Würzburg

On Thursday the 13th of January, after a few days in Arundel and Feltham in England, I started my journey to Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany to stay with my friend Petra.
 
The weather in England had been absolutely horrid (I am sure everyone has heard of the flooding!) so I was so pleased to fly into the mild weather being experienced in Bavaria.
 
After an eventful train journey from Munich Airport to the main city station (I missed my station), I was finally on the ICE train to Würzburg.  Unbeknown to me (and evidently my travel agent…) flying into Frankfurt and catching the ICE train directly from that airport (one of the largest in Europe) to Würzburg would have taken about 1/3 of the time.
In Würzburg I was met on the platform by Petra.  Whilst we had not met in person before, we have been corresponding for a number of years so it was great to  finally meet her. We drove about 15 minutes to a beautiful nearby town, which is surrounded by vineyards. Petra is an amazing cook and after her boyfriend Achim (a poster boy for the nearby town of Weikersheim where he grew up) came home we enjoyed a delicious pasta dish made with tomato sauce from Petra’ s parent’s property.
 
On Friday Petra kindly showed me around the city of Würzburg.  It was a beautiful sunny day, so we were really very lucky with the weather.  We started off at the Cathedral, which is a principal work of German architecture of the 11th and 12th centuries.  It is the fourth largest Romanesque cathedral in Germany and was magnificent to see. Construction dtarted on the Dom in 1040.  Some of the original Baroque stacco is still intact!
 
We next visited the “Grafeneckart”  and town hall.
The Grafeneckart was originally the seat of an Episcopal and the building features a Romanesque tower and a 13th century hall “Wenzelsaal”. Once again, some very impressive architecture!
 
Alte Mainbrücke, the bridge over the river Main, is enormous and so beautiful.  The brudge was erected in 1473 to 1543 in place of an even older Romanesque bridge.  The characteristic statues of Saints along the bridge were added circa 1730. It is common in Summer (or on a nice sunny day in Winter!) to have a glass of wine along the and enjoy the breeze.
 
Marienkapelle, a late Gothic period hall church, is most probably the most impressive church that I have ever seen. Construction on the church itself commenced in 1377 and was finished in 1480 with the erection of the church tower. What impressed me most about this church was the elaborate ornamentation, especially in the arches of the doorways.  In one doorway is a very detailed and life like sculpture of Adam and Eve based on the work of Tilman Riemenschneider which now appears in the Mainfränkisches Museum.
To top off my amazing day, Petra then took me to Residence Palace, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. This palace was unbelievable – I have never seen anything so beautiful in my life. The palace is typical architecture of the South German Baroque era and is one of the most important castles in Europe! It was built from 1720-1744 based on the design by Balthasar Neumann. A lot of the palace was not destroyed in 1945. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Residence Palace and hope I can visit it again one day!
 
Würzburg is the first town on the Romantic Road which, whilst developed to encourage tourism in Germany,  sounds like a very nice drive and a great way to see Germany and its many castles.
 
For you history buffs, here are some facts about Würzburg:
* Around 1000BC Celtic Refuge on the Marienberg
* Around 600 AD Seat of Franconian duke
* 689 The Irish/Scottish missionaires Kilian, Kolonat and Totnan are assassinated in Würzburg
* 704 First official mentioning of Würzburg
* 706 Consecration of the church on the Marienberg
* 742 Founding of the Diocese of Würzburg
* 788 Construction of the first cathedral
* 1156 Wedding of Frederic Barbarossa and Beatrix of Burgundy
* 1168 Frederic Barbarossa confirms the dukedom of Franconia
* 1525 During the Peasants’ War, Würzburg sides with the farmers
* 1573-1617 Rule of the Prince Bishop Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn
* 1576 Founding of the Juliusspital
* 1582 Founding of the university
* 1631 The city is conquered by Gustav Adolf II of Sweden
* 1720 Construction begins on the Residence Palace
* 1802 Secularization causes the dissolving of the prince-bishopric
* 1814 Würzburg is annexed by Bavaria
* 1867 Würzburg loses its fortifications which are replaced by a secular park
* 1895 Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers x-rays
* 1945 90% of the city is destroyed by aerial bombings
* 2004 1300-year anniversary
* 2014 I visited Würzburg
Residence Palace – grand staircase
Vineyards in Würzburg
Würzburg Cathedral
Würzburg Cathedral
Würzburg Cathedral
This man is said to be a victim of bureaucracy
The fountain of the four rivers
City hall
City hall

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