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How to get around and find best means of local transportation?"I'm coming from Lucerne and want to travel down the Rhine by rail and boat. I'm planning on staying two night is in St Goar. (1.) Should I begin in Mainz and travel north to St Goar? (2.) From Mainz should I take a boat or train? Which is best for that route?" (posted 08/01/2014)
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Popular Points of Interest in and near Mainz
When a museum displays noteworthy exhibits dating from the Stone Age to the present day it most certainly deserves its first class image. The Landesmuseum, located in the former
Kurfürstenkasernewith its characteristic Golden Horse on the roof, is one of the oldest museums in Germany. The collections are continuously expanded upon, with new valuable exhibits being added dating back to Roman times, the Middle Ages, or baroque. Even the most seasoned of regular visitors always finds something new, be it Byzantine coins or Picasso's portrait.
Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm. Tuesday 10am - 8pm.
Natural History Museum
Situated in the church of the former Reichklara Abbey, the Natural History Museum in Mainz was opened to visitors back in 1910 and is now the largest and most important museum of its kind in the Rhineland-Palatinate. Few other natural science museums in the world have such an extensive collection of prehistoric dinosaur tracks and insects from the Permian period on the Rhine. With more than 25,000 finds, it has a rich and varied collection of ice-age animals such as the hippo, steppe mammoth, elk, wolf, Javan rhino, giant lion, jaguar, sabre-toothed cat and the famous group of quaggas that all lived in the Rhine-Main region approx. 500,000 years ago.
Hours: Tuesday 10am - 8pm, Wednesday 10am - 2pm, Thursday - Sunday 10am - 5pm.
Cathedral and Diocesan Museum
The Cathedral and Diocesan Museum is located in the Mainz Cathedral's two-story, late-Gothic cloister and in the former chapter house. With more than 3,000m² of exhibition space, it is the second-largest museum of its kind in Germany – presenting works of art from over two millennia. For many centuries, Mainz cathedral treasury ranked among the finest in the Western world. Produced between the 14th and the 18th century, the surviving inventories describe a wealth of liturgical instruments and paraments. The arched halls, typical of their Middle Age origins, provide the ideal setting for these masterpieces. Favorite attractions for many visitors such as the majestic
Madonna aus der Fuststraße, the creations of German goldsmiths, and illuminated books all give this museum the good reputation it enjoys around the world.
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm.
Admission: Adults 5 €, Concessions 3.50 €, Children under 6 years free.
Roman remains, including Jupiter's column, Drusus' mausoleum, the ruins of the theatre and the aqueduct
For a full 500 years Mainz served as a major site of Roman activity, serving as an army headquarters, administrative center, political capital of Upper Germania, and cultural nexus. The Roman presence is readily visible. Hardly a day passes when ruins, monuments, coins, personal effects, implements and household items come to light during excavations for buildings, road repair, and rail station renovations. The largest Roman theater north of the Alps, seating 10,000 spectators was 10 times larger than today’s Mainz State Theater. Its stage measured 42 meters wide, double that and more than the that of the Metropolitan Opera, the auditorium 16% longer than a soccer field! First discovered in 1884, above the Mainz-South Rail Station, major excavations here only began in 1999.
An acquaduct in Mainz-Zahlbach, gravestones in Mainz-Weisenau, the Jupiter Column in front of the State Parlament, the city gate at Kaestrich, and the shipwrecks extricated from the Rhine, still in excellent condition, reveal a vibrant Roman society. Following the link below will lead to a directory of many of these ruins.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Mainz
The Diocese of Mainz is a diocese of the Catholic church in Germany. It was created in 1802 with the abolition of the old Archbishopric of Mainz. The diocese is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Freiburg; its district is located in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse. The seat of the diocese is in Mainz at the Cathedral dedicated to Saints Martin and Stephen.
Botanischer Garten der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
The Botanischer Garten der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (10 hectares), also known as the Botanischer Garten Mainz, is an arboretum and botanical garden maintained by the University of Mainz. It is located on the university campus at Franz von Bentzel-Weg 9, Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, and open daily.
The garden was created between 1946-1955 on land formerly used as farmland and a military training ground. Over 3500 individual plant beds were created in those years; in the mid-1950s an alpine garden was added, and in 1986 sections for steppe plants and Mainz regional flora were established. The first greenhouse was built in 1948 with two more added in 1952, which formed the basis for an extensive greenhouse complex.
Today the garden contains about 8,500 species. Its major sections include an arboretum (30,000 m²), systematic garden, greenhouses, and alpine garden, with outdoor collections focusing on flowering plants and woody plants of the northern hemisphere temperate zone, and a greenhouse complex containing plants from Mediterranean climates and the Southern Hemisphere as well as tropical and subtropical crops.
Mainz Cathedral or St. Martin's Cathedral (in German Mainzer Dom, Martinsdom or - officially - Der Hohe Dom zu Mainz) is located near the historical center and pedestrianized market square of the city of Mainz, Germany. This 1000 year-old Roman Catholic cathedral is the site of the episcopal see of the Bishop of Mainz.
