"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad


Mainz, Mainz, Oh My!

The city of Mainz is known for its Dom (cathedral) and as the home of Johannes Gutenberg (inventor of the printing press), but we know Mainz as the home-away-from-home of our friends Sam and Jamie. We took a trip to Mainz over the weekend to spend some time with them and to explore their town.

Jamie and Sam on the bank of the Rhine River in Mainz

The Romanesque Dom in the center of the Altstadt (old town) is a 12th century replacement of the first one that burnt down in 1066.

(Side note: It's funny how now when I see a structure that dates from the 18th or 19th century I think, "Oh, that's not that old," whereas I used to think our house back in the U.S. was really old because it was built in 1935. Now it takes being from the 11th or 12th century for me to be like, "Wow. That's old." I guess that is what touring Germany does to you after awhile.)

One weird thing about this Dom is that it has merchant buildings connected to it which make it look a bit bigger than it is.

Dom and connected buildings below

Jamie, Penelope and I in front of the market by the Dom

St. Boniface statue outside of the Dom

inside the Dom

interesting sculpture inside the Dom--looks like crucificion and ascenscion tied into one

other side of the Dom

Dom family portrait

Penelope portrait

Mainz was pounded by bombers during WWII, so most of the city's original structures were destroyed. Fortunately, several of the historic buildings surrounding the Dom were either spared or rebuilt. Here are a couple charming ones in the Marktplatz.

Our favorite sight in Mainz was St. Stephen's church. It was founded in 990 and sits atop the highest hill in the city. During WWII the church was badly damaged, including its stained glass windows.

That was when the famous artist Marc Chagall stepped in. Chagall was actually Jewish and had to flee his home in France during the Nazi occupation. He decided to design the stained-glass windows at St. Stephan's as a symbol of Jewish-German reconciliation. The pictures in the windows focus on scenes from the Old Testament, demonstrating the commonalities between the Jewish and Christian traditions.

The second we stepped inside the church, we were blown away by how striking his work is. It was like being inside of a Chagall painting.

It was difficult to capture the images in the windows on camera, but if you are a fan of Chagall, it is well worth the trip to see these.

windows that line the aisles

windows behind the altar depicting Old Testament stories

a close up--the figures look whimsical and almost as if they floating, just like many of the figures in Chagall's paintings

dove windows in the back of the church

That is all for Mainz, but next Sam and Jamie took us across the river to the town of Wiesbaden. But I'll save those pictures for another post...

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