Frankfurt City History

794 First official reference of “Franconovurt” (City of Franks) as venue for a significant ecclesiastical council of Franconian nobility under the direction of Emperor Charlemagne.
822 Emperor Ludwig the Pious orders the construction and renovation of Frankfurt´s palatial residences.
1074 First official mention of a royal tariff in Frankfurt.
1150 First official mention of the Frankfurt fair (Autumn fair).
1152 Frederick Barbarossa elected king of Germany in Frankfurt.
1157 A royal certificate historically substantiates the existence of the Frankfurt fair.
1222 First official mention of the Main Bridge.
1240 Frederick II guarantees visitors of the Frankfurt fair safe passage to and from Frankfurt. This marks the beginning of Frankfurt´s tradition as an international trade fair centre. One year later, official tax documentation specifies Frankfurt as the German Empire´s most profitable city.
1247 Heinrich I is named first landgrave of Hesse.
1254 Frankfurt joins the Rhenish City Alliance.
1356 Frankfurt is selected as electoral site for German kings by way of the "Golden Bull", i.e., the imperial constitution.
1372 Frankfurt is named a "Free Imperial City" and is thus member of the Reichstag, i.e., a self-governing city-state dutybound only to the empero.
1405 The city council purchases two houses, “Zum Römer“ and “Zum Goldenen Schwan“ and converts them into a town hall.
1417 Frankfurt, as an imperial city, is requested by King Sigismund to partake in the Council of Constance.
1460 A Jewish district is formed into which all Jews must move.
1478 Book merchants make their first appearance at the Frankfurt fair. In the decades to come, Frankfurt´s reputation and standing as Germany´s premier centre of trade continues to grow. Thousands flock to the annual fairs to sell and buy expensive consumer goods such as books, weaponry, fabrics, herbs and spices; the first cashless payments are transacted.
1495 The Imperial Court of Justice is established.
1509 The gradual reception of Roman law is legalised via a systematic codification of Frankfurt law ("Frankfurt Reformation").
1533 Reformation is officially “introduced” to Frankfurt; public practice of Catholicism is prohibited for the next 15 years.
1585 With the establishment of the bourse, Frankfurt has its very first municipally controlled money exchange. At the end of the Middle Ages, Frankfurt is one of Germany´s richest and mightiest places of trade. The reformist, Martin Luther, calls Frankfurt “… a hoard of silver and gold!"
1612/1614 A constitutional conflict arises between the council and citizenry, causing social unrest, some of which is aimed at the city´s Jewish population. Intervention by the emperor puts an end to the conflict. Swedes occupy Frankfurt during the Thirty Years´ War.
1631-1635 A Swedish garrison is stationed in Sachsenhausen. The plague breaks out in the city.
1666-1686 The head of the Lutheran Preachers´ Council, Philipp Jakob Spener, speaks in Frankfurt; the beginnings of pietism are associated with his person.
1685 The revocation of the Edict of Nantes opens Frankfurt´s gates to a stream of religious refugees from France, the Huguenots.
1711 The great “Jewish Fire” destroys the Jewish quarter; a second fire erupts in 1721.
1742-1745 Under Charles VII, Frankfurt is, albeit briefly, official residence of the Holy Roman Emperor.
1749 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is born in Frankfurt on the 28th of August.
1763 The physician, Johann Christian Senckenberg, establishes the Senckenberg Foundation, which means to support the promotion of the natural sciences.
1792 The last imperial coronation takes place in Frankfurt (Franz II).
1800 Frankfurt numbers some 35,000 residents.
1804 The town council decides to demolish the city fortifications. The grounds are turned into extensive parklands.
1806 When the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation came to an end in 1806, it was replaced by the Deutscher Bund (1816-1866) located in Frankfurt.
1810 Frankfurt is named a grand duchy (until 1813).
1815 After the formation of the German Federation at the Congress of Vienna, Frankfurt is declared free city and seat of the Bundestag.
1833 A group of students, farmers and Polish officers attempts to overthrow the Bundestag with the aim of establishing a republic. Poor organisation and a lack of public support cause the revolt to crumble after a very short time.
1839 The opening of the Taunusbahn railway connecting Frankfurt, Höchst and Wiesbaden marks the start of Frankfurt´s significance as a future railway junction.
1848 The First German National Assembly convenes in St. Paul´s Church in Frankfurt. The first German constitution is adopted in March of 1849, although it never actually goes into effect. Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia refuses the imperial crown, bringing an end to the reformation attempts of the assembly.
1866 The annexation of Frankfurt by Prussia brings an end to Frankfurt´s status as free city.
1871 The Peace of Frankfurt brings an end to the Franco-Prussian War.
1875 Frankfurt now numbers over 100,000 residents.
1880 Alte Oper, Frankfurt´s grand old opera house, is inaugurated.
1888 Frankfurt´s main train station is inaugurated.
1891-1912 Frankfurt emerges as a modern trade and industrial centre during the reign of Lord Mayor Franz Adicke.
