Why go?Discover the origins of the printed word, a traditional zest for life, wines and the cultural heritage of the more than two thousand year old city of Mainz. Visitors from all over the world are fascinated by the ingenious invention that conquered the world 500 years ago. But the age of Johannes Gutenberg (inventor of the printing press with moveable metal types) in the 15th century was just one of the fruitful epochs in the history of Mainz.
The adoptive son of the Roman Emperor Augustus, Drusus, is regarded as being the founder of the city. In the year 13 B.C., he established his legion's camp on the rising ground above the confluence of the Main and Rhine Rivers: "Moguntiacum", today's Mainz, was born. The location, the mild climate and the political developments in the ancient empire led to the early flourishing of the city.
The influence of the Mainz ecclesiastics as archchancellors of the Holy Roman Empire and organizers of the elections of the German kings in the Middle Ages was enormous. This is also nicely reflected in the epithet "Golden Mainz". The Jewish tradition of "Magenza" also lasted from the Middle Ages until the 20th century. Poetry and prayers bear witness to the fame of the city's scholars. Mainz's Jüdischer Friedhof (Jewish Cemetery) contains Europe's oldest gravestone.
The citizens of Mainz, including the polymath Georg Forster, became famous for the development of German democracy. In 1792, following the model of the French revolutionaries, committed men founded a Jacobin Club. The Elector had already fled from the city before the revolutionary army which was thus able to take Mainz almost without a fight. The Rhenish-German National Convention met in the "Deutschhaus" (German House) and is regarded as the first German parliament.