Take a free tour of the interior of the Frankfurt Cathedral to walk in the footsteps of some of ancient Europe’s most powerful rulers. From 1562 to 1792, the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were elected and crowned in the cathedral. It lost this ceremonial role only when the empire dissolved in 1806.
The actual name of the Frankfurt Cathedral is St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral. The first church with this name and location was built in the year 852. Since then, it has been remodeled and rebuilt many times, although most of the elements of today’s cathedral were in place by the 15th century.
During World War II, Allied bombs destroyed most of Frankfurt’s Old Town. The cathedral remained standing, but its interior was burned in the blasts. It remained in ruins until the 1950s and was renovated in the 1970s. Look for the abstract shapes on the stained-glass windows for the clearest sign that the church was reconstructed so recently.
Until the Henninger Turm opened in the early 1960s, the spire of the Frankfurt Cathedral was the tallest building in the city. From April to October, climb up into the spire for a small fee to get a panoramic view of Old Town and the skyline to the northwest.
Visit the cathedral museum, which is to the left of the main entrance. Here, you’ll find colorful robes and jewel-encrusted crowns used in the coronation ceremonies of Holy Roman emperors. Read about the cathedral’s long history, including a reconstruction in the 19th century after it was badly damaged in a fire. The museum has an admission fee.
Frankfurt Cathedral is open every day of the week, but the museum is closed on Mondays. The cathedral is within walking distance of the main U-Bahn station and tram stop in the Old Town, area. Parking is available for a fee in an underground garage next to the cathedral on Domstrasse.