The “Römer” in Frankfurt
On the “Römerberg” (Roman hill) in the city centre of Frankfurt am Main stands an important landmark of the city, its city hall. This building is known as the “Frankfurt Römer”. The origin of the name is not certain, but one theory traces it back to Italian merchants in the Middle Ages. Today, the entire city hall complex comprises eleven buildings. In the present model, the three oldest buildings are shown with their historic stepped three-gable façade.
Because the former city hall had become too small, the City of Frankfurt received imperial permission to build a new city hall in the 14th century. Wars, the plague and natural disasters prevented this project. Therefore, in 1405, two town houses were bought in the centre of the city, the “Haus zum Römer” (House of the Roman) and the “Haus zum Goldenen Schwan” (House of the Golden Swan). Another building was bought in the following years, and other extensions were added until the 18th century.
The location in the centre of the city was ideal, as Frankfurt was already a centre of trade in the 15th century and the nearby Main River served as the most important transport route. The ground floor of the “Römer” was converted into several halls and rented out for trade fairs. Frankfurt was also the coronation site of the Roman-German emperors from 1562 to 1806. The elections of the emperors took place in the city hall, the coronations in the cathedral. A magnificent imperial hall was set up in the “Römer”, which can still be visited today.
The town hall was repeatedly rebuilt for representative reasons. For some time, a Gothic porch was added to the façade of the building. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the façade has been characterised by a large balcony, which is still popular for receptions. High-ranking guests such as the British Queen have already shown themselves to the people there. As Frankfurt am Main is also the headquarters of the German Football Association, the national football team is also celebrated on the balcony by its fans after successful tournaments.