As I explained in my previous article, from Trier we reached Würzburg via Frankfurt, using two buses and one ICE train that brought us directly to Würzburg main station. Würzburg was just a stopover destination for us but we were really excited to visit there. We read a lot of positive feedbacks on internet: the beautiful Residenz, one of the biggest in the world, the breathtaking view from the Marienberg fortress and the nice historical centre. We really hoped we could do everything in one day because in the evening we had to get on the train to reach Rothenburg, our real destination.
Some Information About Würzburg
First of all, we decided to stop in Würzburg because it is part of the Romantische Strasse, a famous tourist destination (especially for Asians, I suppose) in the south of Germany, in the Bundesland of Bayern. Romantische Strasse starts from the city of Füssen, famous for the disney-esque castle of Neuschweinstein, and continues until Würzburg, the end of the Strasse. The place was inhabited by celtic, that built a small fortress where now we find the Festung Marienberg and later, became a Cristian territory. The city is rich in italian baroque architecture; indeed, many italian architects and painters came here in the past to enrich the city with their art masterpieces. Although the city is very old, as the foundation year of university (1400) points out, was totally destroyed during the second world war and many of the old buildings had to be constructed again.
The city is not very large nor very small so in one day you can visit the main landmarks even though you need to rush a bit, something that I do not like at all. The places that should absolutely be visited are:
To reach Residenz we went by foot through the city because it allows you to explore better the centre and enjoy local life. I add that, anyway, there are many buses going around and one even stops just in front of the Residenz. The Residenz has been built by one of the most prominent baroque architecture Johann Neumann in the 18th century and used as residence for the Prince-bishops that ruled the state of Bavaria in the past. It was heavily destroyed during the second world war, as many other historical buildings in the city, but was restored just afterwards. Nowadays it hosts a university…and what a nice university!! I would like to study here too, it seems a beautiful place for students to focus on their studies: thinking about all the events that happened there would make me more eager to learn everyday ? We could not visit inside because on that day it was closed making us quite disappoined but the french-style garden, which gave even more elegance to the whole building, managed to make our good mood come back again.
This part of the Residenz is my favourite, it impressed me so much when I first entered, that left me with a wide open mouth! It is one of the first examples of Baroque used for religious purposes in Germany and built by the same architect that constructed the Residenz. The pictures on the sides are, instead, made by an Italian painter called Tiepolo. The entrance is totally free and is totally worth a visit! One of my favourite places in Würzburg after Festung Marienberg.
2) Festung Marienberg
The fortress Marienberg is located on the top of the hill Schlossberg; for its strategic position, already during the celtic period, they built a worship complex there but later, was replaced by a catholic church, the oldest one in Würzburg. The fortress was modified myriad of times throughout the time: It was used as residence for Prince-Bishops of Würzburg, changed into a Renaissance castle and then conquered by the Swedes, who renewed it following the baroque style and adding a garden. To reach the fortress, we just used our feet, even though, now that I think about it, was not a very good idea xD it was very long and tiring, also because of the hot weather on that day (hard to find hot days in Germany, isn’t it?!). We crossed the bridge and then went left, more than a stroll as depicted on the city map we found on the way, was a hike! We went up up to the top of the hill where, then, we entered something like a castle walls and reached the inside. Everything was very..quiet! It is weird, no tourists around?! We could not understand why so we were afraid of finding the castle closed but despite this desolation, it was open and later we encountered some living people wandering around. The inside is like a true medieval town: the floor covered with cobblestones, cannons, ancient gates and towers. I wonder if they held medieval festivals there, I am sure it would be an authentic reminiscence of the past!
Anyway, the best part is the view over the colorful city of Wurzburg: we could spot the Kiliansdom, the River Mainz, the bridge and other historical buildings. It was beautiful up there, the hike was totally woth it! To go back, we opted for something less exhausting and got on a bus, whose stop is located just after the main entrance of the castle.
Marienkapelle, Kollegiatstift Neumünster and Sankt Kiliansdom are part of the same religious entity and are all located near each other. Marienkapelle was built in the 14th century, but just like other historical buildings was destroyed during the war, was not spared by the war’s ferocity and many art masterpieces went lost. Now it stands out all over the other buildings on the square for its shining red colour. On the square we can find a Maibaum, which is a long wooden stick where they used to put prizes, mainly food, that people could win if they climbed up to the top before all the other participants. Another beautiful building that amazed me was the library built in a beautiful rococo style, I suppose. I wish I had a beautiful library like that, I would go reading books there everyday!
4) Sankt Kiliansdom
This church is the symbol of the city, as well as the Residenz, and characterises the city skyline seen from the bridge and Festung Marienberg. It is dedicated to Saint Kilian, an Irish missionary that moved to Germany and, there, died as martyr. Some churches had already built on the same place but the nowadays complex was built in the 11th century in romanesque style even if, throughout the time, it went through different renovations like the additions of gothic naves and baroque stuccos. After all of these events, the church had also gone through the heavy bombs that struck the city at the time of the IIWW. As consequence, the Sankt Kiliansdom we see now is just a reconstruction from those ruins. The inside is very curious because there is a mix between old and modern art; for someone like me that praises just the old art is a bit weird but thinking about it, it is not a bad idea and blends into it very well, it is also another way to show the Germans’ desire to move forward after the almost total destruction of the war.
5) A stroll along the river and on the Bridge
The bridge was the Würzburg’s landmarks I wanted to see the most! I think german developed a thing for bridges as they are everywhere and very beautifully built, always allowing you to get a beautiful glimpse of the city’s surroundings. The Alte Mainbrücke was not an exception! It is adorned with saints statues and offers a nice view over the river Main and the vineyards situated under the Festung Marienberg. To be honest, I expected it to be larger and bigger because I guess, after visiting Charles Bridge in Prague, no bridges can match its beauty. It is a place not to miss, even more if you are planning a visit to Festung Marienberg, as this is the way that leads you to it.
Have you ever been to Würzburg? What do you like the most about the city? Did the landscape from Festung Marienburg amazed you in the same way amazed me? Write down your opinions and experiences ?