Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mainz and the Gutenberg Museum - October 24, 2015

Back of the Cathedral in Mainz. Lady in the foreground looks cheerful, doesn't she?
We joined three other couples in Mainz about 45 minutes southwest of Frankfurt. This city was founded as early as 13 AD by Romans as an outpost of the empire. It eventually became the capital of the Roman province Germania. The city is on the western side of the Rhein River where the Rhein and the Main rivers come together. Saturday is apparently market day in Mainz in the plazas surrounding the cathedral in the old city. Our intention was to visit the Gutenberg Museum (more about that in a minute), and the market was a bonus.

When we arrived, the market was teeming with people. Bakers, butchers, cheese makers, vegetable and fruit vendors, flower sellers, and assorted other marketers were set up everywhere. With a couple of exceptions, a person with a rolling shopping bag (there were many) could do an entire week's grocery shopping, including wine and flowers. We really enjoyed wandering through the crowds looking at the beautiful fruit and vegetables and sampling unusual cheese and bread.
Cold and damp in the morning

Cut flowers or arrangements - everything was available
Everything is metric - you buy 10 roses, not a dozen
The covered stalls tended to be a little more expensive - guess you have to pay for the tent

These guys had magnificent vegetables

These are tomatoes. We've never seen any like these. We should have bought one to try it out.
There were acres of marketplace
Fruit, wine, fruit preserves, and vinegars
Crepes filled with vanilla cream and cherries
The open market squares were flanked by ancient buildings on one side and a large red stone cathedral on the other. The cathedral interior court reminded me of Hogwarts.
The cathedral was started about 1000 AD
Harry, Hermione, and Ron were not on the halls

The interior of the cathedral was dark and very cold, but some sunlight drifted in from time to time through the stained glass windows along the courtyard
Central nave

Beautiful frescoes high on the side walls of the central nave

Have no idea what this represents. Strange image in a cathedral.

This is beautiful sculpture work
Back out in the square, the old buildings around the plaza are really stunning.

Look at the art work on the building exterior

Worth a closer look

Front of part of the Gutenberg Museum called "To the Roman Emporer"
We ended the afternoon at the Gutenberg Museum. The oldest part of the building was built in 1664. The museum is dedicated to the invention of printing with moveable type by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439. As we looked at books printed in the 13th and 14th centuries, we were pondering the impact of this momentous development. Within 100 years Martin Luther was fomenting the Reformation, and his ideas and the ideas of other church reformers were spreading like wildfire because of the printed material that crossed national boundaries. Knowledge that was formerly controlled by religious and royal elites could now be in the hands of average men and women. Literacy blossomed and a middle class rapidly developed. It's hard to think of an invention with farther reaching consequences. By the way, looking at a bible printed in 1452 generates a certain sense of awe.

A few end of the day pictures:

We didn't try Taco Kidd, despite its promise of being the best burritos in the city, but the young people in the window got a kick out of us taking a picture of them and the restaurant.

We love the tree lined streets

The trees are magnificent now and displaying beautiful fall colors

City streets are beautiful and green


  1. Those crepes look scrumptious!!! And those tomatoes look like pumpkins.

  2. German taco? That would be hard to pass up. Seriously. Tacos are my favorite.

  3. German taco? That would be hard to pass up. Seriously. Tacos are my favorite.