Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Mainz

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MAINZ (mīnts) (French, Mayence), a fortified town of Germany, in the republic of Hesse, finely situated on the left bank of the Rhine, opposite the mouth of the Main, 20 miles W. S. W. of Frankfort. The Rhine is here crossed by a bridge connecting Mainz with the small town of Castel, which is within the system of fortifications; there is also a railway bridge. The older part of the town has been mostly modernized since the destruction caused by a powder magazine explosion in 1857, and an extensive new quarter has been added since the recent widening of the fortified circuit. Among the more interesting buildings are the cathedral, a vast building of red sandstone, finished in the 14th century, adorned with several finely painted windows, frescoes, and a great number of ancient and curious monuments; the former electoral palace, now containing the City Library (over 230,000 vols.), picture gallery, museum, etc.; the old collegiate church of St. Stephen, a fine specimen of Gothic architecture; the grand-ducal castle; the courts of justice; the government buildings; the town hall, a new Renaissance structure; the theater, central railway station, Gutenberg's house and other buildings associated with the invention of printing, etc., There is a fine statue of Gutenberg by Thorwaldsen. The handsome quay, about 330 feet in breadth, along the Rhine, affords a pleasant promenade; and there are several docks. The manufactures embrace leather, furniture, hardware, carriages, tobacco, beer, chemicals, musical instruments, etc. The trade, particularly transit, is extensive. Mainz was for long the first ecclesiastical city of the German empire, of which its archbishop-elector ranked as the premier prince. Its history during the 16th century is of considerable interest in connection with the progress of the Reformation. Pop. about 120,000.