Mainz Cathedral is predominantly Romanesque in style, but later exterior additions over many centuries have resulted in the appearance of various architectural influences seen today. It comprises three naves and stands under the patronage of Saint Martin of Tours. The eastern quire is dedicated to Saint Stephen.
The interior of the cathedral houses tombs and funerary monuments of former powerful Electoral-prince-archbishops, or Kurfürst-Erzbischöfe, of the diocese and contains religious works of art spanning a millennium. The cathedral also has a central courtyard and statues of Saint Boniface and The Madonna on its grounds.
The Mainz Roman Amphitheater
Mainz, Germany began in the first century BC as a Roman military outpost. During the time of the Roman Empire, the town was named Mogontiacum and was founded by Drusus, a Roman general, in 13 BC. The first two things the Romans did when they moved into a new area were build a theatre and baths. These constructions are in tribute to their love of cleanliness and entertainment. The Mainz Roman amphitheater had the largest stage and auditorium north of the Alps. This may be because of the importance of the town at the confluence of the Rhine and Main rivers.
Built for a Large City
The Mainz Roman amphitheater was discovered in the early 20th century near the Mainz-South railway station. When completed, it could seat over 10,000 people and the proportions of the theater were enormous. Engineers were able to approximate the measurements by the size of the supporting beams.
The stage, at that time, was 42 meters (136.5 feet) wide, and the area where the audience sat was 116 meters (377 feet) wide. This is about one and a half football fields. It is ten times larger than the main theater in Mainz today and two and a half times larger than the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. It is believed that the theater was created for pageantry and spectacle rather than musicals, light comedy or frivolous entertainment.
The History of the Mainz Roman Aphiteater
The city was used by the Roman Legions until about 350 AD. In the fourth century, the walls of the theater were rebuilt. The vaults of the theater lasted for centuries and from the sixth century they were used as burial catacombs for monks from several nearby monasteries. These burial sites were seen recently during excavation. The last time the theater is mentioned in writings is by Gozwin in the 11th century. In 1660, the Citadel of Mainz was built nearby and the theater was forgotten until the early 20th century.
In 1884, the railroad was being constructed in the area and the foundations of the stage house were found, measured and demolished to make room for the South Railway Station. At that time, the wall stones found were not thought to be connected to the ancient theater. Only in 1914, the art historian Ernst Neeb recognized the stone stage as a Roman theater. The site was excavated in 1916 and his claims were confirmed.
Today, there are music and theater events that bring the ancient stones alive after more than 2000 years.
St. Alban's Abbey, Mainz
St. Alban's Abbey, Mainz (Stift St. Alban vor Mainz) originated as a Benedictine abbey, founded in 787 or 796 by Archbishop Richulf (787–813) in honour of Saint Alban of Mainz, located to the south of Mainz on the hill later called the Albansberg. It was turned into a collegiate foundation (Herrenstift) in 1442. The buildings were entirely destroyed in 1552, although the foundation retained a legal existence until its formal dissolution in 1802.
The abbey was initially renowned for its school, "famous for its teaching and its piety" (pietate doctrinaque inclinitum) and for its beautiful church. The school was the origin of the Carolingian court school. One of its famous teachers was Rabanus Maurus, born c 780 in Mainz. The importance of the place was reflected in the extraordinary size of the hall. The church was inaugurated on 1 December 805 by Richulf and remained the largest church of Mainz until construction of Mainz Cathedral was begun by Willigis.
Electoral Palace, Mainz
The Electoral Palace in Mainz (German: Kurfürstliches Schloss zu Mainz) is the former city Residenz of the Archbishop of Mainz, who was also Prince-Elector of his electoral state within the Holy Roman Empire. It is one of the important Renaissance buildings in Germany.
Stylistically the Electoral Palace is one of the last examples of German Renaissance architecture. The northern wing, built later, conforms to this style. The exterior, with turrets at every corner, is richly decorated, particularly around the windows. The roofs have been restored with exactness. The most spectacular interiors included the Grand Staircase by the leading Baroque architect Balthasar Neumann, which was removed during the French occupation.
Fortress of Mainz
The Fortress of Mainz was a fortressed garrison town between 1620 and 1918. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, under the term of the 1815 Peace of Paris, the control of Mainz passed to the German Confederation and became part of a chain of strategic fortresses which protected the Confederation with the dissolution of the Confederation control of the fortress passed to the German Empire.
The Landesmuseum Mainz, or Mainz State Museum, is a museum of art and history in Mainz, Germany. In March 2010 it reopened in full after an extensive renovation.
The museum has its roots in a painting collection donated by Napoleon and Chaptal to the city of Mainz in 1803. It moved into its current location, in the former electoral stables, in 1937, by which time it had grown significantly. It received its present name in 1986, and was renovated and modernised from 2004 to 2010.
Romano-Germanic Central Museum (Mainz)
The Romano-Germanic Central Museum (German: Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum (RGZM)) is an archaeological and historical research institution for pre-history and early history headquartered in Mainz. It is supported by the Federal Republic of Germany and its states and is a member of the Leibniz Association of German research institutions.
The institution studies the Old World and its contact zones from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. It consists of several divisions, and in addition maintains a permanent collection and through this and its numerous publications and conferences, disseminates the findings of recent research to the public.
