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January 17, 2007

Frankfurt sights

Visiting Frankfurt proved very interesting, not least for the discovery that the cathedral is built on the site of a second or third century Roman structure. During the restoration of the building in the 1950's, the opportunity was taken to excavate the Western end of the site, which had been built over several times. Some two metres down the remains of the first cathedral came to light and with it, several earlier structures.

Decorated tomb cover of a noble family.JPG
The ornate cover from the tomb of a noble family - possibly relatives of the von Thurn und Taxis family.

In this area one cannot help but feel the long lines of continuity of occupation. Generally the Romans built on sites already in use, and I suspect that this one is no different. Wandering around these streets you cannot but be struck by how familiar and yet unfamiliar everything is. Shops look the same, but the architecture has a strong character all its own and the use of colour on the facades is something unfamiliar to those of us who are used to the English practice of keeping colour subdued.

Bread is another example. In England, unless you are prepared to frequent a speciality bakert - or bake yourself - you simply do not have the same variety of breads and bread like products. There is something special about buying warm Bretzels and eating these with a cup of coffee in an ancient square - with your breath steaming in the cool. (For my American readers - Bretzel = Pretzel, but fresh baked and sold warm and soft!), or wandering along cobbled streets with brightly lit shops on either side and hearing all the variety of languages around you that is modern Europe.

It reminded me too, of the reasons why we should work to find ways to make our latest attempt at working with our cousins in Europe, work.

Posted by The Gray Monk at January 17, 2007 04:47 PM

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