Much of the centre of Mainz was destroyed by Allied bombing in the Second World War. Over 1.5 million cubic tons of rubble had to be removed and everyone aged between 14-60 was asked to perform voluntary work to help achieve this. The city has been rebuilt and the new complements the old.
The C13th church of St Christoph was destroyed by bombing on 27th February 1945 and has been left as a memorial to the destruction of the city and the dead of the city.
Mainz is a city of big buildings and wide streets. The Regional Parliament meets in Deutschhaus, the Baroque Palace built for the Archbishop of Mainz by the river.
The Eisenturm or Iron Tower is one of the original gateways into the city. Built in 1240 it also served as a watch tower and later as a gaol. It was damaged by bombing and has been rebuilt. It now houses artist’s exhibitions.
Mainz has one of the best markets in Germany and from the river is approached through a garden of herbs and brightly coloured medicinal plants. The market place is lined with medieval houses and stalls sell fruit, vegetables and flowers, all carefully displayed. There are stalls selling bread and honey and even a stall just selling different varieties of potatoes.
The Romanesque “Cathedral”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/rhine/g_mainz/cathedral/index.html towers above the market stalls. Impressive from the outside, it has the WOW factor as soon as you walk in with gloriously carved statues and memorials on the pillars of the arcades and side altars with splendidly carved reredos. It is also unusual in that it has two chancels – one at each end.
Also in the Market Place is the Gutenberg Museum. Gutenberg was born in Mainz and was responsible for the introduction of the printing press in Europe and the first printed Bible. The museum covers the history of printing with examples from across the world and even has an exhibition on electronic books. There is a reconstruction of Gutenberg’s print shop and hand press.
The Museum of Ancient Sea Travel on Neutorstrasse, 1km south east of the Market Place has the remains of five C5th century Roman warship wrecks salvaged from the Rhine in the 1980’s. Next to them are replicas re-constructed from these.
Mainz is a popular stopping point for Rhine cruises and the city centre is only a few minutes walk from the river. It is an attractive city. There are more pictures “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/rhine/g_mainz/city/index.html