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History, points of interest, art and cultural events

Würzburg - a city for looking and browsing, a historical and arthistorical picture-book with various views, but at the same time a jigsaw-puzzle of a joy of living, an art to live, cultural flair and Franconian way of life.

Würzburg started her history as a celtic shelter (around 1.000 b. C.) and a Franconian duchy (650) on the hill known today as Marienberg, which gave shelter to a settlement of fishermen in early times. In 689 the Iro-Scottish missionaries Kilian, Kolonat and Totnan suffered a martyr's death here in Würzburg. Since the foundation on the bishopry in 742, Würzburg has been the clerical center of the area. Charlemagne took part in the consecration of the cathedral in 788. The privilege of holding a market dates back to 1030 when the king's town became the town of the bishop. In 1156 Frederic Barbarossa was married to Beatrice of Burgundy here in Würzburg. He also confirmed the duchy to the bishops of Würzburg in 1168. In 1397 King Wencelas promised freedom to the empire, but was never able to keep this promise. During the Peasant's Revolt in 1525 the town sided with the peasants, who tried unsuccessfully to storm the fortress. This sealed the fate of Würzburg's famous woodcarver, alderman and mayor, Tilman Riemenschneider, who died here in 1531, a poor and broken man. In the following decades strong clerico-worldly sovereigns ruled the town, among them prince-bishop Julius Echter of Mespelbrunn, who founded the Juliusspital in 1576 and the second university of Würzburg in 1582. There, at the institute of physics, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered the X-Rays in 1895. The town reached its zenith under the leadership of the artloving family of Schönborn. For them, Balthasar Neumann built the "castle of castles" - the Residenz - between 1720 and 1744 including the famous staircase, where the Venetian Giovanni Battista Tiepolo created the world's largest ceiling fresco. After various political quarrels Würzburg became Bavarian in 1814. On March, 16th, 1945 the town was almost completely destroyed within 17 minutes. She owes her reconstruction to the extreme engagement of her inhabitants.
Today Würzburg has 130.000 inhabitants. The town has perfect traffic connections. Several highway exits connect Würzburg with a variety of routes both north and south. About 300 trains, among them 70 ICE and IC high-speed trains pass Würzburgs main station every day. The international airports of Nuremberg (NUE) and Frankfurt (FRA) can easily be reached by train in around 60 to 90 minutes. Flourishing river traffic on the Main river completes the picture.

The best way to discover Würzburgs attractions is to follow the route that leads from Balthasar Neumann's masterpiece, the former home of the prince-bishops, the Residence Palace (including Tiepolo's famous frescoes, the court chapel and the court garden) to the fortress Marienberg. This path covers St. Kilian's cathedral, Neumünster church with the grave site of the medieval poet Walther von der Vogelweide, the market square with the splendid ensemble of the chapel of St. Mary and the "House of the Falcon", a combination of Rococo and gothic style. And last but not least the city hall including the Grafeneckart tower, the Vierröhrenbrunnen fountain and the Old Main Bridge. From here, one can see St. Burkard's church and the pilgrimage church Käppele, looking up the river the Old Crane, the convention center Congress Centrum Würzburg (CCW) and finally the vineyard "Würzburger Stein". Up the fortress hill, easily accessible for a pedestrian from the western side or in summer by bus, the Museum für Franken hosts, among other outstanding collections, a huge selection of Riemenschneider's works. The church of St. Mary, the Renaissance well-temple and the fortress tower catch the eyes of the delegates at the convention center "Tagungszentrum Festung Marienberg" located within the complex (capacity of 400 persons).

As yet, not all interesting sights have been mentioned. Many profane and clerical buildings, such as the Baroque church "Stift Haug" with its crucifixion by Tintoretto, or the Old University church with its impressive Renaissance tower, Augustiner and Franciscan churches, St. Peter, St. Stephan, St. Johannis and many more buildings are within easy reach. Not forgetting the attractive courtyards and the famous "Bürgerspital zum Hl. Geist", founded in 1319 and the "Juliusspital", founded in 1576, where many a bottle of Franconian wine have been sampled and will be sampled again over the years. In addition, a lot of wine cellars, the most imposing being the cellar below the Residence, wine taverns and restaurants with a lot of local flair proudly represent Franconian hospitality. Some 50 lodging enterprises from family-run guesthouses to smart hotels of international standard provide more than 4.900 beds altogether.

Würzburg offers an interesting variety of cultural programmes althrough the year; Museums and galleries cater for various exhibitions and the Mainfranken Theater stages first class operas, plays and concerts. Wine tastings, wine and beer festivals as well as excursions by boat or coach complete the agenda for the tourist. Among the largest traditional events are the Mozart Festival (more than 25.000 visitors per year) in June, the Kiliani fun fair in July and the Christmas market in December.

Further information:
Congress - Tourismus - Würzburg
Am Congress Centrum
D- 97070 Würzburg
Phone +49 (0)931 37 23 35
Fax +49 (0)931 37 36 52
Internet: http://www.wuerzburg.deexterner Link
E-Mail: tourismus@wuerzburg.de

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