The Mainzer Zitadelle (Citadel of Mainz) is situated at the fringe of the Old Town near Mainz Römisches Theater station. The fortress was constructed in 1660 and was an important part of the Fortress Mainz.
The Jakobsberg hill, where the citadel was constructed, had been occupied by a Benedictine abbey during the middle ages (since 1050). Halfway up the hill, the amphitheater of the Roman settlement of Mogontiacum, which has been recently excavated, must also have been visible at that time. The Jakobsberg hill, however, had not been integrated in the ring of the defensive city walls of the town and this flank of the city was therefore only slightly protected. This position immediately at the gates of the town opened a strategic gap, as an aggressor could use the hill for a raid into Mainz or for a cannonade. The construction of the "Schweickhardtsburg" fortress under the supervision of cathedral vicar Adolph von Waldenburg during the years 1620-29 provisionally filled this gap and integrated the hill into the system of city walls. The name of the irregularly pentagonal fortification honors the reigning monarch of that time, the prince-elector Johann Schweikhard von Kronberg.
The Iron Tower (German: Eisenturm) is a mediaeval tower dating to the early 13th century, and modified in the 15th century, which with the Wood Tower and the Alexander Tower is one of three remaining towers from the city walls of Mainz, Germany. Its name derives from the Iron Market (Eisenmarkt), which was held in the immediate vicinity until the 19th century.
The Iron Tower served as a watchtower and gate to the city, and later as a gaol. It was badly damaged in World War II and reconstructed in the 1960s. Today it houses various organisations and arts projects and is used for art exhibitions.
The Wood Tower (German: Holzturm) is a mediaeval tower in Mainz, Germany, with the Iron Tower and the Alexander Tower one of three remaining towers from the city walls. Its current Gothic appearance dates to the early 15th century. It is so named because wood used to be piled next to it on the bank of the Rhine.
Like the Iron Tower, the Wood Tower was used as a watchtower and gate-tower and later as a gaol. It was badly damaged in World War II and accurately reconstructed in 1961 for the 2,000-year anniversary of the city. It currently houses various organisations and clubs.
The Marktbrunnen in Mainz is a renaissance fountain located at the ″Markt″ (market place) of Mainz. It was donated by elector Albert of Mainz and crafted in the workshop of the Mainz sculpturer Hans Backoffen. The Marktbrunnen represents one of the first architectural formed decorated fountains of the renaissance.
Motivation for the donation of the fountain to the community of Mainz had been two events. On one hand, the donator prince-elector and cardinal Albert celebrated the lucky end of the German Peasants' War in his electoral residence. In April 1525 there had occurred unrests and an adoption of 31 articles of the insurgent population. The municipal administration and the cathedral chapter had to agree to these articles in the absence of the elector. Following the military defeat of the Peasants' War, the Mainzer subjugated by 1 July 1525 without further action again their rulers. With the inscription on the representative market fountain Albert honored Emperor Charles V and his victory at the Battle of Pavia on Francis I of France, whose capture is also mentioned.
The fountain that Albert of Mainz donated emphatically to the population of Mainz was first conceived as a draw-well. It became an important source of fresh water in the inner city and in 1767 they altered it to a pumping well. In 1889 the market fountain was first transferred to the northeast side of the square and later supplemented with a Madonna figure at the top end. During World War II, the market well was walled and survived the bombing of Mainz, with no major damage. As part of the redesign of the surroundings of the cathedral and the establishment of a large, interconnected pedestrian zone during 1975, the fountain was relocated to its original place near the cathedral houses.
St. Stephen's Church, Mainz
The Collegiate Church of St. Stephan, known in German as St. Stephan zu Mainz, is a Gothic hall collegiate church located in the German city of Mainz.
St. Stephan zu Mainz was originally built in 990 at the order of Archbishop Willigis, who also initiated the building of Mainz Cathedral. The church was founded on top of the highest hill in the town, most likely on behalf of Theophanu, the widow of Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor. Willigis intended the church to be a site of prayer for the Empire.
The provost of the Collegiate Church administered one of the archdiaconates (a medieval organizational form similar to today's diaconates) of the Archbishopric of Mainz.
The Christuskirche (Christ Church) is a Protestant church located in Mainz. The Christuskirche was built between 1896 and 1903 designed by Eduard Kreyßig. It was consecrated on 2 July 1903. After demolition during the air raids of World War II the church was reconstructed between 1952 and 1954.
In the predominantly Catholic Mainz of 1802, only some hundred Protestants could be traced at the end of the Ancien Régime. Napoleon Bonaparte was the first to grant them the right of freely practising their religion and he expanded their civil rights. Previously Protestants had the status of „tolerated“ human beings, a status they shared with the Jews. Around the year 1900 already 33% of the inhabitants of Mainz had the Protestant confession.
Due to increase of the Protestant community, they had to search for new space. The extension of the old city borders by the new expanded town Mainz-Neustadt during the last trimester of the 19th century opened the opportunity to demonstrate the self-confidence of the Protestant community by erecting a new church building. Along with the Kaiserstraße, a new twin lined three-lane boulevard, the church was erected by Eduard Kreyßig, the master builder of Mainz, in Renaissance Revival style. The church was intended to be a representative counterbalance to the Catholic Mainz Cathedral. The mighty dome excels other churches and buildings of the inner city of Mainz.
