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Hailed by some as "the Man of the Millennium" there is little doubt as to the impact that Johannes Gutenberg had on the world. His dream of reproducing manuscripts without losing quality, but equally without the labourious manual work that had traditionally been required, inspired him to invent the printing press. While the Chinese had discovered the printing press many centuries previously, it was the automation of this work and the way this allowed the production of books for the masses that changed the Western world, and perhaps the entire world, forever.
Prior to Gutenberg books were only accessible to a privileged few, and the bible, the most common source of stories and parables of the time, was not written in the language of the people who it was taught to. Gutenberg's press changed all that, and soon there were books all over Europe, and bibles that people could read and discuss. Political and religious movements flourished with the ability to get their message across to massive audiences. It's hard to imagine what kind of a revelation it must have been in the day to suddenly have access to books from all over the world, telling stories of lives that you could never have experienced before.
Gutenberg himself, like many a great man, did not have his greatness recognised in his day. In fact his invention ruined him: the cost of development was so great that when it was complete his greedy creditors confiscated his inventions and left him with nothing. He died living off charity in order to fund his continued research into his dream of mass publication. Thankfully the city that once ruined him now recognises his greatness and celebrates him all over the city, from the monument here to his very first printed bible hidden in the vaults of the Gutenberg Museum.
Gutenbergplatz is one of the central squares of Mainz. Except for buses, no motorized traffic is allowed.
When you sit down at one of the outdoor cafés, be sure you get a seat facing either the State Theater (shown here) or the Cathedral, because those are the only two buildings that are worth looking at. The others are highly undistinguished, to say the least.
The people are nice, though.
Gutenberg statue and the cathedral
This is the statue of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, on Gutenbergplatz near the cathedral. He is looking straight at the State Theater.
A short distance away in the same pedestrian zone is the highly interesting Gutenberg Museum (next tip).
Gutenbergplatz (Gutenberg Square) is not a real square but more like a kind of a pedestrianized street with occasional bus traffic. It has a couple of shops and restaurants on the southern side while the northern side is dominated by the theatre.
The square is named after Johannes Gutenberg, the city's most famous son e invented printing with movable letters in 1455 and is therefore the mind of one of history's most important inventions. The Gutenberg statue on Gutenbergplatz is sometimes seen with some accessoire like a funny hat, especially during Mainz carnival.
Mainz down town
Whoever wishes to do things on his or her own going about on foot, can make use of the actual guides and immerse themselves in a historical trip through time.
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