Situated opposite the confluence point of the rivers Rhine and Main, the area around the Mainzer Stadtpark was first settled by the Romans, marking the border between the empire and the unconquered Germanic tribes. In the 17th century the site, which had previously been the grounds of a Benedictine monastery, was acquired by the wealthy and politically-connected elector of Mainz: Lothar Franz von Schönborn-Buchheim. He commissioned the construction of the enormous, Baroque-style Lustschloss Favorite (Favorite Pleasure Palace), complete with palatial estates, parks, and famously elaborate water features and statues.
The palace buildings were completely destroyed in the Napoleonic Wars, during the Siege of Mainz, where what is now the Stadtpark made up the front lines between the French Republic and the first coalition forces. However, several of the fountains and statues, including those of Hercules and Rhenus, the personification of the River Rhine, remain standing to this day. In the place of the Lustschloss now stands the Favorite Parkhotel, where one may enjoy a beer whilst overlooking the Altstadt of Mainz and the Rhine in its Biergarten.
In modern times, the Stadtpark is host to a series of unusual wonders, often overlooked by travelers to Mainz. The park is host to a small zoo, which is part of the wider Mainzer Zoo where one can see bright pink, squawking flamingos, steinböcke (ibex), and blue-and-yellow macaws and other tropical birds within the aviary. Other than the animals which call the Stadtpark home, an English-style rose garden, first laid out in 1925, sits atop the hill and features 100 different types of roses, which are full bloom from spring to fall, with brilliant colors and fresh, floral aromas.
For several days in August, the Stadtpark is home to the Mainzer Weinmarkt, where local producers of wine from Mainz and the wider Middle Rhine Valley set up a marketplace for all Mainzers and curious visitors. Throughout the entire park one can sample the best of German Riesling, Grauburgunder or Silvaner wines (among many others!) and foods, mixing with the local Mainzers in a relaxing, yet energetic, festival experience.
Know Before You Go
Can be easily accessed by foot from the nearby Mainz Römisches Theater railway station.