Tuesday, 17 May 2011

First Day in Mainz

Demonstration printing press at the Gutenberg Museum

While hot showers and cozy beds all had us in good spirits, the Mainzerhof Hotel's continental breakfast was phenomenal. The buffet was stacked with fruits, vegetables, yogurt, salmon, cheeses, croissants, muesli, and many other delicacies. The best part according to many students, however, was the bowl of Nutella packets, a personal favorite of theirs.
Pleased and plumped, we explored the churches in Mainz, a city recovering from its 80% destruction by allied bombing in World War Two. Our first stop was at the Evangelische Christuskirche, or the Evangelistic Church of Mainz. (In Germany, Evangelistic is synonymous with Protestant.) Built in 1903 then reconstructed in 1954, it is an impressive sight from the outside but sparse on the inside, a visual reminder of the 'sola scriptura' for spiritual influence as opposed to symbols, icons, statues and adornments of the Catholic Churches.
Evangelistic Church of Mainz
We then walked to downtown Mainz where we saw the remains of the church Gutenberg attended, St. Christoph's Church, which was built in the 9th Century. The last, as well as the most aesthetically impressive, church we visited was the Mainzerdom. Inside a small chapel off the side of the sanctuary hangs one of the oldest crucifixes in Germany. The Dom's presence dominates the downtown skyline, where a wonderful fresh air market provided us with meat, cheese, honey, pickles, and fresh bread for our evening picnic. It was striking to see the juxtaposition between old and modern Europe, with new BMWs and Mercedes sharing the streets with such old structures.
The Mainzer Dom
We spent the afternoon going through the Gutenberg Museum (see separate post) and then eating a traditional German picnic on the bank of the Rhine River.

View over the Rhine during our picnic

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