8 Best Sights in Mainz, The Pfalz and Rhine Terrace


Fodor's choice

This cathedral's interior is a virtual sculpture gallery of elaborate monuments and tombstones of archbishops, bishops, and canons, many of which are significant artworks in their own right. Emperor Otto II began building the oldest of the Rhineland's trio of grand Romanesque cathedrals in 975, the year in which he named Willigis archbishop and chancellor of the empire. Henry II, the last Saxon emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was crowned here in 1002, as was his successor, Konrad II, the first Salian emperor, in 1024. In 1009, on the very day of its consecration, the cathedral burned to the ground. It was the first of seven fires the Dom has endured. Today's cathedral dates mostly from the 11th to 13th century. During the Gothic period, remodeling diluted the Romanesque identity of the original; an imposing baroque spire was added in the 18th century. Nevertheless, the building remains essentially Romanesque, and its floor plan demonstrates a clear link to the cathedrals in Speyer and Worms. Individual and group tours can be arranged through the Tourist Service Center.

St. Stephanskirche

Fodor's choice

It's just a short walk up Gaustrasse from Schillerplatz to the church, which affords a hilltop view of the city. Nearly 200,000 people make the trip each year to see the nine magnificent blue stained-glass windows designed by the Russian-born artist Marc Chagall.

Dom und Diözesanmuseum

From the Middle Ages until secularization in the early 19th century, the archbishops of Mainz, who numbered among the imperial electors, were extremely influential politicians and property owners. The wealth of religious art treasures they left behind can be viewed in the cathedral cloisters.

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Gutenberg Museum

Opposite the east end of the cathedral (closest to the Rhine) stands this fascinating museum, which is devoted to the history of writing, printing, and books. Exhibits include historical printing presses, incunabula (books printed in Europe before 1501), and medieval manuscripts with illuminated letters, as well as two precious 42-line Gutenberg bibles printed circa 1455. A replica workshop demonstrates how Gutenberg implemented his invention of movable type.

Kupferberg Terrasse

These hillside sparkling wine cellars were built in 1850 on a site where the Romans had cultivated vines and cellared wine. The Kupferberg family expanded them to create 60 seven-story-deep vaulted cellars—the deepest in the world. The winery has a splendid collection of glassware; posters from the belle époque period (1898–1914); richly carved casks from the 18th and 19th centuries; and the Traubensaal (Grape Hall), a tremendous example of the art nouveau style. Tours, Saturdays only, of the cellars and museum last one hour plus time for a sparkling wine tasting, and involve lots of stairs. Reservations for tours are required and can be made by email. The Kupferberg Terrassen restaurant here is a lovely place to dine before or after your tour, and offers an excellent-value two-course lunch menu.


The various collections of the Museum of the State of Rheinland-Pfalz are in the former electors' stables, easily recognized by the statue of a golden stallion over the entrance. Exhibits range from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Among the highlights are paintings by Dutch masters, artworks from the baroque to art nouveau periods, and collections of porcelain and faience.


 The pedestrianized Marktplatz (market place), situated on the north side of the cathedral, is especially colorful on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 7 am to 2 pm, when farmers, butchers, cheesemongers, and florists set up stands to sell their produce. On Saturdays from March to November, join friendly Mainzers in the adjoining Liebfrauenplatz for the legendary Marktfrühstuck (Market Breakfast), where you can sample local wines alongside a traditional local breakfast of Fleischwurst (German bologna sausage) with mustard and a crusty bread roll.

Museum für Antike Schifffahrt

The main attractions at this bright, airy museum are the fascinating remains of five 4th-century wooden Roman warships, on display with two full-size replicas. The remains were unearthed in 1981, when the foundation for an expansion to the Hilton hotel was dug. For more than a decade, the wood was injected with a water-and-paraffin mixture to restore its stability. There's also an extensive exhibit dedicated to the history of shipbuilding and an educational area for children. To arrange a tour, contact the service office.

Neutorstr. 2b, Mainz, 55116, Germany
06131-912–4170-service office (for tours)
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon.