THE HIGHEST POINT
When we arrive in Wurzburg, surely your look will go to for the first time to the high, to the Fortress of Marienberg, in german, Festung Marienberg,
This is one of the most renowned and visible points of the town, placed on a hill west of River Meno and presiding over all the population.
The Celts chose this location centuries ago, and already in 500 BC, there was a Celtic Castro. Sometime after, the place was Christianized thanks to the Irish monks Kilian, Kolonat and Totnan. For hundreds of years, it was the headquarters and home of bishops and princes.
Unfortunately, and as a significant part of the town, in 1,945, the fortress suffered severe bombings and fires during World War II, leaving damages, which had it to be rebuilt and restored till 1,990.
Nowadays, this fabulous military complex, surrounded by vast walls, is open for the public, and its different areas may be visited. We find the Mainfranken Museum, with works going from prehistory to the present.
The fortress also hosts the Museum of the City, where two models stand out: one of the Medieval town and another one after the bombing of 1,945. In the Furtenbaumuseum, we will know all the history of the castle and see the chambers of the princes with their decoration full of tapestries, paintings and furniture.
The Garden of the Princes is another essential besides the castle, and it is a paved garden where the visitor also enjoys numerous sculptures and floral arrangements. Also, the Tower Maschikul, dating from the XVIIIth century, stands imposing with its four floors highlighted.
The Fortress of Marienberg is the highest point in Wurzburg. From here, we will enjoy spectacular views of the city and the valley, the river, and the characteristic vineyards of Würzburg.
We need a little bit of willpower and energy to arrive, as the climb is made by foot mixing ramps and stairs.
From the old bridge of the city, we have a one and a half kilometer walk. We must cross the bridge, turn right to Zeller Str, and continue straight on this road till Tellsteige, where we will have to turn right, and finally again to the left to find the entrance to the fortress on the right side Marienberg.
Marienberg, 97012 Würzburg, Germany
WÜRZBURG IS DIFFERENT
If something is characterizing without any doubt, a Germanic country is an amber-colored drink, the beer.
Germany is one of the most beer countries in the world, both for consumption and elaboration. Many German cities have their local and characteristic beer. In Wurzburg, there is also a typical beer, the "rauchbier" or smoked beer, a dark beer, spicy and aromatic.
Nevertheless, "Wurzburg is different´´. Here beer doesn´t win, it always competes, very strongly, with wine, and this is the one winning. Wurzburg is located in a vibrant area, with ideal climatic and orographic conditions for the growing and developing the wine strains. Its hills full of vineyards in terraces at the banks of the Meno make Wurzburg the center of the Wine region of Lower Franconia. It stands inside the famous region´s producers of German wine, mostly white wine, extending in a significant part on the South West of Germany and along the Rhine and its tributaries.
Many elements and festivities occur all year long in the town, having wine as the primary guest. The Würzburger Weinfest is an example usually taking place at the end of August. In Kletterhalle, the Kelterhallen Weinfest, the assistants can enjoy a rich wine and sandwiches at the beginning of April. This is something that is repeated in the Würzburger Weindorf, at the end of Mayin Residenzplatz. Here we can taste not only national dishes but also the cuisine of other people.
Another fabulous wine event is Hofgarten Weinfest, programmed in June. It is located in Residenz Würzburg and Hofgarten, and its wines and afternoon snacks can be tasted in a pleasant ambience. We also have the Wein Am Stein, an event taking place in the middle of June and celebrated in Weingut am Stein. In this one, together with the gastronomic program, the public can enjoy a great diversity of music, jazz, blues, reggae, soul, funk, salsa. Or the festival of Kulturtage, placed in Weingut Juliusspital during the two first weeks of May. In it, a program of music, art, and how not, wine tasting is offered.
We cannot go without tasting wine from a "Bocksbeutel" ´s bottle as these are the ones containing the superior quality wines of the region of Franconia, where Wúrzburg is. They are famous for having a particular form, slightly bulging and flat at the bottom.
Würzburg is not a big city, and it has less than 130,000 inhabitants. Nevertheless, many tourists are approaching each year to visit it.
Capital of Lower Franconia, crossed by River Meno, was the seat of an ecclesiastical principality, vassal of the Holy Roman Empire of First Reich, as it was known in Germany for more than 800 years. Its prince-bishops and also Duques of Franconia from 1,168 till the dissolution of the episcopal state in 1,808. Because of its outstanding architectural, cultural and landscaping beauty, Wurzburg doesn´t leave anyone indifferent.
As the base of a neuralgic center of the town, we place ourselves in Marienplatz or Marktplatz, so to say, the old market square.
