St Paul's Church (Paulskirche) in Frankfurt am Main is a church with important political symbolism in Germany. It was started as a Lutheran church in 1789—coincidentally the same year as the French Revolution. By 1849, it had become the seat of the Frankfurt Parliament, the first publicly and freely-elected German legislative body. The Free City of Frankfurt, then governing its legally non-separated Lutheran state church, started with the construction of the oval-shaped central church building in 1789.
The new church building was to replace the former Church of the Discalced (Barfüßerkirche), which had been torn down in 1786 due to dilapidation. Constructions halted during the Napoleonic wars. The new building was completed between 1829 to 1833, whereupon the organ loft was disconnected in 1833. Between 1786 and 1833 Lutheran services were held in the old St. Nicholas Church, also owned by the free city and then actually used as garrison church for its troops. In 1830 the free city issued the deeds of dotation (Dotationsurkunde) fixing its long-lasting practice of owning and maintaining the church buildings in its old city centre, but leaving their usage to congregations of the Lutheran state church or parishes of the Catholic church, newly emancipated during the Napoleonic era.
In 1944, during World War II, the church was destroyed along with much of the Frankfurt wider city centre in the Allied Bombing of Frankfurt. As a tribute to its symbolism of freedom and as the cradle of Germany, it was the first structure in Frankfurt the city rebuilt after the war. However, the city itself wanted to make use of the to-be-reconstructed building, thus St. Paul's Lutheran congregation and the city concluded to exchange the congregation's usufruct to this building for that of old St. Nicholas Church, only damaged by bombing. St. Paul's was reopened on the centennial of the Frankfurt Parliament.
Due to financial 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. Today St. Paul's is no longer used as a church, instead it became a venue used for various displays and events. The most well-known is the annual awarding of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade during the Frankfurt Book Fair. For the 150th birthday of the German democratic experience in 1998, St Paul's once again attracted public interest.