“From the old, make new!” The project of the century is finally complete.
The New Old Town has brought a piece of Frankfurt history back to life!
Life is slowly starting to flourish in Frankfurt’s newest – and oldest – quarter: The first tenants have moved in, the pottery shop is open for business, the wine bar’s uncorking fine vintages and the barber shop’s chairs are filled. A few places still need brushing up, but all in all, the New Old Town is finished. Recently opened to the public, the brand-new quarter is attracting and astounding locals and visitors from near and far. Next weekend, a vibrant festival will serve to celebrate the grand opening of this latest addition to Frankfurt’s urban scene.
The New Old Town is certainly not your typical city district. Situated between Emperors’ Cathedral and the time-honoured Römer City Hall, the quarter is in fact no larger than a football field. It consists of three winding laneways, a number of beautiful hidden courtyards and a picturesque plaza known as the Hühnermarkt, complete with an old fountain honouring Frankfurt’s famous dialect poet and one of Germany’s first democrats, Friedrich Stoltze. The New Old Town is without a doubt one of the most significant restoration projects of recent times. Consisting of 7,000 square metres of reconstructed urban space, it is idyllically set in the heart of Europe’s smallest metropolis. Few know that Frankfurt was once the home of Germany’s largest, most concentrated mediaeval timber-frame old town. Sadly, this magnificent historical site was almost entirely destroyed during the air raids of World War II. Over the past several years, however, 15 faithful reconstructions have been re-erected here based on their original blueprints. A further 20 brand-new architectonic creations have also been built – modern structures that nevertheless feature many elements typical of the architectural style of Frankfurt’s old town centre. Colourful façades representing diverse eras, historical building emblems, timber-frame constructions and ornaments made of local sandstone – all of them remind of Frankfurt’s former glory.
In May 2018, the site fences were finally taken down and tenants began to move into its shops and residential flats. The New Old Town was conceived to be a lively new urban quarter, not an historical showcase bereft of activity. It has been designed as a harmonious blend of residential, retail, restaurant and office space. Further openings scheduled for this year include a pharmacy, a butcher’s shop, a tavern as well as several cafés and fashion boutiques. Two museums will also set up in the New Old Town, the Shock-Headed Peter Museum and the Stoltze Museum. With its diversified offer range, the new quarter welcomes Frankfurt locals and out-of-town visitors in equal measure.
Frankfurt will be celebrating the grand opening of its New Old Town with a special celebration taking place from 28th to 30th September 2018. The festival will commence with a gala event held at St Paul’s Church. The programme of events will be spread out over two open-air stages and various other locations situated in and around the quarter. Museums and other cultural institutions from the neighbourhood will be participating with special exhibitions, guided tours and concerts. The German Architecture Museum will be highlighting the quarter’s development with a special show entitled “Forever New: Frankfurt’s Old Town – Building between Dom and Römer since 1900” (22nd September 2018 – 03rd March 2019). With the exhibition, the museum will also be focussing on the debate surrounding this and other reconstruction projects.
Meanwhile, the Römerberg stage will be showcasing some of the heavyweights of Frankfurt’s cultural landscape, including Oper Frankfurt, the hr-Bigband with their special guest star, Laith Al-Deen, the Roma and Sinti Philharmonic Orchestra and the 120-strong Caecilia Choir. On Friday and Saturday evening, the festival’s entertainment programme will conclude with a spectacular light show above the River Main. Constellations – A Symphony for the New Frankfurt Old Town is the title of this magical, drone-based choreography. LED quadrocopters will play the starring role in this unique light show, which will be harmoniously accompanied by a specially composed soundtrack and spoken text paying homage to Frankfurt. The iconographic performance invites audiences to experience Frankfurt life in poetic constellations: Frankfurt, a place of great diversity and a kaleidoscope of contrasts.
There is no better way to describe the New Old Town project. Here, traditional craftsmanship and historical architecture have come together in harmonious juxtaposition, supplemented by modern accoutrements and a high degree of comfort. A number of decorative building elements, recovered after the devastating night-time air raid of 1944, have been returned to their original locations, bringing together the colourful past and present of Frankfurt once more. The New Old Town is not only an unparalleled architectonic gem, it is also an impressive example of Frankfurt’s continuing urban development.
The Frankfurt Tourist+Congress Board (TCF) is offering daily public guided tours of the New Old Town. Join us for a journey back in time and stroll through the historical laneways of this fabulous new quarter. Tickets are available online and at the Tourist Information Office Römer. You may also book an individual guided tour for your group in a number of different languages.