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Walking tour of Mainz
I wasn't sure whether to do a guided walking tour of Mainz or just find my own way about but I'm so glad I took the guided walk. Although Mainz isn't a big city, it's historical stuff is a bit more spread out. If I'd just followed my own way on a map I would have missed half the things I saw and probably taken twice the time!
Plus, when you go on a good guided walking tour, you get a commentary on history and the significance of the things you see. To me this makes the whole experience much more enjoyable.
I wanted an English language tour so I did one with 'Walking Wiesbaden and Mainz'. (Actually, I ended up doing two tours with them - the Wiesbaden as well as the Mainz tour - several months apart!) Website: http://walkingwiesbaden.blogspot.com/
The Mainz tour included the Citadelle, old town houses, cathedrals, Gutenberg stuff... with many cool extra things like the Knights Templar district and medieval Hospital site.
I highly recommend both Mainz and the walking tour.
- Historical Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Temple of Isis and Mater Magna
Construction projects in Mainz are rather risky as chances are high that your construction site will turn into an archaeological excavation site instead. That happened in 1999 when the Roemerpassage shopping mall was built. A temple dedicated to the goddesses Isis and Mater Magna was discovered. It is the only one preserved in Germany dedicated to these two goddesses.
Though the shopping mall was finally built, the remains of the temple were left on its original spot and can be seen in a small museum in the basement of the mall. Topics covered in the museum are the items found on site and religious life in Roman Mainz. The discovery and archaeological excavation is not well covered but can be seen in books sold at the information desk.
Most of the information is provided in German only. Entry is free, but they expect a small donation depending on your own budget. Plan around 30-40 minutes to visit this place.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Holzturm and Schinderhannes
The Holzturm is one of only three remaining towers of the medieval city fortification. Its predecessor building was first mentioned in 1366, the current tower is from the early 15th century. In the 17th century, the tower lost its function in the city's defence system and it became a prison. The most infamous inmate was called Schinderhannes. He was a murderer the leader of a robber gang and was executed in 1803 after spending 15 months in the Holzturm. Schinderhannes has become a kind of icon and a nearby pub is named after him.
In the late 19th century, the prison was given up. Later, during WWII, the Holzturm was severely damaged. Recosntruction was completed in 1961. Today, some caritative and cultural organisations are located in there.
Mainz once had a city wall with a history dating back to Roman times. Although the medieval city wall was built in the late 12th century, it followed the line of the Roman one and even used some of its remains. Today, not much has survived of the city walls. If you like, you can trace down some remains in Mainz city centre. Beside three towers (Eisenturm and Holzturm close to the Rhine, Alexanderturm close to the Kupferberg Terrace) there are some remaining fragments:
- Close to the Alexanderturm, there are the remains of a Roman gate (described in a separate tip) with a small part of the Roman city wall.
- Apiece of the medieval city wall can be seen at Schlossergasse, close to the junction with Weintorstrasse. This part is located just a few steps away from the Holzturm.
- Another piece of the medieval city wall is preserved next to a parking lot, in front of Hintere Bleiche 10 (roughly between central train station and Landesmuseum). This is not as well preserved as the Schlossergasse piece.
In despite of these nice views...
In despite of these nice views Mainz is not such a bright city overall; just outside the downtown it's a little bit mixed up with some ugly building as well.
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Mainz Travel Guide
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