Maintz Germany City Facts
My first visit to this city of great historical significance to printing was
in 1963. I purchased German wall clocks from an antique dealer in Maintz
Gonsenheim. For several years after I bought many German clocks which were sent
back to the USA for collectors.
The Gutenberg museum is also in this town. It has quite an assortment of
printing history which I particularly like.
A city of west-central Germany at the confluence of the Rhine and Main
rivers west-southwest of Frankfurt. Built on the site of a Roman camp founded
in the 1st century B.C., it is an important industrial and
commercial city. Johann Gutenberg established a printing industry here in the
15th century. Population: 186,000.
, city (1994 pop. 185,487), capital of Rhineland-Palatinate, W Germany, a
port on the E bank of the Rhine River opposite the mouth of the Main River.
Its French name, also sometimes used in English, is Mayence. The city is an
industrial, commercial, and transportation center. Chemicals,
pharmaceuticals, machinery, glassware, and musical instruments are produced;
the city is also a trade center for Rhine wines. Mainz is one of the great
historical cities of Germany. It grew on the site of the Roman camp of
Maguntiacum, or Mogontiacum (founded 1st cent. B.C.). The
city was made (746–47) the seat of the first German archbishop, who was
St. Boniface (c.675–754). The later archbishops acquired considerable
territory around Mainz and in Franconia, on both sides of the Main, which
they ruled as princes of the Holy Roman Empire. Very early they received a
vote in the imperial elections and had precedence over the other electors;
they crowned the German kings. From the 16th cent., with the emperors-elect,
the archbishops-electors were, ex officio, archchancellors of the Holy Roman
Empire. Under the rule of the archbishops-electors Mainz flourished as a
commercial and cultural center. Johann Gutenberg (c.1397–1468) lived in
Mainz, which he made the first printing center of Europe. Occupied in 1792
by the French, the city was ceded to France by the treaties of Campo Formio
(1797) and Lunéville (1801), and the archbishopric was secularized and
reduced to a diocese in 1803. The last archbishop, K. T. von Dalberg, became
(1806) prince-primate of the Confederation of the Rhine. The Congress of
Vienna made (1815) Mainz a federal fortress of the German Confederation and
awarded it, with Rhenish Hesse, to the grand duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt. The
city was made (1816) the provincial capital of Rhenish Hesse. It was
(1873–1918) a fortress of the German Empire. Mainz was severely damaged
during World War II, but was largely restored and rebuilt after 1945.
Noteworthy structures in the old inner city include the six-towered
Romanesque cathedral (consecrated 1009; restored 19th cent.); the
Renaissance-style electoral (archiepiscopal) palace (17th–18th cent.),
which houses an art gallery and a museum of Roman and Germanic antiquities;
and the Church of St. Peter (18th cent.). The Univ. of Mainz was founded in
1477, was discontinued in 1816, and was reestablished in 1946 as the
Johannes Gutenberg Univ. In 1945 the city's suburbs on the right bank of the
Rhine were transferred to the state of Hesse.
Map of Germany showing Mainz
Mainz is located on the left bank of the river Rhine,
opposite the confluence of the Main
river with the Rhine. Population (2002): 183,822 (an additional 18,619
people maintain a primary residence elsewhere but have a second
home in Mainz). Mainz is easily reached from Frankfurt
International Airport in 25 minutes by commuter railway (S-Bahn).
The city consists of 15 districts: Altstadt, Neustadt, Mombach,
Oberstadt, Bretzenheim, Finthen, Drais, Lerchenberg, Marienborn, Hechtsheim,
Ebersheim, Weisenau, and Laubenheim. Until 1945, the districts of Bischofsheim
(now an independent town), Ginsheim and Gustavsburg (which together are an
independent town) belonged to Mainz. The former suburbs Amöneburg, Kastel,
and Kostheim—in short AKK—now belong to 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 US occupation zone (Hessia)
The Roman stronghold of castrum
Moguntiacum, the precursor to Mainz, was founded by the Roman
BC. 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 castrum was the base of Legio
XIV Gemina and XVI Gallica
AD), Legion XXII Pia Fidelis Primagenia, IV
among others. It 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 Superiore, and had an important
funeral monument dedicated to Trajan, to which people made pilgrimages for
an annual festival from as far away as Lyon.
forces under Rando sacked the city in 368.
