Mainz, Germany

Mainz is the capital of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. It covers 97.75 sq km (37.74 sq mi) and has a population of around 200,000 people (2011 estimate). It observes the Central European Time (UTC+1) and in summer the Central European Summer Time (UTC+2).

More on Mainz

Mainz is located on the west bank of the river Rhine, across the river from

Wiesbaden, the capital of Hesse. It is part of the Rhein metropolitan area, which includes Frankfurt am Main and has a total population of 5.8 million people. The city experiences an oceanic climate. Warmest month is July, with average high temperature of 23.89°C (75°F). Coldest month is January, when the average temperature drops to -1.22°C (29.8°F). June is the wettest month, with 58 mm (2.3 in) of precipitation.

The history of Mainz goes back to Roman times, when the Romans erected a fortification here called castrum Mogontiacum around 13 BC. It is from this name, Mogontiacum, which is in fact of Celtic origin that we get Mainz.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Franks ruled to fill the vacuum. The leader of the Franks is Charlemagne (768-814), who established a new empire, the Holy Roman Empire. By then, there were already some Christian converts in Mainz, but by the Middle Ages, the city became the center for the Christianization of the German people. Archbishops of Mainz play an influential role in the Holy Roman Empire. They were the archchancellors of the empire right up to the demise of the empire in 1806.

Mainz fell under French control after it was captured by Napoléon Bonaparte in 1797. However, a series of defeats forced Napoléon to pull out of Mainz in 1814. Two years later Mainz became a provincial within the state of Rhenish Hesse. The city was occupied by French forces after the First World War, from 1919 to 1930. The withdrawal of the French in 1930 provided the Nazis under Adolf Hitler the opportunity to move into Mainz. Thus began the systematic discrimation of the Jewish population of the city. The Bishop of Mainz is credited with helping the Jews escape out of the country.

The Second World War devastated 80% of Mainz’s city center. It was part of the French zone of occupation after the war, and was made the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate when the federal state was formed on 30 August, 1946.

Perhaps the most famous person to come from Mainz is Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (1398-1468), who invented the movable type, and is associated with printing the Gutenberg Bible, of which 47 or 48 copies still exist today.

Visiting Mainz

From Frankfurt Airport, take the S-Bahn regional train directly from the airport subway station. The S8 local train goes to the Mainz Main Railway Station (Mainz Hauptbahnhof).

Places of Interest in Mainz

  1. Gutenberg-Museum
    Museum showcasing the printing process invented by Johannes Gutenberg, home to two incomplete copies of the Gutenberg Bible.

  2. Gutenbergplatz
    City square with paving stone marking the 50th parallel.

  3. Mainz Cathedral
    Magnificent Romanesque cathedral, one of only three to survive almost intact (the others being those at Speyer and Worms).

  4. Kirche St Stephan
    Parish church dating back to the mid 13th century.

  5. Kirschgarten
    Street through one of the most charming parts of Mainz.

  6. Kurfürstliches Schloss
    Baroque Electoral Palace was started under Archbishop Georg von Greifenclau and completed a century later. It today houses the Museum of Roman and Germanic history (Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum).

  7. Römersteine
    Remains of a Roman aqueduct from the 1st century AD.

Nearby Sights

  1. Oppenheim
    Village located 12 miles south of Mainz, with its lovely Katharinenkirche, a church in red sandstone.

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