Podcast for Römer/St. Paul’s Church stop
On the left-hand side is the Römerberg. This has been Frankfurt’s most prestigious square for centuries, known by the locals as the Gudd Stubb. In the middle of the square is the Fountain of Justice, which was originally erected in 1543 to symbolise traders’ right to hold a market on the site and which has often been rebuilt. The bronze statue of Justitia with her sword and scales has adorned the fountain since 1887. Römerberg is also where the famous Christmas market takes place in front of the reconstructed half-timbered houses.
St. Paul’s Church
On the right is St. Paul’s Church. This is built in the shape of an elliptical rotunda in neoclassical style. The church was where the preliminary parliament (Vorparlament) and the Frankfurt National Assembly met in 1848–1849. The National Assembly was Germany’s first representative body that was freely elected by the people.
The interior of St. Paul’s Church was gutted by fire in 1944 and only reopened on 18 May 1948. St. Paul’s Church is a symbol of freedom and democracy and no longer used as a church. Nowadays it is used as a meeting place for special events and ceremonies, such as the German book trade’s peace awards ceremony held during the Frankfurt Book Fair.
The Römer, the old city hall that currently houses the municipal authority, is a group of 11 town houses on the western side of Römerberg. The centrepiece of the site and emblem of Frankfurt is the collection of three Gothic stepped-gable houses called Zum Römer, Alt-Limpurg and Löwenstein that were converted in 1405 to create the city hall.
Römer is understood figuratively to mean the city authorities. The first imperial staircase built in 1405 is now used as
the entrance staircase to the registry office’s wedding ceremony room.