Bank of the Main at Holbeinsteg © Stefan Cop

The banks of the Main

Frankfurt is turning back to the river

People relaxing along the Main
Two sides of the Main: active relaxation (above © Stefan Cop) and Mediterranean flair in the Nizza (below © Grünflächenamt)

The transformation of Frankfurt from a city of trade and industry to a service-based and residential city provided the right impetus for developing the former port and industrial areas on both banks of the Main as open leisure areas. This has perceptibly enhanced Frankfurt’s reputation as a place to visit and to live.

Not so very long ago, in 1998, there was nothing left of the nearly 100 years of industrial and port activity at the Weseler Wharf and Westhafen but a desolate, abandoned plot of land. Built around 1832 with a swimming pool and lush gardens, the building on the northern bank of the Main – known as Frankfurt’s “Nizza” (Nice) – had become an ugly ruin. On the other side of the river, the Deutschherrnufer was just a series of car parking spaces.

Mediterranean flair in the Nizza

There is no comparison with the present self-assured picture of the broad promenades along the Main and the lawns that are popular in the summer months. From their picnic rugs and deckchairs, the people of Frankfurt enjoy the view of the opposite riverside promenade and the high-rise buildings – often until late at night. They have rediscovered the banks of the Main.

The Nizza, where banana trees, palms and figs trees once again conjure up a Mediterranean atmosphere, forms the nucleus of the green design for the Main banks. In 1860 work began to ­transform this goods handling area into a public green space. Between 1999 and 2006 the site was refurbished in accordance with German conservation rules and a monument was erected to the city gardener, Andreas Weber, who had completed the site in 1875.

As a result of changing industrial and trade structures, large industrial sites along the Main were freed up for re­development as urban districts. In 1997 redevelopment work began on the site of the former slaughterhouse in the Deutschherrn quarter. Then came the turn of the Weseler Wharf, an obsolete bulk materials port on the other bank. Finally, the city gave up the Westhafen further downstream. In a short time this became the site of impressive office and residential buildings.

What we are doing

To date, € 12 million has been invested in landscaping work along the Main. Roughly half that amount was financed through the project development companies in charge of the urban development along the river. From 1997 to 2006 the length of the green riverside area grew from 3.5 km to nearly 7 km. In 2006, the site was renamed the Mainuferpark. The redevelopment of the banks of the Main is to be continued in the near future.

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Open spaces and parks along the Main

The bank of the Main with its promenade, green spaces and distinctive bridges is one of the city’s main attractions. Click here for more information.

The following links contain information about the green spaces on the bank of the Main:

Licht- und Luftbad Niederrad
Weseler Werft