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Known throughout the world, the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz is famous for its specialisation in the field of print and the art of fine printing. Live demonstrations are held several times a day for visitors to the Gutenberg Museum, so that all can experience for themselves just how Gutenberg himself once worked in his shop.
In the museum’s printing workshop, would-be “printer’s devils” (youngsters apprenticed to printers, as was Benjamin Franklin) and adult Gutenberg fans and emulators can sit down at the composition box, fill their frames with cold type, create their own messages, and using foot-power, can print a one-of-a-kind souvenir of their visit to the birthplace of printing.
The Landesmuseum of Rheinland-Pfalz in Mainz, on the other hand, is not a “hands-on” establishment: its halls and highly atmospheric Steinsaal are dominated by proud Roman monuments. As a scientific research centre, the Roman-Germanic Central Museum has long since made a name for itself.
And the same holds true for Mainz’s Museum für Antike Schiffahrt – the Museum of Ancient Shipbuilding. Here visitors can look at the restoration work accomplished on the sensational discoveries of ancient vessels from Roman times directly at the site where they were discovered, freed from the confines of almost two millennia of oxygen-free mud which preserved these treasures.
Mainz's museums are not only devoted to museums featuring scientific sensations.During 2000 and 2001 the foundations of a Roman temple were discovered in modern-day Mainz right in the middle of its central city commercial and shopping district.
By carefully preserving the Temple of Isis and the Magna Mater Temple (the two most important pre-Christian Imperial faiths brought to the Rhine), Mainz enhanced its position as destination for fans of antiquity. A far more massive Roman structure is visible to railroad passengers approaching town from the south: the Drusus-Theater ruins, the remains of the largest Roman edifice north of the Alps, which was in use for at least two centuries, from about 100 AD until 300 AD, with room for an audience of 10,000, featuring active audience participation. These show-time events were literally affairs of state!
Theater-goers attuned to more contemporary works than those of the classical Roman authors should make every effort to attend a production at the Staatstheater Mainz where opera, ballet, dance, theatre, musicals and other major stage works are presented.
The building was entirely modernized from 1998 to 2001 with state-of-the-art technical and production equipment and the installation of comfortable seating, creation of spacious public areas, a fine restaurant and a myriad of amenities.
Mainz has also relished its long French tradition. In fact, following the French Revolution, Mainz, or Mayence, was actually a Département of France. This was indeed the culmination of centuries of political, economic and cultural interdependence. Prior to its incorporation into La République in 1798, which lasted 16 years until Napoleon’s fall from power in 1814, Mainz was also the first republic founded in Germany. Many similarities exist between Mainz with its quiet, broad tree-lined residential streets and many cities throughout France. A keen sense of enhanced western European political thought, more liberal and international in its collective outlook, may be traced back to Roman times or this French tradition: Again in 1848, Mainz was one of the first German cities to seek a more popular, democratic form of government as revolution spread throughout Europe.
Mainz has a twin city, Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, which is famed for its grand wines just as Mainz is known for being Germany’s wine capital. Other “Meenzer” wine honours include its being the centre of the nation's largest wine-growing region, Rheinhessen, home of the German Wine Institute, and prime shipping port for all German wines to the rest of the world. The latter is a position held since Roman times. As almost everybody who loves wine knows, Bacchus has his mailing address is Mainz.
The Dijon-Mainz city partnership is now 40 years old, one of the oldest in Germany. The activities of the Maison de France, Cine Mayence and the Haus Burgund vastly enrich cultural life in Mainz and contribute heavily towards filling the city’s calendar of events.
Work in Progress!
Although we are doing our best to provide complete information in several languages, for the moment we are sorry that we can only offer the most important highlights in English translation at this time.