St. Paul's Church, Frankfurt
St. Paul's Church in Frankfurt am Main is a church with important political symbolism
Political symbolism
Political symbolism is symbolism that is used to represent a political standpoint. The symbolism can occur in various media including banners, acronyms, pictures, flags, mottos, and countless more. For example, Red flags have traditionally been flown by socialists, left-wing radicals, and...

 in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. It was opened as a Protestant
Evangelical Church in Germany
The Evangelical Church in Germany is a federation of 22 Lutheran, Unified and Reformed Protestant regional church bodies in Germany. The EKD is not a church in a theological understanding because of the denominational differences. However, the member churches share full pulpit and altar...

  church in 1789, coincidentally the same year as the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, and in 1848-1849 it became the seat of the Frankfurt Parliament
Frankfurt Parliament
The Frankfurt Assembly was the first freely elected parliament for all of Germany. Session was held from May 18, 1848 to May 31, 1849 in the Paulskirche at Frankfurt am Main...

, the first publicly and freely elected body of Germany.

The church started with the construction of the oval-shaped central church building in 1789. It was completed from 1829 to 1833, whereupon the organ loft was disconnected in 1833.

Because of its centralized form and dome, it was desired as the meeting place for the Frankfurt Parliament in the course of the German revolutions of 1848.

From March 31 until April 3, 1848 it was the meeting place for the Vorparlament, which prepared the election for the National Assembly. On May 18, 1848 the National Assembly met for the first time in the church, and was, therefore, named the Paulskirchenparlament. Until 1849, the National Assembly worked in the church to develop the first constitution
The Constitution of the German Empire of 1849, more commonly known as the Frankfurt Constitution or Paulskirchenverfassung , was an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to created a unified German state under an Emperor...

 for a united Germany. The resistance of Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 and a number of smaller German states ultimately destroyed the effort. In May 1849, there were a number of uprisings to force the implementation of the constitution, but these were destroyed with the help of Prussia. On May 30, 1849, the Parliament in the St. Paul's was dissolved.

After 1852, St. Paul's was again used for religious services.

In World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the church was nearly destroyed along with much of the Frankfurt Innenstadt
Innenstadt (Frankfurt am Main)
The Innenstadt is the central district of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It is part of the Ortsbezirk Innenstadt I, and is subdivided into 5 Stadtbezirke. It stretches in the north and east round the district of Altstadt...

. As a tribute to its symbolism of freedom and as the cradle of Germany it was the first building to be rebuilt in Frankfurt after the war, reopened on the 100th anniversary of the Frankfurt Parliament. Due to cost restraints, the original inner form was dramatically altered. An inserted floor now divides the basement, which currently serves as a display room, from the actual hall in the main floor.
After the war, it was no longer used as a church, and instead became a center used for various displays and events. The most well-known is the annual awarding of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade
Peace Prize of the German Book Trade
The Peace Prize of the German Book Trade is an international peace prize given yearly at the Frankfurt Book Fair in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt am Main, Germany...

 during the Frankfurt Book Fair
Frankfurt Book Fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world's largest trade fair for books, based on the number of publishing companies represented. As to the number of visitors, the Turin Book Fair attracts about as many visitors, viz. some 300,000....

. For the 150th birthday of the German democratic experience in 1998, St. Paul's once again attracted the public interest.

In 1963, US President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

gave a major speech in St. Paul's Church during a visit to Germany.

External links

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