The Other Frankfurt: A Town in Two Countries

By Ruben Alexander

GERMANY / POLAND – Most people have heard of Frankfurt am Main, an international center of finance, industry and transport. But there is another Frankfurt, which, even though no one has heard of it, is even more international by virtue of it being in two countries. I’m talking about Frankfurt an der Oder, which is situated 100 kilometers east of Berlin, on the German-Polish border, which was redrawn further west in 1945. Pictures made on 2016-12-15, during a holiday in Berlin.

1. The Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche, a catholic church near Frankfurt (Oder) Hauptbahnhof

2. The vicarage, with typical DDR apartment buildings behind it

The ‘Youth’s Cinema’, which has to be from the communist period:
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8. A villa next to the cinema

9. The Marienkirche, with some semi-historically styled new buildings (of which there are quite a few in Frankfurt’s small centre) and the Christmas market in the foreground

A few more of Frankfurt’s actual historic buildings:

10. The university

12. The town hall

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14. The Oder river (Polish: Odra)
15. Apart from a few old buildings, the centre Frankfurt an der Oder is far from beautiful. Its most noticeable landmark is the 95 meter tall DDR-era Oderturm (Oder Tower), which was built between 1969 and 1976
16. Most of Frankfurt an der Oder looks like this. Neighbourhoods like this don’t even look particarly communist to me, and could have been almost anywhere in northern Europe (the neighbourhood of Overvecht in my native city of Utrecht was the first place to come to my mind)
17. Being from the same period, the murals on the apartment buildings are also in quite a similar style to what you might find in other places

18. Crossing the Oder, almost everything you see here – including the island in the river – is still in Germany…

19. …but looking left, everything you see now except for a part of the bridge is in Frankfurt’s former Dammvorstadt (Dam Suburb, for lack of a better word), now Słubice, Poland

20. As Poland is much cheaper than Germany, the fist row of houses (IMO one of the nicest in the whole twin city) in Słubice houses a large number of tobacco shops, dental clinics and hair dressers (which means that people can have their hair cut between smoking cigarettes and undergoing dental treatment)

21. Looking back to Frankfurt and its Friedenskirche and Friar monastary (now a concert hall)

22. Looking south towards the centre of Frankfurt from Słubice made me think that I’d never been in a border region where everything looked so similar on both sides of the border

23. Looking north

24. One block from the river, the “Bazar” looks slightly less like something one would find in Germany

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29. Even modern apartment buildings don’t look very different to German  ones (including West German ones)

30. Back at the row of houses by the bridge, this very small pedestrian area almost gives Słubice a kind of big city allure…

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32. … while looking the other way to the Marienkirche gives the impression that we are still in the beautiful historic city that Frankfurt an der Oder may have once been

33. A last glimpse of Słubice

34. Back in Germany and on the way back up the hill to the station, another row of elegant old buildings

35. Leaving Frankfurt an der Oder

This entry was posted in Brandenburg, Germany, Poland

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