Germany off the beaten track

The romantic Heidelberg Castle © Heidelberg Marketing GmbH

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On the track of history

Visitors from all countries see and marvel at how an ingenious invention from Mainz 500 years ago conquered the world. But the age of Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century was just one of the fruitful epochs in the history of Mainz, which was often also the history of the Holy Roman Empire.

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.

Discover Mainz

See the best of Mainz

Inspiration, discoveries, relaxation, family fun: whatever your mood and whoever you´re with, an escape to the beautiful and historic places makes a perfect day out.

Mainz: Guided Walking Tour

Enjoy your guided walking tour through the city's history from the beginning until today: the Roman period, the "Mainzer Dom" (Mainz Cathedral), the Old Town and the modern Mainz city center. The Mainz walking tours lead to the sites of famous monument builders, follow the traces of well-known figures and will fascinate you with unusual views of the city.

Further information

European History

Golden Mainz: The archbishop of Mainz was also the archchancellor of the German Empire. He was responsible for the organization of the elections of the German kings in the Middle Ages.