Spectacular exchange of an old spire

By: barbamz , 9:45 AM GMT on July 12, 2013

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In my german town Mainz at Rhine River and very near the place where I live, some spectacular action happened in the last days. First section of my report see below. Here is an update, using a press release from today, which I edited and translated, moreover I recorded a video and some photos from todays action for you:

July, 18: Successful exchange of the cathedral’s spire cap in Mainz / Germany

With the successful elevation of the upper part of the new cap of the western spire of Mainz Cathedral, the crane works were completed in July 18. The crane company "Riga Mainz" brought the stone cap (4 tons) with the weathercock, the so-called “Domsgickel”, at 12:49h in its position in a hight of 83 meters, accompanied by loud applause from hundreds of spectators in the marketplace. The smoothly accomplished crane works were completed faster than expected, not the least due to the stable summer weather in Germany. Already on Wednesday, July 17, the lower and much more massive part of the new spire cap had been lifted upwards.



The newly gilded old weathercock is waiting for its elevation, but ...


first he had to give a press conference, boasting with pride:


Then he and his socle with the cross were fixed to the tools of the gigantic crane:


And lift off!


Destination of its travel is the western spire in the background:


And here he is again, where he has been for nearly 250 years already:


The whole picture - but where is the cock? Hardly to be seen at this hight from the ground:


Well, I can see the cock from where I live, and he'll show me the direction of the winds over Mainz.

This is what it feels to be on the top of the cathedral:



Previous entry:

Replacement of cathedral’s spire in Mainz enters final phase
Special crane of the Riga company manages the spectacular lifting
(Todays press release from the diocese, translated by me with some help of google, and edited)

On Friday morning, 12th July, the upper half of the spire of the west tower has been raised from the 1000 years old cathedral of Mainz. The crane took about ten minutes to lift the old spire from 83 meters (272 ft) down to the market place.

On Thursday afternoon, 11th July, the shuttering (made by the company Doka), with which the tower top was brought down, was lifted on top of the 83 meters high tower with the help of a special crane by company of Riga. The 22-meter-long, 108-ton and nine axes crane was moved on Monday to the cathedral square on July, 8th. After three days of construction work, the 100 meter high crane was erected. The boom has a length of approximately 60 meters (196 ft). On Thursday morning the newly-built spire has been transported with the help of a low-loader to the market place in front of the Cathedral.

Substantial damage necessitating replacement

The replacement of the top of the west tower of Mainz Cathedral has become necessary as during the ongoing cathedral restoration since 2001 considerable damage was detected. The iron ring beam, which is attached to the top, was rusted, so that in many places the walls and the spire has become unstable. In recent months the stonemasons of the Mainz Cathedral have made a copy of the 7.5-meter-high (24 ft) and 20-ton spire, using sandstone from Miltenberg (photo here).

The present spire was designed in 1774 and has already been replaced for the first time in 1845.

With the special crane from Riga company the old spire, sawed into two parts, is lifted down from 83 meters. Next week the copy will be raised, also in two parts. Earlier they've thought about doing the replacement with the help of a helicopter but dismissed this idea because of fears, the massive stone burden may bounce around with the winds and damage the cathedral.


The total cost to replace the spire of the cathedral - including the re-gilding of the "Domsgickel", the weather-cock of Mainz Cathedral - amounts to around 500,000 Euros, financed for the most part by the Mainzer Dombauverein (Non profit association for the renovation of the cathedral).


Photo from the newly gilded weather cock (my own photo, taken earlier) which will return to the top of the spire soon. It's hollow and filled with historic documents.

Removing the first parts of the damaged old spire summit on July 12th
Source and photo gallery

Here is a three-days-timelapse from the installation of the gigantic crane July, 8 - 11th



View from below. A lot of citizens and tourists are following the action.


Promotion video of Mainz City from 2012

Wikipedia about Mainz

Wikipedia about Mainz Cathedral


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25. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
5:37 PM GMT on July 25, 2013
barbamz has created a new entry.
24. barbamz
4:29 PM GMT on July 18, 2013
As a I cannot edit my last comments (and the issues with posting youtube videos in the comment section of WU-member-blogs are occurring in other blogs, too), I updated the blog entry with the events from this morning. WU-photo-section resisted to upload my photos to boot, so I had to use imageshack. Well, life is hard, sometimes, lol.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6261
23. barbamz
11:05 PM GMT on July 17, 2013
I give it up. Let's try again tomorrow night, when the second part of the new spire hopefully will be in place!
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6261
22. barbamz
11:03 PM GMT on July 17, 2013
Hrrrrm, WunderJakuza is experimenting with the blog tech once again. Post won't totally show up. So here is the second video.

Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6261
21. barbamz
11:01 PM GMT on July 17, 2013
Here is a nice new video showing the removal of the old spire cap last week:


And here a gasping journalist is visiting the top of Mainz Cathedral with it's present scaffolding:


First part of the new cap, the base (14 tons), was successfully liftet to the top of the spire today. Tomorrow morning, July 18th, the rest will be lifted. Public TV (ZDF) will report live. I'll tell you the outcome tomorrow evening.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6261
20. barbamz
11:57 AM GMT on July 16, 2013
Thanks for stopping by, Nigel!


German weather is still a summer pleasure, but the forecast of no rain ten more days out will cause problems for agriculture. Soil is dry as can be seen in another pic I took Sunday:

Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6261
19. nigel20
5:04 AM GMT on July 16, 2013
Quoting nigel20:
Very nice log post barbamz!

That should have been blog as you know. :) Lovely pics in your last post by the way.
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8323
18. nigel20
5:01 AM GMT on July 16, 2013
Very nice log post barbamz!
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8323
17. barbamz
6:36 PM GMT on July 15, 2013
Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 16th [edit: no, Wednesday and Thursday, I've just read), is the day when our cathedral should receive the new cap of it's spire. Let's hope everything will turn out allright! Weather still is fine and should last for some more days.

Meanwhile my pics from yesterday's walk northeast of Frankfurt:


Poppies with castle Ronneburg


Emerging like a fatamorgana


Ordinary meadow in all it's glory


Competetive beauties


Someone's litte summer refuge in a fluff of white flowers
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6261
16. trHUrrIXC5MMX
1:15 PM GMT on July 13, 2013
Quoting 14. barbamz:
Hey Max, I wish I could send you some piece of pottery. But to ship ancient stuff to the US, hrrrm, better not, the more as you folks are spying on us poor Germans, lol (cue: "Snowden").


Hey Barb...

Well sorry about what the US does to you.
Im not American anyway so I have more freedom of going anywhere from anywhere.

I plan to fly over to Italy, UK and somewhere else to have my wonderful collection. .. maybe go by Mainz to check it out.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
15. zampaz
1:08 PM GMT on July 13, 2013
Terrific blog and excellent translation!
You share the world with us in a special way Barbamz.
Thank you.
Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
14. barbamz
12:50 PM GMT on July 13, 2013
Hey Max, I wish I could send you some piece of pottery. But to ship ancient stuff to the US, hrrrm, better not, the more as you folks are spying on us poor Germans, lol (cue: "Snowden").
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6261
13. trHUrrIXC5MMX
11:47 AM GMT on July 13, 2013
You lucky Barb!!!

I wish I could have something from the Roman Times.
Even a broken piece of limestone from the columns, Ill be happy with that.

I wish I knew German to fully understand what was going on
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
12. barbamz
10:26 AM GMT on July 13, 2013
Wow, a lot of traffic on my blog. Terrifying, eeeh, I mean: terrific, lol! Thanks for commenting; Brian and Max, I'm impressed with your knowledge (Gro anyway).


Yes, Mainz (formerly Moguntiacum) once was an important roman military base (map above). Today they dig up roman stuff wherever underground construction work is going on. I myself own some roman fragments from a nearby construction site as the museum would not keep hold of all those little pieces. I loved it to "help" a little with digging :)


The "decapitation" (uhhh! reminds me of a sheared TS to boot) of the spire of our cathedral was successfully accomplished yesterday. Old and new top are now side by side on the ground:

Source SWR and gallery with more pics
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6261
11. Grothar
3:44 AM GMT on July 13, 2013
It is good to see Mainz is still a beautiful city.

I really enjoyed the videos. My parents, remembered it and Dresden, before the war and often spoke of the architecture.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26887
10. BaltimoreBrian
3:38 AM GMT on July 13, 2013
Quoting 8. trHUrrIXC5MMX:


and Im not surprised why you know this... Lieutenant.

I know some legions btw...

