germany. The name Zeil comes from the way in which the buildings are built very closely to one another in a way that looks like a row (Zeile in German) of books. We’ll be travelling parallel to this shopping street between Börneplatz and the Römer, where you can also catch a glimpse of Zeil to your right.
Museum für Moderne Kunst
You’ll now see the Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK, museum of modern art) on your right-hand side, or the ‘piece of cake’ as it’s called by the locals. This striking triangular building with its unconventional interior puts on temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. The way the building has been constructed means that you can view all the paintings in natural light when the weather is good. The building was designed by Viennese architect Hans Hollein and opened in 1991. The Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt features works by artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys and James Turrell.Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt website
St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral
Look to your left at the next junction and you’ll see the cathedral, built on Cathedral Hill. This was the centre of the first settlement in Frankfurt during the Bronze Age. Strictly speaking, this former collegiate and parish church is not a cathedral as Frankfurt has never had its own bishop. The church was, however, designated a cathedral back in the Middle Ages so that it could be used for coronations. This is where German kings were crowned from 1356 onwards and where German emperors were crowned between 1562 and 1792.