In last days of 406, the Siling and Asding Vandals,
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
and the invasion of Gaul. This event is familiar to many from the historical
in the Snow, by Wallace
After the Fall of the Roman Empire in 476
CE, the Franks
under the rule of Clovis
I gained control over western Europe by the year 496.
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.
In the Holy
Roman Empire, which was founded in 962,
of Mainz was one of the prince-electors.
In the Middle
Ages, Mainz was a centre for the Christianisation
of the German
peoples. The first Archbishop of Mainz, Boniface,
was killed while trying to convert the Frisians to Christianity and is
buried in Fulda.
Beginning with Willigis
until the end of the Holy
Roman Empire in 1806,
of Mainz were archchancellors of the Empire and the most important ones
of the seven Electors
to elect the German Emperor. Besides Rome,
Mainz 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, the Archbishop Siegfried III granted Mainz the town rights, 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 supported by the citizens, and
Adolf II von Nassau,
who had been named bishop for Mainz by the Pope.
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 denied Mainz its town rights and made the city an archiepiscopal
During the French
Revolution, the French Revolutionary army occupied Mainz in 1792;
of Mainz, Mr. Erthal, had already fled by the time the French marched
in. On 18
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 22
Prussians occupied the city and ended the Republic of Mainz. Members of the
Club were mistreated or imprisoned and punished for treason.
the French returned. The army of Napoléon
Bonaparte (Napoleon I of France) occupied the German territory to the
west of the Rhine
river, and the Treaty
of Campo Formio awarded France this entire area. On 17
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
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
was awarded to the Grand
Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt,
Mainz being the capital of the new Hessian
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
In the afternoon of 18
a huge explosion rocked Mainz when the city’s 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
Wallau and the council of Mainz persuaded the military government to
sign a contract for the expansion of the city. Beginning in 1874,
the city of Mainz assimilated the Gartenfeld, an idyllic area of
meadows and fields along the shore 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 passed the city by for decades.
Mainz towards the Rhine river (around 1890)
Eduard Kreyßig was the man who made this happen. Having been the master
builder of the city of Mainz since 1865,
Mr. Kreyßig had the vision of the new part of the town, the Mainz Neustadt;
he also planned the very first sewer system (since Roman times) for the old
part of the town, and it was he who persuaded the city government to
relocate the railroad route from the Rhine side to the west end of the town.
The Mainz master builder constructed a number of state-of-the-art public
buildings, including the Mainz town hall — which was the largest one of
its kind in Germany at that time — as well a synagogue, the Rhine harbor,
and a number of public baths and school buildings. Mr. Kreyßig's last work
was the Christ Cathedral, which is the protestant counterpart to the
1,000-year-old catholic Mainz
After the end of World
War I, Mainz was occupied by the French
War II, more than 30 air raids and bomb attacks destroyed about 80% of
the inner city of Mainz, including most of the historic buildings.
the city was again occupied by the French military. When the federal state
was founded on 18
was the temporary capital; in 1950
Mainz became the capital of the new state.
Mainz is twinned
and is a ‘Friendship citiy’ to:
Roman-Germanic central museum (Römisch-Germanisches
Zentralmuseum) – Roman, Medieval, and earlier artifacts
Antique Maritime Museum (Museum für Antike Schifffahrt) –
the remains of five Roman boats from the late 4th century,
discovered in the 1980s
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
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 Electoral Palace (Kurfürstliches Schloss) – residence
of the prince-elector
Christ Cathedral (Christuskirche) – built 1898–1903,
bombed in ’45
and rebuilt in 1948–1954
The Church of St. Stephan – with post-war windows by Marc
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
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 during the Middle Ages. Known collectively as 'Shum',
the cities of Speyer,
and Mainz played a key role in the preservation and propagation of Talmudic
Mainz is famous for its Carnival,
the Mainz Fassenacht, which has developed since the early 19th
century, and is celebrated in a fountain near the centre of the city.
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 city is well-known in Germany as the seat of Zweites Deutsches
Fernsehen ("Germany Channel 2", ZDF),
one of two government owned nationwide TV broadcasters. There are also a
couple of radio stations based in Mainz.
Mainz is called by a number of alternative
names in other languages and dialects. These include: Määnz
(formerly Meenz) in the local West
Middle German dialect, and Mayence in French.
The latter name was also used in English,
but this usage has almost completely disappeared. Other names for this city
are: Magonza (Italian),
and Mohuč (Czech,
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