Besides services, the Christuskirche is shared by lovers of music, since Diethard Hellmann founded in 1954 the Bach Choir and Bach Orchestra to perform especially Bach's cantatas. Traditionally the opening mass services of the University of Mainz at the beginning of the academic term take place here.
The Bassenheimer Hof (Bassenheimer Palace) is an historic building in Mainz, western Germany.
At present (2009) the large structure is the seat of the Ministry of the Interior and Sports of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
The Bassenheimer Hof was erected in 1750 per the plans of the electoral master builder (Oberbaudirektor) Anselm Franz von Ritter zu Groenesteyn (or Grünstein) on behalf of the prince-elector as a retirement home for his sister the widow, the countess of Bassenheim. It was built near the Osteiner Hof.
The architect had been particularly impressed, during his studies in Paris, by the Place Vendôme and Hôtel de Torcy (Hôtel de Beauharnais), with their formal statements and their elegant construction, reflecting the baroque French style.
In 1792 Mainz was invaded and occupied by Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine, at which time the clergy and nobility portion of the town's populace fled for safety. By 1835 the Bassenheimer Hof had been sold to the military government, and was converted into a barracks. It continued as a barracks until 1889. As a result of this and other conversions, the original interior layout, as well as that of the surrounding gardens, is no longer in evidence.
The Museum of Ancient Shipbuilding
In a collection unparalleled in Germany, the museum presents the original remains of five ships dating back to the late Graeco-Roman period. Known as the
Roman ships of Mainz, their construction differed from mediterranean shipbuilding at the time, demonstrating a technical advancement that allowed standardized production. The ships on display represent the last in a long tradition of ancient shipbuilding. Archaeological evidence shows that part of the Rhine fleet was stationed in Mongontiacum (the Latin name for Mainz) soon after a Roman camp was established around 12 or 13 BC. Don't miss the chance to watch museum staff at work as they recreate models of the ancient vessels.
Hours: Open daily except Mondays 10am - 6pm.
Situated in the old quarter of Mainz, the Gutenberg Museum is one of the oldest printing museums, attracting tourists and professionals from all over the world. It was founded in 1900, on the 500th anniversary of the birth of Johannes Gutenberg, and is dedicated to the life and work of Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press. In this printing treasure trove, visitors can explore various sections on printing technology, book design, job printing and bookplates, graphics and posters, paper, type history and modern art books to gain a comprehensive insight into the history of type and printing. The museum's highlights include the famous Gutenberg Bible, which is one of the most beautiful printed books in the world.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 9am - 5pm, Sunday: 11am - 3pm.
Admission: Adults 5 €, Concessions 3 €, Children 8-18 years 2 €.
The Römisch-Germanische (Roman-German) Zentralmuseum
Permanent exhibitions about Prehistory, Roman and Early Medieval Periods can be found in the Palace of the Prince electors. It offers the visitor a broad overview of the Pre- and Early History of Europe from the Neolithic to the Early Medieval Period, preserved and displayed through archaeological evidence.
The Römisch-Germanische Zentralmuseum enjoys an outstanding reputation in Germany and beyond. Contributions to this reputation included the preservation of the remains of the South Tirolian
ice man, the restoration of a Peruvian tomb, and even the organization of field studies in Xian, China, where experts from Mainz examined important ore findings. Visitors can expect a significant range of spectacular findings, which strikingly bridge the gap between the Stone Age and the Middle Ages, in the North West wing of the Kurfürstlichen Schloss. The Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum is both a research institute and museum of archaeology. Its spectrum of studies extends from the Stone Age, 2.5 million years ago, to Medieval Times. Collections and exhibitions serve as a window into the archaeological investigations.
Hours/Prices: Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 6pm. Admission is free although an audio tour is 2 euro;.
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Travel Insider Tips for Mainz
Mainz is a city in Germany and the capital of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate. It was a politically important seat of the Prince-elector of Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire. Mainz is a city with over two thousand years of history. It is located on the river Rhine across from Wiesbaden (Wiesbaden vacation rentals | Wiesbaden travel guide), in the western part of the Frankfurt (Frankfurt vacation rentals | Frankfurt travel guide) Rhine-Main Region; in the modern age, Frankfurt shares much of its regional importance.
Mainz is located on the west bank of the river Rhine, opposite the confluence of the Main with the Rhine. The 2008 population was 196,784 , an additional 18,619 people maintain a primary residence elsewhere but have a second home in Mainz and it is also a part of the Rhein Metro area consisting of 5.8 million people. Mainz is easily reached from Frankfurt International Airport in 25 minutes by commuter railway (Rhine-Main S-Bahn).
The city consists of 15 districts: Altstadt, Neustadt, Mombach, Gonsenheim, Hartenberg-Münchfeld, Oberstadt, Bretzenheim, Finthen, Drais, Lerchenberg, Marienborn, Hechtsheim, Ebersheim, Weisenau, and Laubenheim. Until 1945, the districts of Bischofsheim (now an independent town), Ginsheim-Gustavsburg (which together are an independent town) belonged to Mainz. The former suburbs Amöneburg, Kastel, and Kostheimin short AKKnow are administrated by the city of Wiesbaden (on the north bank of the river). The AKK was separated from Mainz when the Rhine was designated the boundary between the French occupation zone (the later state of Rhineland-Palatinate) and the U.S. occupation zone (Hesse) in 1945.
