St. Leonhards Church – Frankfurt

This beautiful church with its’ 2 crusader helmet towers, dates back to 1219 and contains myriad treasures. Located on the Main river, just past the Eisener Steg bridge and the Römer, it is easy to find.

Inside, one of the 1st things you will see is a huge, beautifully carved Romanesque stone portal carved in 1220. This is the Jerusalem Portal. As you continue down the nave towards your left, you encounter the Jacobs Way Portal, also from 1220, commemorating those making the pilgrimage to Santiago del Compostela, as St. Leonhards was an important way station for these pilgrims. (These portals are still being renovated and we will have to wait until the church is finished to see them.)

St. Leonhards has some very interesting vaulting. Each section of the church has a different, unique style. The area near the portals and the “hanging vault” has many crests on it and is very intricate, as well as containing beautiful designs of birds, flowers and so on in the areas between the ribbing. The ceiling in the choir area has what is called “star vaulting” and it is believed that Madern Gaertner, the architect for the Kaiserdom and the Eschenheimer Turm, designed this around 1430. This section of the church is still being renovated and not open to the public

In the choir area, are several beautiful frescos that range in age between 1440 and 1600, but unless someone is there to take you up there, they are hard to see. The 3 altars all date from the early 1500’s and are very beautiful. The Flemish “Mary Altar“, to the left of the choir, is exceptionally detailed and dates from 1480.

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