Mainz is a German city found on the Rhine River approximately 35 mins train ride from Frankfurt. It’s well know for its old town with half-timbered houses and medieval market square due to its Roman history, when it was founded in the 1st Century BC.

All of this means Mainz is a beautiful small town that’s very easy to access and incredibly photogenic.



The town originally served as a military fortress for the Roman Empire and was the provincial capital of the Germaina Superior. It became a very important city in the 8th Century AD as part of the Holy Roman Empire. It’s now home to an amazing mixture of Romanesque and German architecture, a long wine-growing tradition and a number of incredible and very unique Cathedrals and churches.

My journey to Mainz started at Frankfurt Main station. I love European stations, quite often the building design mixed with the hive of activity and people make for a great kick off location to start taking photos.

The train ride is a short 35 minutes to the center of Mainz and everything is easily walking distance from there. I quickly fell in love with Mainz, the center of town where more of the original buildings survived the War, are just so beautiful. Large wooden beams, and walls made up off all types of angles that are everything but straight make for interesting photos.

The main street and small square that has some of the most picturesque houses can be found in the Kirschgarten. I love photos where you can’t tell when it was taken, that timeless quality. Converting many of the shots to monochrome really add to this feeling. The contrast between the dark colored beams and the white walls also looks amazing in black and white.

Most of these great streets fan out from the main Market Square, which in itself is a location well worth visiting. This large open square is surrounded by beautiful decretive buildings and the very imposing Mainz Cathedral that soars over the city. Over 1000 years old, the six-towered structure  contains the tombs of many of Germany’s most important archbishops.

However, the church that draws thousand of visitors to Mainz, and the main attraction that drew me to the small town was the 14th Century St. Stephan’s Church. The hilltop Gothic church was founded in 990, but has been remodeled numerous times of the years. What really sets this church apart is the nine amazing stained glass windows of a luminous blue color depicting scenes from the Old Testament.

All the photos in this article were taken with the amazing Leica Q. The 28mm Summilux f/1.7 lens is insanely sharp and the camera is a joy to use. The inside of the Church was a handheld 3 image HDR taken with a wide open aperture and combined in Lightroom. I find myself using the handheld HDR settings often with the Q as the fast lens enables the shutter speed to be fast enough to ensure no shake and Lightroom is excellent at combining the images together, even when there is a small amount of movement between each image.

Because of its amazing and long history, everywhere you walk you discover more ancient buildings, alleyways and squares filled with beautiful architecture. Much of Germany was destroyed durning the War, but Mainz is lucky to have some beautiful sections intact, including a number of medieval town gates including the Holzturm that date back to the middle ages.

Mainz is one of those towns that is a great place to plan out your journey, but the real experience can really be found by just exploring and discovering the great locations, streets, buildings, fountains and people to photograph. Like a lot of great cities, it’s best to go and then get lost; thats usually where the best photos are found.


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