It’s not a big surprise that Mainz shows distinct signs of having been fortified.
Centuries (Centuries? Millennia…!) of Romans, Huns, Swedes, French, Austrians and sundry ratbags thrashing up and down the Rhine, pillaging and looting to their hearts’ content, makes fortification a Good Idea.
The Jakobsberg (James’ Hill) was located outside the city walls, which was perceived as Not Being A Very Good Idea, given that it was an ideal possie to occupy and wreak havoc on the city below, so a fortification was first erected in 1620, with the Zitadelle (Citadel) in its current form completed in 1660.
There had been a Benedictine monastery on the hill since 1050, but it was “preventatively destroyed”, as they say, in 1329 to avoid presenting Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg will a tempting target. (“Monastery? What monastery?”)
Rebuilt as from 1404, consecrated in 1461 and destroyed by the French bombardment in 1793.
At which point they gave up.
Over the years, the Zitadelle has been occupied by whoever happened to take a liking to Mainz, most recently by the French until 1955.
In fact, the city fathers also took a liking to it (actually, the real estate under it) in the early 20th C and only a rapid classification as an Historic Place saved it.
Talk about robber barons…
These days, it houses a number of city administrative outfits and the City Museum.
It also hosts the annual Open Ohr festival (another nice play on words – “Open Ear/Open Air”) and occasionally major concert events. Peter Gabriel (supposedly excellent), Van Morrison (experienced it, absolutely appalling, should have bought a bottle of wine and a couple of CDs and stayed at home), Joan Baez, Willy DeVille etc
And last weekend, it was open during the National Trust-equivalent open day, with guided tours and the opportunity to walk the 1.5km or so around the ramparts, cut through the tunnels and out to the perimeter.
That’s the photo top left.
The one next to it is a poster of the area, with the local station on the foreground, the Roman amphitheatre (tomorrow?) and the Zitadelle in the background.
And this is the Google Earth view from 1921