Mainz (Mentz), (Latin: Mogontiacum) (French: Mayence), formerly known in English as Mentz is the capital of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. It was the capital of the Electorate of Mainz at the time of the Holy Roman Empire. In antiquity Mainz was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire; it was founded as a military post by the Romans in the late 1st century BC and became the provincial capital of Germania Superior. The city is located on the river Rhine at its confluence with the Main opposite Wiesbaden, in the western part of the Frankfurt Rhine-Main; in the modern age, Frankfurt shares much of its regional importance.
The city is famous as the home of the invention of the movable-type printing press, as the first books printed using movable type were manufactured in Mainz by Gutenberg in the early 1450s. Until the twentieth century, Mainz was usually referred to in English as Mayence.
During the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, Mainz was declared a neutral zone. After the founding of the German Empire in 1871, Mainz no longer was as important a stronghold, because in the war of 1870/71 France had lost the territory of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany, and this defined the new border between the two countries.
For centuries the inhabitants of the fortress of Mainz had suffered from a severe shortage of space which led to disease and other inconveniences. In 1872 Mayor Carl Wallau and the council of Mainz persuaded the military government to sign a contract to expand the city. Beginning in 1874, the city of Mainz assimilated the Gartenfeld, an idyllic area of meadows and fields along the banks of the Rhine River to the north of the rampart. The city expansion more than doubled the urban area which allowed Mainz to participate in the industrial revolution which had previously avoided the city for decades.
Eduard Kreyßig was the man who made this happen. Having been the master builder of the city of Mainz since 1865, Kreyßig had the vision for the new part of town, the Neustadt. He also planned the first sewer system for the old part of town since Roman times and persuaded the city government to relocate the railway line from the Rhine side to the west end of the town. The main station was built from 1882 to 1884 according to the plans of Philipp Johann Berdellé.
The Mainz master builder constructed a number of state-of-the-art public buildings, including the Mainz town hall - which was the largest of its kind in Germany at that time - as well a synagogue, the Rhine harbour and a number of public baths and school buildings. Kreyßig's last work was Christ Church (Christuskirche), the largest Protestant church in the city and the first building constructed solely for the use of a Protestant congregation. In 1905 the demolition of the entire circumvallation and the Rheingauwall was taken in hand, according to imperial order of Wilhelm II.