Renowned for its Romanesque cathedral and historic Gutenberg printing press, Mainz is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate. It lies on the Rhine River at its confluence with the Main River and centers around an atmospheric medieval old town that’s clustered with half-timbered houses.
At the heart of historic Mainz is the Marktbrunnen, one of the largest and most finely decorated Renaissance fountains in Germany, as well as the octagonal tower of the Mainz Cathedral. Built of deep red sandstone, it has watched over the city for more than 1,000 years and features important works of art, together with the tombs and funerary monuments of once-powerful Electoral-prince-archbishops.
Opposite the cathedral stands the Gutenberg Museum, which is one of the oldest museums of printing in the world. It was in Mainz that the movable-type printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg and the first books were printed using movable type here in the early 1450s. Peruse the vintage printing equipment and examples of printed documents from countries around the globe, as well as an original Gutenberg Bible that was printed in the 15th century.
Another museum not to miss is the Romano-Germanic Central Museum, which focuses on archaeological research from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages and showcases artifacts and replicas that explore prehistoric life. The museum is located within the ornate Electoral Palace that is considered one of the finest Renaissance buildings in Germany, with turrets at each of its corners and richly decorated windows on its pink-hued exterior.