In this place, peasants, ranchers, shoemakers, bakers and all kinds of artisans gathered to sell their products. It is a crucial area point that, besides being the meeting point for traders and buyers, this square also hosts the Mariencapelle, the Gothic Church of the XIth century.
At the front of this church, we find the statues of Adam and Eve, a work of Tilman Riemeschneider, a sculptor full of sensibility who contributed to the transition from Gothic to Renaissance in Germany, the most important of its time. He lived inWürzburg from 1,483 till his death in 1,531, getting married four times and arriving in a great position both as an artist and citizen. He was mayor of Würzburg, and his great civil career was truncated when he sympathized with the Peasant Revolution of 1,525 that took him to suffer prison and torture. Freed afterwards, he lived in poverty and isolation. His sculptural work is scattered in several places, such as the Cathedral or the Mainfrankisches Museum in Marienberg, one of the most remarkable artistic contributions Würzburg has.
The bombings of 1,945 caused significant damage to the church, both outside and inside, including many artworks. Between 1,996 and 2,003, different works of reconstruction or renovation took place.
With the works, they wanted to maintain the essence and form of the original Christian church. They held the characteristic red and white colours and the late Gothic
But what interests us in this tip is shopping, no? Well, small constructions stuck to the temple call attention, like bird´s nests, hosting shops and cafeterias.
This always calls the attention of those visiting the town, as it is not usual to see a church of such magnitude with shops annexed to its feet. Nevertheless, this was common in the XVth century, so, once more, it is intended to maintain the ancient essence shown this way, as the commercial activity was in the XVth century.
The name of these shops is Swallow Shops.
There are other points of the city where buying: the street Schoenbornstrasse, the main commercial artery, full of shops of any kind. It is easy to arrive on foot from the back part of the church, passing by Oberer Markt, another good place for shopping.
THE PICTURE OF WÜRZBURG?
Lovers of photography, searchers of a perfect angle, the most beautiful postcard, and the most characteristic visual memory of the place. This tip interests you.
It isn´t effortless to choose a single scene to call it the perfect picture of Würzburg. But even when there are many worthy corners for a snapshot in this beautiful German town, finally we decant for the Franconia Fountain.
Franconia is the name used for one of the regions in the South of the country. It is located in the Northern part of the Federated States of Bavaria, bordering Baden-Wurtemberg, Thuringia and Saxony, and the Czech Republic.
On June 3rd, 1,894, the fountain Franconia was inaugurated, and it was a present for the Bavarian prince regent, Lutpold, during his 70th birthday. This fountain was known as the fountain of love for all the Franconian people.
The location of this fountain has helped the election of "the"picture of Wüzburg: beside Residenzplatz, the place where the Regent Prince was born. Its visualization with the majestic Residence at the back is one of the best postcards of the town.
In the monument, we can appreciate at the top a woman dressed as a warrior, with armour, holding in her head a ducal crown. She has both hands occupied; In one of them, she holds the banner of the Bishopric of Würzburg, in German "Rennfähnlein", and the other one a laurel crown.
At the foot of the pedestal, there are other statues of famous city characters; Walther von der Vogelweide, a famous lyric poet: Tilman Riemenschneider sculptor and woodcarver Matthias Grünewald, Renaissance painter of religious works.
At each corner of the obelisk, the four virtues are represented, Fortitudo, Prudentia, Temperantia and Justice.
Ferdinand Freiherr von Miller designed the work. And for the first time in the town, a fountain provided potable sweet water.
In 1,981, UNESCO included this monument, the square, the gardens, and the palace in the Heritage of Humanity list. The palace was the new Residence of the prince-bishops of Würzburg from the XVIIIth century, and it is considered one of the most important baroque palaces in Europe. A masterpiece of the architect and engineer Johan Balthasar Neumann, keeping the famous imperial type staircase at its interior, very much criticized by its audacity, and curiously one of the few palace structures remaining intact after the terrible bombing of March 16th, 1,945. The Residence is the maximum architectural symbol of the town.
To arrive is very simple, we only have to ubicate at the central part of the square, facing the Residence´s facade, and letting the street Balthasar-Neumann-Promenade at our back.
DID YOU KNOW…?
Did you know X rays were discovered in Würzburg? And did you know that thanks to this discovery, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen received the first Nobel Prize in physics in 1,901?
Wilhelm was not born or died in this city; nevertheless, he was a mechanical engineer and, at the same time, a teacher of physics in the University of Wüzburg, and it was here, in his office, where he achieved this revolutionary invention.
