This is a beautiful and cultured city and accessible from the river. One walks a few yards from the Rhine and the history of Mainz unfolds. There are 2000 years of human habitation here so plenty to discover.
During World War II about 80 percent of the city’s centre, including most of the historic buildings, was destroyed, although these days one finds a town rebuilt with renovation and new architecture side by side. It’s a sympathetic melange and the urban renewal of the old town changed the inner city. Pedestrian zones have been developed around Mainz Cathedral. It is one of the most important churches in Germany and its foundation dates from 975 AD. The Cathedral is famed for its Marc Chagall blue stained-glass!
The picturesque old town is very much centred around the Romanesque St. Martin’s Cathedral. There are narrow and winding streets fringed with boutiques, galleries and tempting pastry shops. Many of these have restored half-timbered, Baroque and Rococo façades, giving a beautiful impression of architectural continuity.
There is plenty to enjoy in the square in front of the cathedral on the three weekly market-days. There are more than one hundred fountains in Mainz and the fountain in the market square is noteworthy. It’s the oldest, and dedicated as a carnival fountain, depicting all the paraphernalia of that festival.
Truly unique town
Mainz is Germany’s wine capital. Rheinhessen is the country’s largest winegrowing region and The Weinmarkt is one of Mainz’s three major festivals. Along with the aforementioned carnival, the end of June sees Midsummer’s Eve celebrated with a four-day fair. It originally honoured the memory of Johannes Gutenberg, he being the inventor of movable type, and the printer of the eponymous Bible. There is a fascinating museum in Mainz where one can see a printing press and learn more about Gutenberg and his work.
Mainz is a surprise. It has a wealth of buildings presenting delightful photographic opportunities. The shopping is classy and eclectic with both German chain names and independent boutiques for art, fashion, jewellery and confectionery. One can get a real sense of the city without the need for a bus journey. All the main sights are within a short walk of the Cathedral Square and there is plenty to occupy the day-tripper. Take a river cruise for a few days and one that includes Mainz, as a stroll into the city from one’s own temporary home is a joy. Take coffee and cake in one of the small cafés near the square and appreciate this truly unique town. Mainz is well worth a visit.
Travel review by Chrissie Walker © 2018