Don’t you love it when you’re surprised by a place? The city of Wurzburg, Germany, was a stop on our Viking river cruise and our destination there, the Wurzburg Residenz.
Wait. Maybe that was Fredonia? I can almost hear the song . . . .
Anyway, Wurzburg’s prime tourist attraction is the spectacular Wurzburg Residenz, a building that deserves to be every bit as famous as Frances’ exquisite Versailles. Construction began around 1720 for Prince-Bishop Johann Phillipp Franz von Schonborn.
I’m not sure what it means to be a “prince-bishop.” But I do hope the funds that built this rococo masterpiece came from the prince’s pocketbook rather than from Sunday collections.
I have friends going on the same cruise next year and when we met to talk about the places I’d visited, Jayne wasn’t sure if she’d go on the Residenz tour or not. Soooo . . . this post is to urge Jayne (and you, if you’re in the neighborhood!) to visit this magnificent place. Unfortunately, we were not permitted to take photos inside. And a blog without photos is kind of wah-wah-wah . . . don’t you think?
I did find a beautiful YouTube piece (link below – hope it works) posted by JourneyMephistix in 2011 that gives you a tour of the interior of the residence. One little piece of information I remember is that carriages drove right into the gigantic entrance hall so ladies could alight at the foot of the grand staircase, gliding up to join the festivities in the ballroom above.
Another little tidbit about Wurzburg: between 1626 and 1631, as many as 900 witches were brought to trial and burnt, making the activities in Salem look like small potatoes. This took place under Bishop Adolph and was one of the largest peace-time mass trials in history.
Do Google Wurzburg Residenz for detailed information about the history of the building and the priceless works of art and decorative pieces inside it. Most of the city and a good portion of the residence was destroyed in bombing just weeks before the end of World War II. Fortunately, the Imperial Hall with its frescoes by Italian master Tiepolo and the Grand Staircase, along with the Vestibule, Garden Hall and White Hall survived, even as the building’s burning attic collapsed.
Later the resourceful war widows of Wurzburg spearheaded a 20 million euro renovation not only of the Residenz, but of the city itself. Seeing the magnificent Wurzburg Residenz is worth the trip – promise.