Main cemetery Mainz

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Old crematorium main cemetery Mainz

The main cemetery in Mainz is the largest burial site in Mainz , established in 1803 under French administration . It was the model for the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, which was laid out a year later . Not only did numerous prominent Mainz residents find their final resting place here, there are also honorary and war graves on the site, such as the German Court of Honor .

The main cemetery and numerous of its monuments are now designated as cultural monuments and summarized in the “Monument Zone Main Cemetery”, see: List of cultural monuments in Mainz-Oberstadt .


The area of ​​today's main cemetery was used for burials as early as Roman times and until the 8th century AD. At the beginning of the fifth century, Aureus is said to have been martyred at this point. At times there was a chapel here . In 1803 Jeanbon St. André , the prefect of the Donnersberg department and then mayor of Mainz, implemented an imperial decree of the 23rd Prairial of the year XII (1804), according to which graves could no longer be laid out as churchyards within the city limits, but under the Supervision of the political community should be provided and set up outside the city. The background to this instruction was the fact that at the end of the 18th century the left bank of the Rhine had come under French rule. As a result, monasteries were closed and the hospitals were merged into one hospital. The number of ecclesiastical institutions and those associated with a cemetery had fallen drastically and there was a shortage of gravesites. Above all, however, there were hygienic reasons for relocating the burial sites outside the city.

The instruction was implemented by the Mayor of Mainz, Franz Konrad Macké . In the Zahlbach Valley , the new central Christian cemetery was laid out on a site that had previously belonged to Dalheim Monastery . The site was a burial place 2000 years ago in Roman times. Some of the Mainz bishops were later buried here, including Aureus , whose bones were later reburied in the monastery of St. Alban and Heiligenstadt. That is why the name "Sacred Valley" results for the Zahlbach Valley and the Mainz saying "Come on, let's go to the Aureus" for a visit to the main cemetery.

After the Judensand , the old Jewish cemetery in Mombacher Strasse, could no longer be used because it was now part of the city center, a new Jewish cemetery was laid out south of the main cemetery in Mainz in 1881 .

The main cemetery in Mainz initially comprised an almost rectangular area of ​​eleven acres , but was expanded several times. Initially planned without an organizing path system, today it is roughly two square kilometers in size and is roughly divided into 75 fields in the main part, 14 fields in the urn grove on the other side of Saarstrasse and a geometric network of paths. The main axes are marked by avenues . Because of its old trees and other plants, the main cemetery is today one of the most important green spaces in Mainz.


The wooden mourning hall built in 1804 in the northeast corner of the cemetery was one of the first structures of its kind in Germany. However, like the Aureus Chapel, it was destroyed by air raids in 1945. Since 1903 there has also been a crematorium by the architect Josef Hassinger , one of the first buildings of this type in Germany, which was modernized in 1996. Due to emission regulations, a new crematorium had to be put into operation at the entrance to Untere Zahlbacher Strasse in 2010 and the old one had to be shut down after 107 years. A subsequent use as a columbarium is planned.


French Monument

There were initially plans to close the main cemetery in Mainz at the beginning of the 21st century, but these were discarded, so that the cemetery is still used as a burial place today. Numerous grave monuments from the past centuries also make it worth visiting for those interested in history and art history. In addition to family and individual graves, there are also monuments and graves of war victims and of French soldiers who died in Mainz, such as the “larger French monument” designed by Louis-Henri Nicot or the “Prussian monument”, which is in memory of the am May 21, 1848 in the street fight with Mainz revolutionaries killed representatives of power. There is also a memorial for the victims of the powder tower explosion on November 18, 1857 from parts of the tower wall that were thrown into the cemetery.

Particularly noteworthy are the two crypts "straße" with crypts of important Mainz families. The oldest surviving tombstone dates back to 1805. A total of 230 tombstones and monuments are listed in the main cemetery and some of them have only been exposed again in recent years from overgrown plants.

Graves of famous people

Numerous well-known personalities were buried in the main cemetery in Mainz, for example


Two Mainz Newweling


Since 2004, the day of the cemetery has been held every year on November 1st ( All Saints' Day ) . On this day guided tours of the cemetery, selected crypts and the crematorium are offered. Another special feature of the Mainz cemeteries on All Saints 'Day and All Souls ' Day is the Newweling candle, which is only placed in the Mainz cemeteries to commemorate the dead.


In 2005 the main cemetery in Mainz was included in the list of the most important cemeteries in Europe, an award from the European Association of Significant Cemeteries . In the 2012 selection of the most beautiful cemeteries in Germany, the Mainzer Main Cemetery came third after the Ohlsdorf Cemetery in Hamburg and the Waldfriedhof in Munich .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Décret Impérial sur les sépultures, le 23 Prairial to XII. In: Bulletin des lois de l'Empire Français. 4th series, Tome premier no. 1 à 16, Paris, Brumaire an XIII [1804], p. 75 online .
  2. .
  3. The most beautiful cemeteries - Awards 2012 .


  • Rupert Krömer, Sabine Theiss-Krömer (ed.): Place of silence. From the power of finitude. Hidden passions. 200 years of Mainz Aureus - 2000 years of the Sacred Valley. A citizen project. Vitruv Verlag, Mainz 2006, 4th edition 2008, ISBN 3-937562-00-1 .
  • Wolfgang Stumme: The Mainzer Main Cemetery. People and their final resting places. Leinpfad Verlag, Ingelheim 2010, ISBN 978-3-942291-14-9 .
  • Wolfgang Stumme: Mainzer Hauptfriedhof II. People and their final resting places. 31 new portraits. Leinpfad Verlag, Ingelheim 2013, ISBN 978-3-942291-65-1 .
  • Hermann Wucher: Historical tour of the main cemetery in Mainz: graves of important personalities and a collection of inscriptions worth preserving. 3rd edition, self-published, Ginsheim-Gustavsburg 2009, ( digitized ).
  • Alfred Börckel : The Mainz cemetery. Its history and its monuments. In memory of its 100th anniversary. Verlag der Stadt Mainz, Mainz 1903. Digitized

Web links

Commons : Hauptfriedhof Mainz  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 49 ° 59 ′ 40.5 ″  N , 8 ° 14 ′ 58.9 ″  E