In Castilian, the word Röntgen didn´t mean anything, but radiography in German is röntgenaufnahme. Even when Wilhelm asked expressly not to use his name…
The physicist donated the amount he received for his Nobel to the university. He never searched for his benefit with his finding. He refused several proposals for the commercial exploitation of the discovery as he thought that this one should benefit humanity without the obstacles of patents, licences, contracts or monopolies.
The university keeps existing nowadays and has a lot of prestige in the German country. Many other scientists passed by the institution, such as Wilhelm Wien, who won another Nobel in Physics in 1,911 thanks to the heat radiation, or E.Fischer, S.Arrhenius, E.Buchner, M. von Laue or J.Stark.
The university of Wüzburg targeted him for the honorary degree of Doctor in Medicine. Also, in his honour, the unity of measurement of the exposition to radiation, established in 1,928, takes his name.
The place where X Rays were discovered has become a free museum. It is in Röntgenring street number 8, and it is a building used by the University of Applied Sciences of Wüzburg-Schweinfurt.
To get here, the easiest is to locate in Marienkapelle and from there walk for about ten minutes, 850 meters. Looking at the church´s facade in front of us, we have to take the street on our left, Häfnergasse, which, not many meters further, will be called Ulmer Hof. We must continue by Ulmer Hof till we reach Koelliker Strasse street, which we must take to the right. After it, we should turn slightly to the left to maintain this same street. We continue till we see at the right side of the road Franz-von-Rinecker-Weg, and we take the first to the left. Then we will find our destination on the right side.
AMONG SAINTS, A KING
Are you one of those who has eyes wide open when visiting a destination? If so, this challenge is for you.
One of the most photographed points of the town of Würzburg is its old bridge, Alte Mainbrücke. It is an architectural jewel crossing River Meno and a work of art that many resemble the very famous bridge of Charles V in Prague. If you have already been to the capital of the Czech Republic, you will have an idea of how the bridge we refer to will be. If not, don´t worry because in the following lines you will discover everything.
Alte Mainbrucke was built between the end of the XVth century and the beginning of the XVIth, taking advantage of an ancient bridge done by the Romans. With a great beauty thanks partly to its Baroque style, the views are privileged from it. You can see the Congress Center, the Alter Krahnen or just below the fortress of Marienberg the parish church of Saint Burkard, and a beautiful panorama of local buildings and houses.
Returning to the comparación with Prague, both bridges logically cross a river; the one of Wurzburg, as we already have commented, is Meno. In the case of Prague, it is Moldova. Now comes what interests us; The statues, 31 in the bridge of Prague, 12 in this one of Wurzburg. Figures have a significant relation with religious life and saints.
Centring again in Wurzburg and leaving Prague for another day, you must know that 11 statues are saints. But what happens with the twelfth? The title already has given you a track...among the saints; there is a King…
Born in Belgium about 714, he died in France in 768. He was the younger son of Charles Martel and father of Charlemagne, King of the Francs. During his reign, he returned an order to his Kingdom. Do you already know who we are talking about?
If not, here comes the challenge, find the statue, and you will know which emperor we are talking about. Do you dare to find it among so many Saints?
To get to this bridge, on foot, from the Cathedral, there are 400 meters. You cannot get lost as the way is a straight line. You must leave the Cathedral at your back and follow the commercial street Domstrasse. As you are approaching, the road will change its name to Alte Mainbrucke, like the bridge. Go ahead!
CORPSES IN A STABLE
The Cathedral of Würburg is one of the city´s marvels and one of these monuments. We tell you in the first place the fundamental, historical and most known data, and a little further, these curiosities that we as tourists like so much.
Of Romanesque style and with two iconic twin towers 105 meters high, the Cathedral of Würzburg is the fourth biggest Romanesque church in Germany. It was ordered to be built at the beginning of the XIth century. Although it suffered significant damages after the bombing of World War II, the building was restored and consecrated in 1 967. Still today, it is possible to visualize vestiges of the original baroque structure in the transept and the chancel. It is the third temple that is elevated in the place. The two previous ones, dated 787 and 855, were destroyed by fire.
When you are in front of the facade, observe each detail. The ivory colour mixes to perfection with the reddish and grey tones of its bricks. Presiding this visit, we find a beautiful rosette and an elegant lock. In the interior part, there is a vast collection of ancient objects, giving an idea of the rich complexity of the history of this church. Highlights the baptismal font from 1,279, some works of the Gothic sculptor Tilman Riemenschneiderm, several Gothic Renaissance and Baroque episcopal tombs, aside from the chapel Schönborn, of Baltasar Neumann.
The Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Kilian. He was an Irish bishop who evangelized in Germany, especially in Franconia, arriving even to be bishop of Würzburg.
As it is told, Kilian was a monk in Ireland, and from there, he marched with twelve companions, among them Colman and Totnan, to evangelize in German lands. People listened to him, listened to the word of God and fastly joined his beliefs. Count Gosbert also embraced the Christian faith, the fact that his wife Geilana didn´t like it, as she was in the first place the wife of the deceased brother of Gosbert. Kilian amongst them for what was an illegal marriage at that time and following Christianism, why Fosbert ended repudiating Geilana. She swore revenge, and taking profit off one of the trips of Gosbert; she hired two assassins to kill the three mo ks. They pierce them with a sword and bury them in a stable. One of the hitmen ended confessing the crime.
The Cathedral is located at the very historic center and can be seen practically from any city point. The most nearby railway stations are Wúrzburg Hbf or Würzburg Süd, with less than twenty minutes walking.
WALKER, THERE IS NO PATH; THE PATH IS MADE BY WALKING
We propose a walk-in Würzburg to know its main attractions. Take note and enjoy each corner. We will start in the Residence of Wúrzburg, one of the most important works of the German Baroque that is usually compared in Europe with the palace of Schönbrun in Viena and the Palace of Versaille in Paris. Hofgarten is gardens of the court of Wüzburg, located in the Residence and ideals to disconnect for a while.
Leaving the Residence at our back, taking the street Hibstrasse for 500 meters, we will bump, on the left side, with the Cathedral, easily recognized for its two twin towers in white and reddish colours. About it, we will talk more extensively in the next tip.
We will go now to the backside of the Cathedral to find Domstrasse in front and Kürschnerhof to the right. We should take this second in a slight detour to see the Church Neumünster, where the Irish missionaries Kilian, Colman and Totnan rest.
Again, we will take Domstrasse, this commercial street, full of shops of any kind and cafeterias. To the left, we will see Sternplatz. Do you remember what it meant? The square star. We will turn now to the right, by Schustergasse, a street that will guide us, in two minutes, to our next destination: Maeienkapelle and the square of the market.
We can take profit from this point to make a technique stop and use the public bathrooms. Once again ready, we will see Falkenhouse, near the apse of Marienkapelle, translated as House of the Falcon, rococo building in yellow colour where the Tourist Office is located.
We will head down to the Town Hall that is only three minutes walking going back to Mariencapelle and taking the street Rückermainstrasse. The tower of the Town Hall counts with two clocks, one of them is a sundial. In the interior, we can see a model of the town after the bombing of 1,945. Each March 16th, at the time of that bombing that destroyed 88% of the city, the bells of all the churches of the town sound.
Ending our walk, we will border the Town Hall by Karmelitenstrasse till we get to Alte Mainbrücke street, which will guide us directly to the old bridge of the town, offering superb views. At one side is the imponent fortress whose silhouette is reflected in the Meno. At the other one, the baroque towers sticking out over the roofs of the city.
A SQUARE STAR
Between walking and visiting, one needs to relax! And it is so that the tourist´s life is very nice, but also very hard, isn´t it true? We are far from the commodities of our houses and customs, and during the trip, we spend all day from here to there, being nomads and soaking scents, flavors and visits to which we are not used.
Sometimes, all these minutes pass so fast that we are not even conscious, and sometimes we visit a town, but we don´t know their people, neither the style of life they have.
For this reason, it should be mandatory to take a break, even if it is short, to see life go by. The ideal place for this in Würzburg is Sternplatz.
Those who don´t know German or never studied it know that the language is very different from Castillian. The Spanish speakers will say "The X square"; Germans speak of "Xplatz" Platz means square. Although on some occasions, it can define another characteristic. Sternplatz means "square star".
A square star? They are two incompatible forms, but all have an explanation. The form of the square seems to be a quadrangle, and inside of it, there is a fountain with the shape of a star.
Forster was the sculptor in charge of the fountain formed by a ninf, a faun, a group of tritons, and a brass fish throwing water inward. It was built in 1,987, and it is one of the favourite fountains for locals.
For a long time, Sternplatz was the town´s main square, as its location in Domstrasse was the central commercial route and many markets as the one for fish were in this area before. Nowadays, it counts with commerce, cafes with pleasant terraces, banks, and public baths in the underground.
This lovely wooded square is located in the ancient town, in the thick of Würzburg. Halfway between the Cathedral of St Killian and Grafeneckart, Dormstrasse widens its Southside till Sternplatz. So, arriving here on foot is very easy.
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