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General facts about Würzburg:

Würzburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany. Located on the Main river, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Unterfranken. The city of Würzburg is not included inWürzburg (district), but is its administrative seat. Its population is about 127,000 (in 2000).


By 1000 BC a Celtic fortification stood on the site of the Fortress Marienberg. It was christianized in 689 by the Irish missionary Kilian, and the first diocese was founded by St. Bonifatius in 742. He appointed the first bishop of Würzburg, St. Burkhard.

The first church at the site of the  cathedral was built in 788, and consecrated that same year by Charlemagne; the current building was constructed 1040-1225  in romanesque style. The University of Würzburg was founded in 1402 and re-founded 1582.

Würzburg was a center of the German Peasants' War; the castle was besieged unsuccessfully. Notable duke bishops include Julius Echter and members of the Schönborn family. In 1631, Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus invaded the town and destroyed the castle.

In 1720, foundations of the Würzburg Residence were laid. In 1814, the town became part of the Bavarian state. During World War II, on March 16, 1945, 90% of the city was laid to ruins by a British bombing campaign. Most of the main artistic highlights survived, while the baroque city center was irrecoverably damaged.  

Arts and Architecture

Notable artists that lived in Würzburg include poet Walther von der Vogelweide (12th and 13th cent.), philosopher Albertus Magnus and painter Mathias Grunewald. Two artist that made a lasting impression were sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider (1460-1531), who was also mayor and participated in the Peasants' War, and Balthasar Neumann (1687-1753), baroque architect and builder of the Würzburg Residence that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its interior was decorated by Giovanni Tiepolo and his son, Domenico.

Many of the cities "100 churches" survived intact with styles ranging from romanesque, gothic, baroque to modern. Parts of the cathedral St. Kilian were built in the romanesque periods. The "Käppele" on the other side of the Main river was planned by Balthasar Neumann.

Würzburg hosts the Mainfranken Museum, with artefacts from prehistory until modern times, a Museum of the cathedral, galleries for ancient and modern art, and the "Kulturspeicher" from 2002. Notable festivals include the Afrika Fest in Mai and the Mozart Fest, in June/July.


Other Famous Citizens

Philipp Franz von Siebold was among the first Westerners to visit and work in Japan (1823). Werner Heisenberg was born in Würzburg in 1901. It is the location of Wilhelm Röntgen's original laboratory, where he discovered x-rays. The University granted Alexander Graham Bell an honorary Ph.D. for his pioneering scientific work. Würzburg is also the hometown of NBA star Dirk Nowitzki.

Historic Buildings in Würzburg

Among Würzburgs' many notable churches are the Käppele, a small Baroque/Rococo chapel by Balthasar Neumann,  the Schönborn Chapel, a side-chapel of the Dome has interior decoration made of human bones and skulls. Look for statues of Adam and Eve by Riemenschneider in the Market Church.

The Julius Spital is a baroque hospital with a courtyard and a church built by the prince bishop Julius Echter.  Its medieval wine cellar, together with those of the Würzburg Residence and the Bürgerspital are one place where to taste the Frankenwein. With 168ha area under cultivation, the Julius Spital is the second largest winery in Germany.


Würzburg's Old Bridge - Alte Mainbrücke

Würzburg's old bridge was built 1473 –1543 to replace the destroyed Romanesque bridge. It was adorned with the well-known statues of saints about 1730.




Our visit:

It took us two hours to get to Würzburg by bus. There we visited the beautiful Würzburg Residence and had a guided tour by Mrs Kaminski. She was well informed about the Residence and so it was very interesting to walk around this impressive former home of the bishops of Würzburg, brimming over with enthusiasm about the jaw-dropping architecture.  The photo shows the remarkable staircase inside the Residence.


After the guided tour we had the opportunity to  visit the  Old Town on our own to do some shopping and have a look at some more of Würzburg's famous sites.



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