Mainz's Old Town
Mainz’s Old Town, its city center, is the pride and joy of the city-scene. Broad, roomy squares, lovingly-restored half-timbered houses and magnificent Baroque churches give Old Town its charming, “gemuetlich” character. Hidden behind its Rococo façades and hidden in its bourgeois Baroque houses are elegant boutiques, cafés, and wine bars clamoring for your attention.
Embark on a discovery journey through Old Mainz’s historical inner city: Mainz’s historic Old Town extends itself from the shadow of the southern façade of Mainzer Dom, St Martin’s Cathedral, to the Mainz-South Rail Station. Life pulsates in the zick-zack alleys with their funny names like Little Nose Way, Hering’s Fountain Alley or Corpse Yard. There’s always something happening in Old Town.
During the day, there’s heavy street activity and business is brisk in the boutiques, shops and stores. After work as the day concludes, Mainz folk and their guests take time out to enjoy something to drink in the cozy-comfortable, ancient wine bars and taverns. It is easy to forget the hectic, stressful day when you sit back and enjoy a good Schoppen (a 1/4-liter) of our local Rheinhessen wine at Klingelbeutel’s, Beichtstuhl’s or Goldstein’s vinotheque.
The artfully -restored building façades and the mighty Baroque churches bear witness to Mainz’s rich city history.
Augustinerstraße and the Augustinerkirche
The picturesque Augustiner-Street is Mainz’s “stroller’s mile,” our 5th Avenue or Champs Elysée. Up until the 17th Century it was the city’s main business thoroughfare. Today you can find the atmosphere that is typically Mainz – small business and boutiques, shops, cafés, pubs, restaurants, taverns and winehouses. Surrounded by all this seething activity and embedded within the row of house-fronts is the magnificent Baroque façade of the towering Augustiner Church. Built to accommodate the needs of the former Augustinian hermit s monastery between 1768 and 1776, it is now a seminary church. Also of impressive beauty is its interior. The ceiling frescoes provide insights into the life of St Augustine as well as the history of the mendicant order which had its home in the Augustinerstrasse since the 13th Century. In contrast to many other Mainz churches, the Augstinerkirche had the great good fortune to survive WWII undamaged.
Kirschgarten/The Cherry Orchard
The Kirschgarten with its romantic half-timbered houses and Marian-Fountain counts as one of Mainz’s most beautiful little squares. There is precious little of the cherry orchard from which it got its name, only a cherry tree stump which can be found at the Zum Beymberg bakery, House #19. The unmistakable charm of this little patch of Old Town in addition to the architectural array of buildings and the pretty, decorated shops within this historical ambience is augmented by the fountain which was erected in 1932 in the style of a flowing Baroque fountain.
St Ignaz Church is located in the Kapuzinerstrasse surrounded by low-rise houses. It was built between 1763 and 1775 in a transition style of architecture leading from Rococo to Classicism. Because its congregation was not well off, the construction of this parish church was accomplished only with great sacrifice and the financial gifts of no less than three Prince-Electors. Above the portal a statue of St Ingatius, the church’s patron saint stands guard. He was martyred in the year107 in Rome. The absolute silence which one encounters inside of the church is beneficial and encourages one to stay a few moments and “tank up” on the peace and quiet.
A Shopping Spree in Old Town
In the romantic Old Town in addition to the half-timbered houses and imposing churches are also many interesting shops and stores waiting to be discovered. If you are looking for something unusual or really unique, chances are if you don’t find on the Augustinerstrasse–mile, you will undoubtedly come across it in the Kirschgarten, Schoenbornstrasse or Grebenstrasse. Jewelry, fashions, books, toys, art, exquisite gifts and leather goods and rare, fine wines make Mainz’s Old Town stores a prime source of comprehensive high value wares.
Competent -- expert! -- personal advice is freely, gladly, dispensed by the sales personnel. No wonder-- it’s usually the manager or owner serving you himself or herself! One of the best ways to conclude a shopping spree in Old Town Mainz is to take a meal in one of the fine wine-restaurants which are so rich in tradition. Because the Old Town is really rather large, it makes sense to research all possibilities even in the less readily-accessible streets like Ignazstrasse, Jacobsbergstrasse or even in the handcrafts house at the Mainz South Rail Station. If that doesn’t pique your appetite and thirst, nothing will!