The article below was published in Pinnable’s newsletter in .

DomRömer Quarter

Frankfurt’s New Historical City Centre

After British bombings destroyed Frankfurt am Main in 1944, its city centre — located between the Römer and the Cathedral — lay empty until the 1970s, at which time the Technical Town Hall (the ‘Klotz’) was built. A decade later, seven half-timbered houses on the Römerberg were rebuilt according to their original plans. In 2004, the city council decided to demolish the brutalist Klotz, and citizens’ action groups successfully pushed forward plans to have the pre-war city centre rebuilt in its place. The Hühnermarkt, the alleys, and fifteen patrician houses were to be reconstructed, and an additional twenty lookalikes would be newly designed to properly match the historical ones. Work on the new Old Town started in 2010, and in 2018, 74 years after the city was ruined, Frankfurt had its historical town back.

The Stoltze fountain in Frankfurt’s new old town
The Stoltze Fountain at the Hühnermarkt square

The quarter’s main — and most expensive — showpiece is the Goldene Waage, an ornate half-timbered Renaissance house, opposite the Cathedral, named after the golden scales hanging from its corner. Before the war it was one of the most widely photographed houses in the country, and the resulting multitude of available photos turned out to be of great use for reconstructing its replacement. The one original carved beam that survived the bombings had been kept in the Historical Museum and was used by the woodcarvers as a model for the meticulously decorated facade. It took roughly 7,500 man-hours to rebuild the house, and the result is genuinely extraordinary. It’s quite likely that the new Goldene Waage will again be one of Germany’s most photographed landmarks, although in this day & age, serving as a background for selfies of course.

Reader comments


For further reading (in German), please see the web dossiers Die neueste Altstadt der Welt on the FAZ website, and Frankfurts neue Altstadt on the site of the Frankfurter Rundschau.

Karl Marx

The gentleman in the beard on the fountain at the Hühnermarkt square is the 1848 revolutionist Friedrich Stoltze, not me.


It was originally intended to cover the cost of replacing the Technisches Rathaus by selling 80 high-priced flats on the upper floors of the 35 new houses. The sales revenue was € 70 mln, but over the years, the total cost of the DomRömer Quartier project rose to € 200 mln, and the remaining € 130 mln was paid by the taxpayer. The Neue Altstadt therefore functioned in the same way that Frankfurt’s financial district does: it made those already rich even richer at the expense of the common man.