Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon

Messeturm (photo: Erich Francois)

The finish above the red carpet in the 'Festhalle' is absolutely the unusual highlight and unique ambiences of the Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon. The cosmopolitan city of Frankfurt am Main with its marathon, about 21,000 participants and about 350,000 spectators along the distance has set up to  a great city of sport. The fact that every year so many athletes take part and finish the marathon (more than 9,500 finisher in the marathon distance), is also due to the fact that the Frankfurt marathon is  on the one hand the oldest German city marathon, on the other hand one of the quickest and also one of the nicest ones. 
With pleasure we would like to introduce you the highlights on the road.



Opened in 1991, sketched by the German-American high rise specialist Helmut Jahn.
The 'Messeturm' climbed up quickly to a landmark of Frankfurt. At short notice it was the highest high rise of Europe. At the beginning the 'Messeturm' was mocked as a kitschy citation of the kind of Decor towers of Chicago. Today it is recognised as a pictorial architecture. With the outline and its red stone sheath it allows to think of the gothic cathedral tower of Frankfurt.


The building, decorates by jewellery forms of the baroque castle construction, was built in 1911. It was a part of a chain of representative great constructions which originated along the 'Allenring'. The example for it were the famous ring roads and palaces of Vienna. The empty monument-protected splendour construction should be integrated into a high rise cultivation. Differently the neighbouring 'Matthäuskirche' which was simply rebuilt in 1945 from remains emphatically. It should be sold for demolition against the will of the borough.

Mainzer Landstraße/Platz der Republik

Formerly arterial road to Mainz, equipped by representative summer villas of the Frankfurt bankers. Today the high rise axis which should be extended during the coming years to the 'Platz der Republik' and should be culminate in the skyscrapers of the future "European quarter" near the 'Messe'.

Mainzer Landstraße, Platz der Republik (photo: hr1, Ben Knabe)

Alte Oper

Built in 1883 mainly from bounties of Frankfurt citizens. Established in the style of the Italian Renaissance, the 'Alte Oper' counted up to its destruction in 1944 beside the opera of Vienna, Dresden and Paris as the nicest in Europe. In 1983, after long debates whether the ruins should be sprinkled or be redeveloped the 'Alte Oper' was new opened as a concert hall.


Alte Oper (photo: Organiser)


Established in 1729 by prominent citizens as an awake building of the city militia and prison.
Goethe considered it for the nicest construction of Frankfurt. When building the underground in 1966 outworn and reconstructed about five metres displaced. Opposite to the 'Katharinenkirche', established in 1678 as a Protestant main church of the city.
Baptistery of Johann Wolfgang Goethe.

Hauptwache (photo: Organiser)


Built in 1873 according to the examples of the Renaissance in Venice. The style choice was a discreet reference to the oldest postantique Republic of Europe and to the independence of the financial world. At the same time Frankfurt competed with Berlin which had decorated its stock exchange ('Börse') in the same style ten years before.

Eschenheimer Turm

The most important northern gate tower of the former city fortification, established around 1400 from cathedral master builder Madern Gerthener. A selfportrait is received from him in the parting of the archway. Because of its round form the tower endured undamaged the bombs of March 1944. 

Eschenheimer Turm (photo:


For centuries the 'Börneplatz' was a marketplace in front of the gates of the Frankfurt ghettos, then location of the synagogue of the reformed part of the Jewish borough. This building was famous by a painting of Max Beckmann. It was destroyed in the so-called 'Krisrallnacht'. Behind the new building of the public utilities there is a cubic memorial for the Frankfurt Jews murdered in the Holocaust. It is established from the stones of the late-medieval ghetto which appeared in 1988 with the recruiting of the excavation pit for the public utilities.


Formerly it has been called 'Forsthaus-Allee' and now it is one of the biggest traffic axis.

Bolongaro Palast

The castle was built in 1772 as a city residence and manufacture of the Italian trader of tobacco products Bolongaro. Originally it should be built in Frankfurt. However, the council, engaged to a medieval law which forbade residences of aristocrats in the free imperial city, refused the construction permission.


Part of the famous mass house building in the 1920s. Under the name "The new Frankfurt " established between 1924 and 1933 a wreath of exemplary settlements of satellites at the periphery.


Late-medieval watch tower, part of a ring of precastles along the former district borders.
The tower outlasted the out-tightening because it serves as a bleeding duct of the canalisation since 1890.


A kind of Hagia Sophia of the early modern age connects the 'Festhalle', with its neobaroque stone frames and its glass steel dome to the trends of the time about 1900. It is one of the biggest dome buildings of Europe, built in 1909 from Friedrich von Thiersch.

Festhalle (photo:


Magnificent street of the central station quarter, built around 1890. After 1945 infamously as the german headquarter of the black market, then as a hunting ground of the noble-prostituted Rosemarie Nitribitt whose murder in 1957 released a scandal of justice and policy which herold the end of the era Adenauer.

Alte Brücke

Established around 1100 at the name-giving ford through the river 'Main'. As the only river crossing for the European north south traffic the 'Alte Brücke' was a lifeline and wealth spring of Frankfurt. The today's construction originated in 1914 as a copy of the medieval bridge and was mended scantily after sprayings in May, 1945. The dark red construction on the Main island, an art gallery, reminds of the disappeared medieval bridge mills since 2005.

Alte Brücke (photo:

Neubau Portikus

The white building is the copy of the historical city library of 1820 which were bombed in 1944.
Original is still the splendid column portico. In this construction resides the literature house of Frankfurt.

Messehalle 3

Striking example of the current 'Biomorphismus' in the present architecture.
The obviously technical bowl construction of Nicolas Grimshaw combines to great form of a caterpillar or a lobster.

text: Dieter Bartezko (FAZ)


Photos: Erich Francois


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