Things to See
- Roman-Germanic central museum (Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum). It is home to Roman, Medieval, and earlier artifacts.
- Antique Maritime Museum (Museum für Antike Schifffahrt). It houses the remains of five Roman boats from the late 4th century, discovered in the 1980s.
- Roman remains, including Jupiter's column, Drusus' mausoleum, the ruins of the theatre and the aqueduct.
- Mainz Cathedral of St. Martin (Mainzer Dom), over 1,000 years old.
- The Iron Tower (Eisenturm, tower at the former iron market), a tower from the 13th century.
- The Wood Tower (Holzturm, tower at the former wood market), a tower from the 14th century.
- The Gutenberg Museum exhibits an original Gutenberg Bible amongst many other printed books from the 15th century and later.
- The Mainz Old Town what's left of it, the quarter south of the cathedral survived World War II.
- The Electoral Palace (Kurfürstliches Schloss), residence of the prince-elector .
- Marktbrunnen, one of the largest Renaissance fountains in Germany.
- Domus Universitatis (1615), for centuries the tallest edifice in Mainz.
- Christ Church (Christuskirche), built 18981903, bombed in 45 and rebuilt in 19481954.
- The Church of St. Stephan, with post-war windows by Marc Chagall.
- Schönborner Hof (1668).
- Rococo churches of St. Augustin (the Augustinerkirche, Mainz) and St. Peter (the Petruskirche, Mainz). vChurch of St. Ignatius (1763).
- Erthaler Hof (1743).
Interesting to Know
After the last ice age, sand dunes were deposited in the Rhine valley at what was to become the western edge of the city. The Mainz Sand Dunes area is now a nature reserve with a unique landscape and rare steppe vegetation for this area.
Johannes Gutenberg, credited with the invention of the modern printing press with movable type, was born here and died here. The Mainz University, which was refounded in 1946, is named after Gutenberg; the earlier University of Mainz that dated back to 1477 had been closed down by Napoleon's troops in 1798.
Mainz was one of three important centers of Jewish theology and learning in Central Europe during the Middle Ages. Known collectively as Shum, the cities of Speyer (Speyer vacation rentals | Speyer travel guide), Worms (Worms vacation rentals | Worms travel guide) and Mainz played a key role in the preservation and propagation of Talmudic scholarship. (See also: Gershom ben Judah)
Mainz is famous for its Carnival, the Mainzer Fassenacht or Fassnacht, which has developed since the early 19th century. Carnival in Mainz has its roots in the criticism of social and political injustices under the shelter of cap and bells; today, the uniforms of many traditional Carnival clubs still imitate and caricature the uniforms of the French and Prussian troops of the past. The height of the carnival season is on Rosenmontag ("rose Monday", before Ash Wednesday), when there is a large parade in Mainz, with more than 500,000 people celebrating in the streets.
The first ever Katholikentag, a festival-like gathering of German Catholics, was held in Mainz in 1848.
The city is well-known in Germany as the seat of Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (literally, "Second German Television", ZDF), one of two federal nationwide TV broadcasters. There are also a couple of radio stations based in Mainz.
According to legend, Mainz is the supposed birthplace of Pope Joan (John Anglicus), the woman who, disguised as a man, was elected pope, and served for two years during the Middle Ages.
[ source: wikipedia ]
More about the History of Mainz
The Roman stronghold of castrum Moguntiacum, the precursor to Mainz, was founded by the Roman general Drusus perhaps as early as 13 BC. As related by Suetonius the existence of Moguntiacum is well established by four years later (the account of the death and funeral of Nero Claudius Drusus), though several other theories suggest the site may have been established earlier. Although the city is situated opposite the mouth of the Main river, the name of Mainz is not from Main, the similarity being perhaps due to diachronic analogy. Main is from Latin Menus, the name the Romans used for the river. Linguistic analysis of the many forms that the name "Mainz" has taken on, make it clear that it is a simplification of Moguntiacum.
The name appears to be Celtic and ultimately it is from the Celtic. However, it also had become Roman and was selected by the Romans with a special significance. The Roman soldiers defending Gallia had adopted the Gallic god Mogons (Mogounus, Moguns, Mogonino), for the meaning of which etymology offers two basic options: "the great one", similar to Latin magnus, which was used in aggrandizing names such as Alexander magnus, "Alexander the Great" and Pompeius magnus, "Pompey the great", or the god of "might" personified as it appears in young servitors of any type whether of noble or ignoble birth. The Drusus monument (surrounded by the 17th century citadel) raised by Drusus' men to commemorate him.
