I’ve lived in Frankfurt for around eight years now, and during that time I’ve come to appreciate some of its history. Not only the famous people born in Frankfurt including Anne Frank, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Martin Lawrence (discovered that one just now!), but also the beautiful buildings and architecture. One building that I often walk past but don’t pay much notice too is the historic Paulskirche.
Paulskirche was built between 1829 and 1833 and was the site of the very first, freely-elected, German parliament in 1848. These days it is mainly used for exhibitions, events, and official ceremonies – the main reason I was visiting.
My friend had applied for and successfully received, her German citizenship last year. Having been a German citizen for well over a year already, she was a little surprised to receive an invite in July to an official ceremony, held at the Paulskirche in August. Frankfurt celebrates its new batch of German citizens twice a year with a ceremony led by the mayor, Peter Feldmann. This year, I assume due to the Coronavirus, things were a little delayed. She invited me along, as I’m currently going through the citizenship process (trying to beat the Brexit deadline – it’s a whole saga) so I could see what happens.
Inside, there is a small museum, and then you walk up until the beautiful, open main hall. You’d never guess from the outside, but inside was so light and airy that the building seemed twice as big.
The ceremony itself was around an hour long and was quite interesting. The coronavirus was a bigger topic than I was expecting it to be in the ceremony, but it was still quite something to see the mayor talking in person. My favourite part was the beautiful music from the string quartet, the first live music I had heard in months and months – it felt very special.
I didn’t realise until I sat down how strange it was being in a room full of people again. I wasn’t worried about safety as we were all very spaced out, and almost everybody kept their masks on, but it just felt weird to be inside with 200 other people. This year has really made things strange, hasn’t it?
I’m so glad I finally went inside Paulskirche, not only to see the ceremony with my friend but also to experience the wonderful building. Saying hello to the mayor of Frankfurt was also an added bonus – that’s definitely something I didn’t see myself doing this year!