Visiting Mainz, Germany

Mainz (Germany) is located where the river Mainz intersects with the river Rhine and from Frankfurt it is a beautiful bike ride along the river Mainz on a segregated bike path.   To cross the Rhine, you get to use a small track along the train bridge, which is pretty cool. 

photo of the river rhine at Mainz

The path continues along the Rhine right to the center of town. 

Walking around Mainz is like walking into an icecream shop - beautiful pastel colours everywhere.  

Mainz was founded in the 1st century BC by a Roman general Nero Claudius Drusus and in the 8th century it became an important city within the Holy Roman Empire, as capital of the Electorate of Mainz and seat of the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz [Wikipedia]

We stayed in the hotel Havana, which we'd highly recommend. Very large suites, modern and clean, with kitchen, full bathroom, and they have a place (a 'cellar', said the owner) to store your bike... a place which doubles up, it seems, as a night club, so check your bike's sobriety the next day and have an aspirin handy.

This hotel is a few minutes from the center of town, so great location!




Heilig Geist

Side view of Heilig Geist

Right across from the hotel is a fascinating building called the "Heilig Geist" (Holy Ghost).  It looked neat and reminiscent of islamic architecture (have been struggling with the right term here - comments welcome), so I got curious. 

The building has a very interesting history

Built in 1236, it was championed by arch-bishop Siegfried III von Eppstein and modeled after the Santo Spirito in Sassa in Rome .  Santo Spirito functioned as a home and hospital for pilgrims to Rome for many centuries, and the "Heilig Geist" building, too, served many purposes, including functioning as a hospital, home for the elderly the poor and the sick, and in the 1800's, under French rule, it was used as ammunition depot and for gymnastic lessons and apparently in the 1950's a popular dance hall. It now hosts a lively restaurant.Photo of Heilig Geist door









The Dom in Mainz

You can find the memorial plaque (grave marker) of arch-bishop Siegfried III von Eppstein (of above "Heilige Geist" fame) in the Mainz Dom, where he seems to be petting two young boys' heads.  

However, we're told this is meant as representation of Siegfried crowning Henry Raspe and William II of Holland.  

In medieval art, a person's size often indicates importance, rather than a aiming for phto-realism, which may explain why Henry and William look like children to me.

Turns out, not only are we dealing with a spatial misrepresentation in the sizing, we're dealing with a temporal miss as well!  I searched so long to try to find the event that is shown here - turns out they were two different events!!    Henry was crowned 'anti-king' in 1242 but died less than two years later.  William II is crowned subsequently around 1248.  I will try to find out why they are referenced to as 'anit-king'.... 

The building of the Dom was initiated by Willigis, arch-bishop of Mainz (940-1011 CE).  Seems the building was ill-fated as it burned down on opening day in 1009 CE.  Not letting himself be discouraged, Willigis started the rebuild right away, however since the new Dom was not complete when he passed away (1011 CE),  he was buried in the Church of St Stephan

Over the centuries, the Dom was damaged, repaired, damaged again, improved, bombed in WW II, and rebuilt again and is now an amalgam of periods and styles, like so many European churches.  It is a stunning building and well worth a visit.



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