To name the fort after this particular god was an ideological statement. It was placed in the territory of the Vangiones, a formerly Germanic tribe now Celticised and working for the Romans. Their capital was at Worms (Worms vacation rentals | Worms travel guide) on the same side of the Rhine not far to the south. Dedications of their troops serving in Britain mention the god frequently. Germania Superior was a geographical gateway between Gaul and Germany. The Romans were saying in essence by placing the fort here and naming it that "You barbarians shall not pass into the civilized and international state because the might of its youth inspired by its ancient god will stop you." If the barbarians needed any example, the previous fate of the Vangiones, who had come as conquerors and were conquered, was before them.
Moguntiacum was an important military town throughout Roman times, probably due to its strategic position at the confluence of the Main and the Rhine. The town of Moguntiacus grew up between the fort and the river. The castrum was the base of Legio XIIII Gemina and XVI Gallica (AD 943), XXII Primigenia, IIII Macedonica (4370), I Adiutrix (7088), XXI Rapax (7089), and XIIII Gemina (7092), among others. Mainz was also the base of a Roman river fleet (the remains of Roman patrol boats and cargo barges from about 375/6 were discovered in 1982 and may now be viewed in the Museum für Antike Schifffahrt). The city was the provincial capital of Germania Superior, and had an important funeral monument dedicated to Drusus, to which people made pilgrimages for an annual festival from as far away as Lyon. Among the famous buildings were the largest theatre north of the Alps and a bridge across the rhine.
Alamanni forces under Rando sacked the city in 368. In last days of 406, the Siling and Asding Vandals, the Suebi, the Alans, and other Germanic tribes took advantage of the rare freezing of the Rhine to cross the river at Mainz and overwhelm the Roman defences. Christian chronicles relate that the bishop, Aureus, was put to death by the Alamannian Crocus. The way was open to the sack of Trier (Trier vacation rentals | Trier travel guide) and the invasion of Gaul. This event is familiar to many from the historical novel, Eagle in the Snow, by Wallace Breem.
Throughout the changes of time, the Roman castrum never seems to have been permanently abandoned as a military installation, which is a testimony to Roman military judgement. Different structures were built there at different times. The current citadel originated in 1660, but it replaced previous forts. It was used in World War II. One of the sights at the citadel is still the cenotaph raised by his legionaries to commemorate Drusus.
Through a series of incursions during the 4th century Alsace gradually lost its Belgic ethnic character of formerly Germanic tribes among Celts ruled by Romans and became predominantly influenced by the Alamanni. The Romans repeatedly reasserted control; however, the troops stationed at Mainz became chiefly non-Italic and the emperors had only one or two Italian ancestors in a pedigree that included chiefly peoples of the northern frontier.
The last emperor to station troops serving the western empire at Mainz was Valentinian III, who relied heavily on his Magister militum per Gallias, Flavius Aëtius. By that time the army included large numbers of troops from the major Germanic confederacies along the Rhine, the Alamanni, the Saxons and the Franks. The Franks were an opponent that had risen to power and reputation among the Belgae of the lower Rhine during the 3rd century and repeatedly attempted to extend their influence upstream. In 358 the emperor Julian bought peace by giving them most of Germania Inferior, which they possessed anyway, and imposing service in the Roman army in exchange.
The European chessboard in the time of master Aëtius included Celts, Goths, Franks, Saxons, Alamanni, Huns, Italians, and Alans as well as numerous minor pieces. Aëtius played them all off against one another in a masterly effort to keep the peace under Roman sovereignty. He used Hunnic troops a number of times. At last a day of reckoning arrived between Aëtius and Attila, both commanding polyglot, multi-ethnic troops. Attila went through Alsace in 451, devastating the country and destroying Mainz and Triers with their Roman garrisons. Shortly after he was stalemated by Flavius Aëtius at the Battle of Chalons, the largest of the ancient world.
Aëtius was not to enjoy the victory long. He was assassinated by his employer's own hand in 454, who was himself stabbed to death by friends of Aëtius in 455. As far as the north was concerned this was the effective end of the Roman empire there. After some sanguinary but relatively brief contention a former subordinate of Aëtius, Ricimer, became emperor, taking the name Patrician. His father was a Suebian; his mother, a princess of the Visigoths. Patrician did not rule the north directly but set up a client province there, which functioned independently. The capital was at Soissons. Even then its status was equivocal. Many insisted it was the Kingdom of Soissons.
Previously the first of the Merovingians, Clodio, had been defeated by Aëtius at about 430. His son, Merovaeus, fought on the Roman side against Attila, and his son, Childeric, served in the domain of Soissons. Meanwhile the Franks were gradually infiltrating and assuming power in this domain. They also moved up the Rhine and created a domain in the region of the former Germania Superior with capital at Cologne (Cologne vacation rentals | Cologne travel guide). They became known as the Ripuarian Franks as opposed to the Salian Franks. It is unlikely that much of a population transfer or displacement occurred. The former Belgae simply became Franks.
Events moved rapidly in the late 5th century. Clovis, son of Childeric, became king of the Salians in 481, ruling from Tournai. In 486 he defeated Syagrius, last governor of the Soissons domain, and took northern France. He extended his reign to Cambrai and Tongeren in 490491, and repelled the Alamanni is 496. Also in that year he converted to non-Arian Christianity.
