We were curious to check out Mainz, a quiet university city about two hours from Luxembourg. Mainz is very close to Frankfurt, where I’ve spent a lot of time and always enjoyed myself (not that liking one city ensures satisfaction with a neighbor, but it’s not a bad assumption), and I had heard favorable things – that it had a young vibe, good wines and plenty of sights to fill a weekend.
Mainz’s main draw is the Gutenberg Museum, which honors the city’s best-known native, Johannes Gutenberg, who brought printing to Europe in the 15th century. Gutenberg invented mechanical movable type printing, which enabled the distribution of information and educational materials. Imagine life without the printing press!
Though the city has a long history, from its start around the 13th century as a Roman stronghold, most of it was rebuilt after WWII’s destructive airstrikes. The result is a mish-mash of old streets and squares lined with modern-ish buildings, traditional half-timbered houses and Rococo buildings. There’s an air of French influence in the décor, which makes sense since the French occupied Mainz in the 18th century and twice in the 20th.
Mainz is situated at the confluence of the Main and Rhine Rivers. Its location on the Rhine made it a natural river port city since the Rhine connects with the Neckar, the Main and the Moselle.
Though the Gutenberg Museum was closed during our visit, we still enjoyed walking around, visiting the many churches, sampling the local wines in the many welcoming wine taverns and soaking in the atmosphere.