Well, this year my Easter was exhausting, I can tell you. You know, we bears like it cosiest and sometimes we change directly from hibernation into spring tiredness. But not this year, my human dad had other plans. A few weeks ago he started talking about some emperors from the past. But he didn’t bother to talk about the old bosses for too long. Soon his plan was set.
„Grizzly“ he started. I knew something important was coming. Whenever he calls me by name, it is about something serious. „Grizzly, we will visit the three famous Romanesque imperial cathedrals near the Rhine during Easter.“ Now my coziness was gone.
So we had an Easter trip. Our first city was Mainz, the old arch bishop residence town. First of all we visited the Gutenberg Museum. I think I don’t have to explain who he was. Quite a few people and bears consider his invention to be the most important of the last 1000 years. Just one example: Without book printing, the ideas of the little monk from the German province, Martin Luther, would never have been disseminated.
Of course we also admired the two Gutenberg Bibles. Wow, there’s history to find in these books! But it was not allowed to take pictures of them. Instead you can browse through different copies virtually, the modern technology makes it possible.
Then, of course, we went to the cathedral. It is unbelievable, it is a thousand years old, at least the walls. The towers, roof, chapels and other parts have been repaired, replaced or added over the centuries. Somehow this cathedral was not really lucky either. The first time it burned down, it was not even consecrated. On the eve of the planned consecration of the cathedral in 1009 that was. Also later it has burned again and again. And even the people themselves have damaged it. For example, the French used it as a military hospital during Napoleon’s time, burning most of the inventory for heating and in 1857, according to city chroniclers, a suicide blew himself up with the whole Mainz gunpowder tower, which deprived the cathedral of all its beautiful windows. I never thought a church could have such an interesting story.
Since Mainz was the most important archdiocese north of the Alps in the Middle Ages, the venerable building has also seen some coronations of German kings, a total of four in numbers. Unfortunately, this story begins with a rather tragic person. The first king crowned here was Rudolf von Rheinfelden. He is known in history as the first German counter-king. His counterpart was none other than King and Emperor Henry IV, who went to Canossa. He finally won against Rudolf. At the Battle of Hohenmölsen he was struck off his right hand, i.e. the oath hand, which at that time was regarded as an unmistakable sign of divine punishment. Even if he had not died of the injury, the royalty would have been over for him anyway. That was what he got for being crowned in the wrong place.
Besides the cathedral we visited the citadel in Mainz, a really well preserved fortress whose beginning dates back to the early 17th century. It was used as a fortress until the First World War. Quite unique is that until today the complete outer walls have been preserved. During the guided tour we also visited old tunnels underneath the fortress. These are so stable and safe that they served as air-raid shelters during the Second World War.
Of course we also visited the city and again Mr. Gutenberg greeted us. Some lovingly restored half-timbered houses from the 16th and 17th centuries can also be found.
The two days in Mainz were very interesting. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea of my human dad.
Your very ferocious Grizzly