After the Fall of the Roman Empire in 476, the Franks under the rule of Clovis I gained control over western Europe by the year 496. Clovis annexed the kingdom of Cologne in 508. Thereafter, Mainz, in its strategic position, became one of the bases of the Frankish kingdom. Mainz had sheltered a Christian community long before the conversion of Clovis. His successor Dagobert reinforced the walls of Mainz and made it one of his seats. A solidus of Theodebert I (534548) was minted at Mainz.
The Franks united the Celtic and Germanic tribes of Europe. The greatest Frank of all was Charlemagne (768814), who built a new empire in Europe, the Holy Roman Empire. Mainz from its central location became important to the empire and to Christianity. Meanwhile language change was gradually working to divide the Franks. Mainz spoke a dialect termed Ripuarian. On the death of Charlemagne, distinctions between France and Germany began to be made. Mainz was not central any longer but was on the border, creating a question of the nationality to which it belonged, which descended into modern times as the question of Alsace-Lorraine.
In the early Middle Ages, Mainz was a centre for the Christianisation of the German and Slavic peoples. The first Archbishop in Mainz, Boniface, was killed in 754 while trying to convert the Frisians to Christianity and is buried in Fulda (Fulda vacation rentals | Fulda travel guide). Other early archbishops of Mainz include Rabanus Maurus, the scholar and author, and Willigis (9751011), who began construction on the current building of the Mainz Cathedral and founded the monastery of St. Stephan.
From the time of Willigis until the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Archbishops of Mainz were archchancellors of the Empire and the most important of the seven Electors of the German emperor. Besides Rome, the diocese of Mainz today is the only diocese in the world with an episcopal see that is called a Holy See (sancta sedes). The Archbishops of Mainz traditionally were primas germaniae, the substitutes of the Pope north of the Alps.
In 1244, Archbishop Siegfried III granted Mainz a city charter, which included the right of the citizens to establish and elect a city council. The city saw a feud between two Archbishops in 1461, namely Diether von Isenburg, who was elected Archbishop by the cathedral chapter and supported by the citizens, and Adolf II von Nassau (Nassau vacation rentals | Nassau travel guide), who had been named Archbishop for Mainz by the Pope. In 1462, the Archbishop Adolf II raided the city of Mainz, plundering and killing 400 inhabitants. At a tribunal, those who had survived lost all their property, which was then divided between those who promised to follow Adolf II. Those who would not promise to follow Adolf II (amongst them Johann Gutenberg) were driven out of the town or thrown into prison. The new Archbishop revoked the city charter of Mainz and put the city under his direct rule. Ironically, after the death of Adolf II his successor was again Diether von Isenburg, now legally elected by the chapter and named by the Pope.
Early Jewish community
The Jewish community of Mainz dates to the 10th century CE. It is noted for its religious education. Rabbi Gershom ben Judah (9601040) taught there, among others. He concentrated on the study of the Talmud, creating a German Jewish tradition. The Jews of Mainz, Speyer (Speyer vacation rentals | Speyer travel guide) and Worms created a supreme council to set standards in Jewish law and education in the 12th century.
The city of Mainz responded to the Jewish population in a variety of ways, behaving, in a sense, in a bipolar fashion towards them. Sometimes they were allowed freedom and were protected; at other times, they were persecuted. For example, they were expelled in 1462, invited to return, and expelled again in 1474. Outbreaks of the Black Death were usually blamed on the Jews, at which times they were massacred. This unstable pattern, which was not typical for Mainz only, but for whole Europe at that time, went on until World War II.
Nowadays the Jewish community is growing rapidly, and is considering the creation of a new synagogue. The community itself has 1,034 members, according to the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and at least twice as many Jews altogether since many are unaffiliated with Judaism.
Republic of Mainz
During the French Revolution, the French Revolutionary army occupied Mainz in 1792; the Archbishop of Mainz, Friedrich Karl Josef von Erthal, had already fled to Aschaffenburg (Aschaffenburg vacation rentals | Aschaffenburg travel guide) by the time the French marched in. On 18 March 1793, the Jacobins of Mainz, with other German democrats from about 130 towns in the Rhenish Palatinate, proclaimed the Republic of Mainz. Led by Georg Forster representatives of the Mainz Republic in Paris requested political affiliation of the Mainz Republic with France, but too late: As Prussia was not entirely happy with the idea of a democratic free state on German soil, Prussian troops had already occupied the area and besieged Mainz by the end of March, 1793. After a siege of 18 weeks, the French troops in Mainz surrendered on 23 July 1793; Prussians occupied the city and ended the Republic of Mainz. Members of the Mainz Jacobin Club were mistreated or imprisoned and punished for treason.
In 1797, the French returned. The army of Napoléon Bonaparte occupied the German territory to the west of the Rhine river, and the Treaty of Campo Formio awarded France this entire area. On 17 February 1800, the French Département du Mont-Tonnerre was founded here, with Mainz as its capital, the Rhine river being the new eastern frontier of la Grande Nation. Austria and Prussia could not but approve this new border with France in 1801. However, after several defeats in Europe during the next years, the weakened Napoléon and his troops had to leave Mainz in May 1814.
