Positioned on the west bank of the Rhine River, Mainz was originally founded as a military fortress by the Romans in the 1st century BC. It flourished in the 8th century as part of the Holy Roman Empire and is famously the birthplace of the printing press inventor, Johannes Gutenberg. Modern-day Mainz is clustered with half-timbered houses that were rebuilt following World War II.
Things to do in Mainz
Stroll through Mainz’s Old Town to explore its medieval market squares and see its beautifully reconstructed buildings. Highlights include the Kirschgarten, home to the oldest half-timbered building in Mainz, and the Markt where a Renaissance fountain has centre stage. A lively produce market trades here several days a week.
One of Mainz’s most striking architectural landmarks is St. Martin's Cathedral, a Romanesque-style house of worship built from red sandstone. Founded in 975, it houses the tombs and funerary monuments of several powerful prince-bishops, as well as statues dedicated to Saint Boniface and the Virgin Mary. Learn about its restoration following World War II and admire the religious artwork on display in the treasury.
Occupying a Renaissance townhouse opposite the cathedral is the Gutenberg Museum, which is named after the German inventor who introduced printing to Europe in the 15th century. Its exhibits include several bibles that Johannes Gutenberg published, as well as an example of a Japanese woodblock printing that dates back to 1770. See the vintage printing equipment on display, together with bookplates once belonging to Albert Einstein and Charles Dickens.
Getting around Mainz
Mainz is a 45-minute drive from Frankfurt and 30 minutes from Frankfurt Airport. Regular trains connect to the Mainz railway station and buses travel throughout the city. The Old Town of Mainz can easily be explored on foot.