1905 Frankfurt´s population exceeds 400,000.
1914 Johann Wolfgang Goethe University is established on the 10th of June.
1914-1918 The unemployment rate increases dramatically during the First World War; Frankfurt´s population suffers as a result of supply bottlenecks.
1925-1930 Summoned to Frankfurt by Lord Mayor Ludwig Landmann, the renowned architect, Ernst May, is named the city´s new urban planner and conceives many new settlements, creating the so-called “New Frankfurt”.
1926 The new Frankfurt Airport is opened in Rebstock.
1927 The “Summer of Music” is first held in Frankfurt.
1928-1931 Hans Poelzig commissions and oversees the construction of the IG-Farben-Haus, to serve as the head office for IG Farben, a German industrial giant. After World War II, the building is used by the U.S. Army as an administrative centre. Then, in 2001, it becomes part of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University.
1933 After local elections in March, the National Socialists occupy city hall and begin to consolidate all institutional powers. Lord Mayor Landmann is forced out of office and flees to Berlin, then to the Netherlands. To learn more of Frankfurt´s history during the reign of the National Socialists, visit
1943/1944 The city centre and old town of Frankfurt are almost completely destroyed during Allied air strikes.
1945 American troops enter and occupy the city at the end of May; Frankfurt is declared a district-free city of Hesse.
1947 Frankfurt is chosen as headquarters for the unified economic area of the American, British and French occupation zones. The newly created Bank of German Federal States organises and carries out the currency reform a year later.
1948 Celebrations commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First German National Assembly are held in the rebuilt St. Paul´s Church on the 18th of May.
1949 In May, commercial air traffic resumes at Frankfurt Airport, and in 1958 the airport becomes Germany´s first airport to service jetliners. The extreme population growth is accommodated for by way of the development of numerous new residential settlements (e.g., Nordweststadt, 1963-1969).
1949 Frankfurt misses out on being named the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany by only a handful of votes. The traditional trade and business centre continues to develop into a major economic metropolis.
1955 Frankfurt´s population reaches 600,000.
1957 Deutsche Bundesbank, having emanated from the “Bank of German States“, commences business operations in Frankfurt am Main on the 25th of July. Thanks to the initiation of the stock exchange and the settlement of many national and international financial institutions, Frankfurt begins its development as one of Europe´s foremost finance centres. The first office high-rises are built (AEG -Hochhaus, Bienenkorbhaus, Fernmeldehochhaus, Zürichhaus). However, the present-day skyline of the Main metropolis does not emerge until the late 1980s.
1961 Construction on the subway system as means of mass transportation is authorised.
1963-1965 The “Auschwitz Trials“ take place in Frankfurt am Main.
1968 The realisation of a new public transportation concept commences with the opening of the first subway line.
1981 Alte Oper is reopened after extensive reconstruction.
1984 Development commences on the museum embankment, marking its initiation as the city´s art and cultural mile.
1988 The Messeturm, 256 metres tall, becomes a new Frankfurt landmark, symbolic of the city´s economic prowess.
1993 The European Monetary Institute (EMI) is established in Frankfurt.
1994 Frankfurt celebrates its 1200th year of existence. The city skyline continues to grow.
1997 Construction on the Commerzbank Tower, Europe´s tallest office high-rise at 299 metres (with antenna), is completed. Further skyscrapers (Maintower, Main Plaza, Gallileo) follow.
1998 Frankfurt is chosen as headquarters for the European Central Bank (ECB), which takes over from the European Monetary Institute.
2000 The Federal Audit Court is relocated to Bonn.
2001 The IG-Farben-building, a superb example of architectonic functionalism, built by the architect Hans Poelzig in 1930 became part of the University of Frankfurt.
2006 Frankfurt is host city for the soccer FIFA World Cup. With its spectacular large screen on the river Main Frankfurt also hosts the most beautiful public viewing area in Germany.
2009 Frankfurt hosts the International German Gymnastics Festival with 85,000 participants and 2.5 million spectators.
2011 Frankfurt hosts two games as well as the semi-finals and finals of the soccer FIFA Women’s World Cup.
2013 With its distinctive twin towers, the brandnew European Central Bank (ECB), integrating the monumentlisted old market hall, adds further distinction to the Frankfurt skyline.
2014-2016 Reconstruction of Frankfurt’s old town between the cathedral and city hall according to the original plans.

Frankfurt Roemerberg mit Skyline

Frankfurt Skyline

Alte Oper

Roemerberg Nikolaikirche Ostzeile

IG Farben Haus - Poelzig Bau - Goethe Universität Frankfurt

FIFA WM Commerzbank Arena Frankfurt

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof

Hauptwache Skyline Katharinenkirche


Congress Center Messe Frankfurt CMF Tagungsbild Hoersaal

Bulle+Baer - Boerse Frankfurt

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