In 1816, the part of the former French Département which is known today as Rhenish Hesse (German: Rheinhessen) was awarded to the Hesse-Darmstadt, Mainz being the capital of the new Hessian province of Rhenish Hesse. From 1816 to 1866, to the German Confederation Mainz was the most important fortress in the defence against France, and had a strong garrison of Austrian and Prussian troops.
In the afternoon of 18 November 1857, a huge explosion rocked Mainz when the citys powder magazine, the Pulverturm, exploded. Approximately 150 people were killed and at least 500 injured; 57 buildings were destroyed and a similar number severely damaged in what was to be known as the Powder Tower Explosion or Powder Explosion.
During the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, Mainz was declared a neutral zone. After the founding of the German Empire in 1871, Mainz no longer was as important a stronghold, because in the war of 1870/71 France had lost the territory of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany, and this defined the new border between the two countries.
For centuries the inhabitants of the fortress of Mainz had suffered from a severe shortage of space which led to disease and other inconveniences. In 1872 Mayor Carl Wallau and the council of Mainz persuaded the military government to sign a contract to expand the city. Beginning in 1874, the city of Mainz assimilated the Gartenfeld, an idyllic area of meadows and fields along the banks of the Rhine River to the north of the rampart. The city expansion more than doubled the urban area which allowed Mainz to participate in the industrial revolution which had previously avoided the city for decades.
Eduard Kreyßig was the man who made this happen. Having been the master builder of the city of Mainz since 1865, Kreyßig had the vision for the new part of town, the Mainz Neustadt. He also planned the first sewer system for the old part of town since Roman times and persuaded the city government to relocate the railway line from the Rhine side to the west end of the town. The main station was built from 1882 to 1884 according to the plans of Philipp Johann Berdellé (18381903).
The Mainz master builder constructed a number of state-of-the-art public buildings, including the Mainz town hall which was the largest of its kind in Germany at that time as well a synagogue, the Rhine harbour and a number of public baths and school buildings. Kreyßig's last work was Christ Church (Christuskirche), the largest Protestant church in the city and the first building constructed solely for the use of a Protestant congregation.
In the 20th century
After World War I the French occupied Mainz between 1919 and 1930 according to the Treaty of Versailles which went into effect 28 June 1919. The Rhineland (in which Mainz is located) was to be a demilitarized zone until 1935 and the French garrison, representing the Triple Entente, was to stay until reparations were paid.
In 1923 Mainz participated in the Rhineland separatist movement that proclaimed a republic in the Rhineland. It collapsed in 1924. The French withdrew on 30 June 1930. Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in January, 1933 and his political opponents, especially those of the Social Democratic Party, were either incarcerated or murdered. Some were able to move away from Mainz in time. One was the political organizer for the SPD, Friedrich Kellner, who went to Laubach (Laubach vacation rentals | Laubach travel guide), where as the chief justice inspector of the district court he continued his opposition against the Nazis by recording their misdeeds in a 900-page diary.
In March, 1933, a detachment from the National Socialist Party in Worms brought the party to Mainz. They hoisted the swastika on all public buildings and began to denounce the Jewish population in the newspapers. In 1936 the forces of the Third Reich reentered the Rhineland with a great fanfare, the first move of the Third Reich's meteoric expansion. The former Triple Entente took no action.
During World War II, more than 30 air raids destroyed about 80 percent of Mainz city centre, including most of the historic buildings. Mainz fell to XII Corps, 90th Division, of the Third Army under the command of General George S. Patton, Jr. on 22 March 1945. Patton used the ancient strategic gateway through Germania Superior to cross the Rhine south of Mainz, drive down the Danube towards Czechoslovakia and end the possibility of a Bavarian redoubt crossing the Alps in Austria when the war ended. With regard to the Roman road over which Patton attacked Trier, he said:
"one could almost smell the coppery sweat and see the low dust clouds where those stark fighters moved forward into battle."
From 1945 to 1949, the city was part of the French zone of occupation. When the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate was founded on 18 May 1947, Koblenz (Koblenz vacation rentals | Koblenz travel guide) was the temporary capital; in 1950 Mainz became the capital of the new state. In 1962, the diarist, Friedrich Kellner, returned to spend his last years in Mainz. His life in Mainz, and the impact of his writings, is the subject of the Canadian documentary My Opposition: the Diaries of Friedrich Kellner.
Following the withdrawal of French forces from Mainz, the U.S. Army Europe occupied the military bases in Mainz. Today USAREUR only occupies McCulley Barracks in Wackernheim (Wackernheim vacation rentals | Wackernheim travel guide) and the Mainz Sand Dunes for training area. Mainz is home to the headquarters of the Bundeswehr's Wehrbereichskommando II and other units.
[ source: wikipedia ]
With a population of almost 200,000, Mainz is located on the western bank of the Rhine River, opposite the confluence of the Main River with the Rhine. Mainz was a politically important seat of the Prince-Elector of Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously it was a Roman fort city which commanded the western bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire. If you make a stop in Mainz, be sure to include the following sites in your itinerary: the Church of St. Stephan (windows designed by Marc Chagall), the Roman-Germanic Central Museum, Roman ruins (including a theater and an aqueduct), the Mainz Cathedral, and the Gutenberg Museum (the famous inventor of the printing press was born and also died here).
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