It spent centuries as a religious and political hub in the Kingdom of Germany within the Holy Roman Empire, and was the venue for coronations and Imperial Diets: Mainz Cathedral is an impressive and poignant monumental building used for ceremonial services and a refuge for those seeking moments of silence.
Pilgrims also visit this site on their way through Europe on the "Via Sancti Martini" route, which opened in 2016 and is dedicated to St. Martin of Tours, the patron saint of Mainz Cathedral. To open the pilgrimage trail from Hungary via Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and France, his coat was placed in Mainz Cathedral, where the archbishops of Mainz made history.
The church architecture has always been a testament to their prominent position, both within the church and the Holy Roman Empire. Mainz was expected to become a "second Rome", or so founder Archbishop Willigis thought back in 975. Huge, powerful, impressive. A triple-nave Romanesque cathedral with two chancels and a high altar in the west, similar to the layout of the Papal Altar in St. Peter's Basilica. The development of the building throughout history is easy to comprehend on a tour of the cathedral, starting in the sombre eastern chancel, continuing through the nave to the lighter western chancel with its crossing dome above the high altar. The unique array of historical gravestones is the cathedral's most important treasure. Those who once ruled here are immortalised in sculptures on walls and pillars: powerful archbishops, who lived nothing like the austere life of their patron saint, who is still celebrated on 11 November every year.
Opening hours: March to October: Monday to Friday, 9am to 6:30pm, Saturday, 9am to 4pm, Sundays and bank holidays, 12:45pm to 3pm, 4pm to 6:30pm; November to February: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, Saturday, 9am to 4pm, Sundays and bank holidays, 12:45pm to 3pm, 4pm to 5pm
Nearest train station: Mainz
Accessible; guide books published in various languages, audio guides; group tours conducted in various languages