Frankfurt Cathedral

Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt Cathedral (Kaiserdom Sankt Bartholomäus, St. Bartholomew's Imperial Cathedral) is the largest religious building in Frankfurt and a former collegiate church. As former election and coronation church of the Holy Roman Empire, the cathedral is one of the major buildings of the Empire history and was mainly in the 19th century a symbol of national unity.

The present church building is the third church in the same place. Since the late 19th excavated century buildings can be traced back to the 7th century. The history is closely linked with the General history of Frankfurt and the Frankfurt old town because the cathedral had an associated role as religious counterpart of the Royal Palace Frankfurt. The St. Bartholomew's is the main church of Frankfurt and was constructed in the 14th and 15th centuries on the foundation of an earlier church from the Merovingian time.

From 1356 onwards, emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were elected in this collegiate church as kings in Germany, and from 1562 to 1792, emperors-elect were crowned here. The imperial elections were held in the Wahlkapelle, a chapel on the south side of the choir built for this purpose in 1425 and the anointing and crowning of the emperors-elect as kings in Germany took place before the central altar–believed to enshrine part of the head of St. Bartholomew – in the crossing of the church, at the entrance to the choir.

In the course of the German Mediatisation the city of Frankfurt finally secularised and appropriated the remaining Catholic churches and their endowments of earning assets, however, leaving the usage of the church buildings to the existing Catholic parishes. Thus St. Bartholomew's became of the city's dotation churches, owned and maintained by the city but used by Catholic or Lutheran congregations.

St. Bartholomew's was seen as symbol for national unity in Germany, especially during the 19th century. Although it had never been a bishop's seat, it was the largest church in Frankfurt and its role in imperial politics, including crowning of medieval German emperors, made the church one of the most important buildings of Imperial history.

In 1867, St. Bartholomew's was destroyed by a fire and rebuilt in its present style. During World War II, between October 1943 and March 1944, the old town of Frankfurt, the biggest old Gothic town in Central Europe, was devastated by six bombardments of the Allied Air Forces. The greatest losses occurred in an attack by the Royal Air Force on March 22, 1944, when more than a thousand buildings of the old town, most of them half-timbered houses, were destroyed. St. Bartholomew's suffered severe damage; the interior was burned out completely. The building was reconstructed in the 1950s.



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Founded: 1867
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: German Empire (Germany)


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kutay Çetin (2 years ago)
Frankfurt Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew, is an architectural masterpiece that should not be missed by anyone visiting Frankfurt. Located in the heart of the city, this stunning Gothic cathedral is a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of its builders. Upon entering the cathedral, one is immediately struck by the soaring heights of the nave, which is supported by a series of graceful arches. The stained glass windows, which depict scenes from the Bible, are a particularly striking feature, casting a warm glow over the interior of the cathedral. In addition to its architectural beauty, the cathedral is also home to a number of important works of art, including several statues and paintings by notable artists. The altar, in particular, is a work of art in its own right, adorned with intricate carvings and gold leaf. Overall, Frankfurt Cathedral is a must-see for anyone interested in architecture or art. Its beauty and grandeur are truly breathtaking, and it serves as a testament to the enduring power of faith. Whether you are a tourist or a local, I highly recommend paying a visit to this stunning cathedral
Yemesrach Assefa (2 years ago)
An oldest Catholic Church in the center of the City Frankfurt. With a beautiful architecture so spacious and good ventilation. The Cathedral is the only building that survived from bombing attack in the second world War. The statues and the station of the cross and all the interior of the church is very beautiful. So refreshing and spiritually refreshing. A place worth visiting.
Thomas Meyer (2 years ago)
Not the most beautiful or impressive cathedral in Europe, but well worth a visit. It certainly has one of the more interesting organs around, with the organ pipes being all-over. It is good that the dome is very regularly used for its intended cause, which however means that tourists need to time their visit well if they just want to have a look, without participating in a church service.
Saran (2 years ago)
Cathedrals are always impressive. This cathedral certainly does not let one down in any way. It is well worth visiting and can be seen in less than 30 minutes. Situated in the heart of Frankfurt and has interesting information in the front diagrammatically showing the damage during WWII and the repairs that were made. The interior is fairly modern appearing compared to most of the churches that we visited. There are around 300+ steps to climb for climbing up the tower. The stairwells are winding and narrow.
Graziella Callado (2 years ago)
Breathtaking Gothic Cathedral. With its Medieval/Roman Empire air, it not only has the biblical paintings, scriptures and statues, but also carries the Frankfurter tradition, legacy and design. Amazing energy.
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