The history of the city of Frankfurt am Main
is the story of a hill at a ford in the Main
that developed into a European banking metropolis, becoming the smallest metropolis in the world
. The spire of the cathedral tower marks the geographical center of the city at exactly 50° 6' 42.5" North and 8° 41' 9.4" East.
Frankfurt is located in what was originally a swampy portion of the Main valley, a lowland criss-crossed by channels of the river. The oldest parts are therefore to be found on the higher portions of the valley, through which passed the Roman road
) to Heddernheim
). The Odenwald
ranges surrounded the area, lending a defensive advantage, and placenames show that the lowlands on both sides of the river were originally wooded.
The oldest part of the Altstadt, the old city center
, is the Cathedral Hill (Domhügel
), upon an island created by arms of the Main. Only from the West could it be reached by foot without getting wet; this, together with its location at a ford, gave it significant military and economic advantages.
Stray archeological finds on the Domhügel
go back to the Paleolithic
, but the first proven settlement and land development date to the Roman era. It is assumed that the Romans settled on the hill in the last quarter of the 1st century CE; amongst other things, a Roman bath
has been found, which may have belonged to a larger complex, possibly a fortress. Apparently the... Read More