On the east side of the cathedral, underneath the distinctive three spires, is the wide open Liebfrauenplatz. The reason the square is so big is that it used to be home its namesake's church: the Liebfrauenkirche, but this was pulled down during the Napoleonic wars. Now it is home to that church's foundations, a patch of flowers, a chain of plane trees, but most importantly of all: the Gutenberg Museum, housed in the grand pink building of the Haus zum Römischen Kaiser (Roman Emperor's House). Going east takes you to the Rhine and the town hall, and going north and west around the side of the cathedral takes you to the prettier, if smaller, Marktplatz.
On both my first two visits to Mainz the musical tiles on Adenauer-Ufer have proven to be irresistible to children and even some adults. The chiming bells beneath the tiles are activated by stepping, walking or jumping and are so in tune that the pitch-perfect foot of a Chinese tourist was able to tap out a homeland favourite while my son waited patiently nearby to have his turn.
The hourglass is said to be the most accurate (and one of the largest) in the world. Every hour it turns around and grit falls from one half into the other. Unfortunately, we were there some minutes before the hour and did not see anything falling before the full hour. It looks like the only accurate thing about it is the fact that it is controlled by the atomic clock in Braunschweig.
The hourglass belongs to the Natural History Museum which is located next to it. As it is located outside and works 24/7 you can visit it any time. - but of course it makes sense to be there on the hour. Not a big or exciting thing to see, but worth a minute of detour if you are at the Natural Museum anyway or are visiting a nearby sight like St. Christoph's church.
As a real Roman city, Mainz also had an aquaeduct. It is little known about this waterline. Probably., it was built in the year 69. Still it is not sure until when exactly it was used.
Little is left of it, only 69 pillars which have been eroded into stumps have survived. That means, that it is barely recognised as a former aquaeduct on the first sight. Locals therefore just refer to it as Roman Stones - Roemersteine.
Drususstein (Drusus' Stone)
The Drussusstein is not a stone as the Name suggests but a Roman cenotaph for the military commander Drusus who is seen as the founder of the military base which later evolved to become Mainz. It was erected in the year 9 BC and is one of only two of its kind preserved north of the Alps. The monument consisted of a squared base and a round tower. Little of its outer parts has survived, especially the base eroded. Due to its tower-like shape, it has been used as a watchtower in the middle ages. The story of the Drussustein is well described in a couple of explanatory boards next to the monument.
For many centuries, it was possible to have a good view of the city from the Drususstein - until the Zitadelle (citadel) was built in the 18th century. Today, the Drususstein is almost hidden in a back corner of the citadel. Still, it is possible to visit this ancient monument which is regarded by the locals as one of the most beloved landmarks.
Cruising on the Rhine
Mainz is still a busy port on the Rhine, with a steady flow of barge traffic. There are also river cruises out of Mainz, as well as nearby Cologne. You can get an extended pass that allows you to travel between the two cities. Or you can sign up for a short day cruise on the river. Either way, you'll see some enjoyable sights along the way.Related to:
This is a picture of the...
This is a picture of the famous Lorelei Cliff which is located towards the middle of the Rhine River section I toured. It's somewhere south of Boppard but north of St. Goar. This cliff is famous because old sailors who used to use this river believed there was a ghost who lured their boats into the cliff by her beauty. I guess she was named Lorelei? It was hard to hear the commentator on the boat! This is one of the 'hardest' stretches of the river to navigate because the cliff juts out so sharply and the bend in the river is horrid.
A park for the people
A park for the people, "Volkspark" - that's the name of the largest greenspace Mainz has to offer. It is located north of the city centre and includes a large grass area where you can play football/soccer, picknick, grill or just relax in the sun. There's also a adventure-playground for kids, a cafe, a minigolf course and across the street you find a bakery. And on the northern end of the Volkspark there is the youth hostel.
If you walk towards downtown Mainz to the southern end of the park, there is another park - the Rosengarten (rose garden), which is only separated from the Volkspark by a small street. There you not only find roses but also a little zoo with flamingos, goats, sheep, tame - and green wild parrots flying around!
The "Favorite Park Hotel", which is located at the street between Vorlkspark and Rosengarten also offers a aquarium and terrarium inside the lobby - as well as a restaurant and a beergarden with children playground.
The Volkspark is a perfect start or ending point for a walk to discover Mainz. From the park you can either go directly to the old city (via the little goat and sheep "zoo", cross the street at the redlight under the bridge and head towards the movie theatre "CineStar"). Or your can head to the rhine river (by taking the bridge after Favorite hotel on the right over the street and railway, and head down towards the rhine walkway).Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
- Family Travel
Sparkling Wine Cellar
The Kupferberg company produces sparkling wine since the middle of the 19th century. At their house they offer a guided tour through the cellars and a museum with interesting pieces, such as historic advertisements or champagne glasses. The guided tour also includes a tasting if you wish. You need to apply for tours in advance. There is also a boutique selling sparkling wine and accessories.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
Mainz was an immense Medieval city. Its sky above was riven with towers and soaring spires that have since been leveled by land war and aerial bombardment. The Fischtor was one of 34 gates and watchtowers and was about seven stories high. It protected the city from the harbor entrance. Now the gate and all the buildings around it have gone, replaced by a fish themed fountain and a rectangle of grass leading to the river.
Soccer - Mainz 05
The soccer club FSV Mainz 05 is in the first division (Bundesliga) and plays against famous teams like Bayern Munich. The atmosphere in the stadium is unique in Germany - worth a visit even for folks who are not into soccer: You can see fans of all ages and sexes, a lot of families with kids, it's a party-like atmosphere, boiling during the matches but always not too agressive (no need to worry about your safety).
Although it is difficult to get tickets right before the matches, with a bit of luck you can be successfull in front of the gates.Related to:
- Family Travel
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