Wurzburg, Germany

Entering Wurzburg

Wurzburg, Germany

Wurzburg is a Franconia city in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. It is located on the Main River approximately 120 kms from Frankfurt and Nuremberg by road and it is a center for culture, exports, trade, and commerce. It is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Unterfranken. It is a German speaking city with the regional dialect as Franconian. The city itself is not included in the district of Wurzburg but is its administrative seat and holds a population of roughly 131,320 (2006 census). Wurzburg started as a Celtic fortification in 1000 BC where the Castle Marienberg now stands. As it was Christianized in 686 by Kilian, Colman, and Totnan; a group of Irish missionaries wanting to convert the area. First called Vurteburch in 704, the first diocese was founded by Saint Boniface in 742 who appointed Saint Burkhard as the first bishop of Wurzburg. The bishops created a duchy in the center of the city which extended throughout the 12th century to Eastern Franconia. Wurzburg became the seat of several Imperial diets, including the one of 1180, in which Henry the Lion was banned from the Empire and his duchy was handed over to Otto of Wittelsbach. [wikipedia] In 788, the first church was built and became the present Würzburg Cathedral and was later consecrated that same year by Charlemagne. It was converted to Romanesque style from 1040 to 1225. Wurzburg is also home to the infamous University: The University of Würzburg, which was founded in 1402 and re-founded in 1582.

Wurzburg Residence

The city saw numerous revolts as the citizens stood up against the prince-bishop, until defeat in 1400. Wurzburg was a center for the German Peasant’s War, but the castle was not successfully seized. The city was invaded by the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus in 1631 destroying the castle. The Wurzburg Residence began construction in 1720 and in 1803 the city was passed to the Electorate of Bavaria. During the Napoleonic Wars a few years later, Wurzburg was made a seat of the Electorate of Wurzburg, the later Grand Duchy of Wurzburg. 1814 became part of the Bavarian kingdom with a new bishopric created several years later, as the former had secularized in 1803. Throughout the Middle Ages, massacres of Jews occured in 1147 and 1298 leading to expulsions. During Nazi rule, most of the Jewish and Gypsy population of the city was wiped out. On March 16, 1945 the city was destroyed by over 225 Lancaster bombers in 17 minutes by a British air raid during World War II> Most of the city did not survive, losing most of its churches, monuments, and cathedrals in the loss. The city center was totally destroyed in a firestorm where over 5,000 perished. Reconstruction started and lasted over 20 years with the historic buildings and monuments restored to as accurate as possible to the originals. Those responsible for the rebuilding were primarily women, and they were called “Trümmerfrauen” or “Rubblewomen” because the men were either dead or Prisoners of War. After the war, Wurzburg became host to the US Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, 1st Infantry Division, US Army Hospital and various other US military units who have maintained a presence in Germany which has brough great economic benefit to the area. These units are due to withdraw from Würzburg by 2008 which brings an end to over 60 years of US military presence in Würzburg.

Würzburg’s Old Main Bridge (Alte Mainbrücke)
The Old Main Bridge was built 1473–1543 to replace the destroyed Romanesque bridge from 1133. It was adorned from 1730 on in two phases with well-known statues of saints and famous persons.

Along the Main River (riverwalk)

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