Legio XX Valeria Victix - UK
Legio IX Hispania - Spain
Legio X Fretensis - Jerusalem (Jesus' trial at the moment)


Excellent!
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8714
9. Grothar
3:38 AM GMT on July 13, 2013
Quoting 4. barbamz:
Thanks, Baulas, Max and Marvin for your nice comments. Yes, one always wonders how the craftsmen in former times managed it to build all those huge buildings (Gro could tell us, I guess, lol). Probably they used huge and massive scaffoldings with winding tackles.

I'm living for nearly 30 years in the old city of Mainz. People here are open minded and relaxed. The town is used to a lot of folks roaming up and down Rhine River valley during the last 2000 years or so. Climate is mild, lots of wine are available, and thanks to the adjacent prosperous region of Frankfurt the economical situation usually isn't too bad. But there has been a lot of damage and life loss during WW II, so the citizens of Mainz were used to the dark sides of life, too.


Barb, I am surprised you don't know how we built those buildings-we sub-contracted the Dutch and the Danes. :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26887
8. trHUrrIXC5MMX
3:31 AM GMT on July 13, 2013
Quoting 7. BaltimoreBrian:


Mainz was a Roman legion base for 400 years. Until the last day of December 406. Weather had a role in that--three German tribes crossed the frozen Rhine and it was the beginning of the final act of the West Roman Empire.


and Im not surprised why you know this... Lieutenant.

I know some legions btw...

Legio XX Valeria Victix - UK
Legio IX Hispania - Spain
Legio X Fretensis - Jerusalem (Jesus' trial at the moment)
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
7. BaltimoreBrian
3:26 AM GMT on July 13, 2013
Quoting 6. trHUrrIXC5MMX:


oh wow...thanks for the historical info...'

I love wine...

Roman Grothar... LOL


Mainz was a Roman legion base for 400 years. Until the last day of December 406. Weather had a role in that--three German tribes crossed the frozen Rhine and it was the beginning of the final act of the West Roman Empire.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8714
6. trHUrrIXC5MMX
3:21 AM GMT on July 13, 2013
Quoting 4. barbamz:
Thanks, Baulas, Max and Marvin for your nice comments. Yes, one always wonders how the craftsmen in former times managed it to build all those huge buildings (Gro could tell us, I guess, lol). Probably they used huge and massive scaffoldings with winding tackles.

I'm living for nearly 30 years in the old city of Mainz. People here are open minded and relaxed. The town is used to a lot of folks roaming up and down Rhine River valley during the last 2000 years or so. Climate is mild, lots of wine are available, and thanks to the adjacent prosperous region of Frankfurt the economical situation usually isn't too bad. But there has been a lot of damage and life loss during WW II, so the citizens of Mainz were used to the dark sides of life, too.


oh wow...thanks for the historical info...'

I love wine...

Roman Grothar... LOL
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
5. BaltimoreBrian
3:20 AM GMT on July 13, 2013
Quoting 1. baulas:
Interesting barbamz. Makes me wonder how they did all of this in 1774 and 1845 without that amazing crane. I am assuming everything took a great deal longer!!!


I was thinking the same thing. The engineering skills they had with the tools of the time were amazing!
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8714
4. barbamz
2:28 PM GMT on July 12, 2013
Thanks, Baulas, Max and Marvin for your nice comments. Yes, one always wonders how the craftsmen in former times managed it to build all those huge buildings (Gro could tell us, I guess, lol). Probably they used huge and massive scaffoldings with winding tackles.

I'm living for nearly 30 years in the old city of Mainz. People here are open minded and relaxed. The town is used to a lot of folks roaming up and down Rhine River valley during the last 2000 years or so. Climate is mild, lots of wine are available, and thanks to the adjacent prosperous region of Frankfurt the economical situation usually isn't too bad. But there has been a lot of damage and life loss during WW II, so the citizens of Mainz were used to the dark sides of life, too.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6261
3. pcola57
11:33 AM GMT on July 12, 2013
Wow Barb..
Just amazing..
A very good blog..
I'm sure your proud of your city Mainz..
I know I would be..
And the cock is full of historical documents..
Once again a great blog.. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6881
2. trHUrrIXC5MMX
11:33 AM GMT on July 12, 2013
Nice blog and interesting..l

I wonder how the Romans built those temples and stuff...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
1. baulas
11:30 AM GMT on July 12, 2013
Interesting barbamz. Makes me wonder how they did all of this in 1774 and 1845 without that amazing crane. I am assuming everything took a great deal longer!!!
Member Since: August 9, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10

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About barbamz

I'm Barbara in Germany (Mainz), and I'm interested in weather already for decades.