The Hühnermarkt, Frankfurt: Before & After World War Two

Raumbild-Verlag

c.1935

frankfurt poultry market before

Raumbild-Verlag

c.1946

frankfurt poultry market after

The two stereoviews show the Hühnermarkt (Poultry Market) in Frankfurt’s medieval altstadt. It lay between the Römer (the 14th century town hall), and the cathedral, part of a dense network of squares and roads which dated back to the Middle Ages. The Hühnermarkt was surrounded by houses on all sides, many of which were medieval in origin with altered Baroque facades. One of these, known as the Esslinger House, belonged to Goethe’s uncle. A tiny part of it is just visible to the very far left in the first stereograph. In the centre of the square was a public water fountain with a bust of Friedrich Stolze, a 19th century novelist and poet born at a nearby house. The Hühnermarkt was completely destroyed during an air-raid in 1944 along with the vast majority of Frankfurt’s ancient city centre, although the bust of Stolze was later salvaged and re-erected elsewhere in the city. The old street plan was obliterated during post-war reconstruction but, at this very moment, work is underway to reinstate the Hühnermarkt along with several of its surrounding buildings. One of the houses to be reconstructed is the Esslinger House. Other reconstructions are planned for completion by 2016, a remarkable example of how historical architecture can linger in the collective memory to such an extent that people feel compelled to recreate it over seventy years after it was destroyed (a similar scheme has been in progress at Dresden since the late 1980s).

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