Würzburg: A Gem in Germany

Note: New Photos Included! Reliable Internet Access Acquired.

The (literal) high point of the Marienberg Fortress

The (literal) high point of the Marienberg Fortress

Würzburg, situated to the west of Nuremberg and a mere 45-minute train ride away, quickly stole my heart. Less popular than it’s neighbor to the east (though still crawling with tourists at its very center), it reminds me very much of Prague (still the most beautiful major European city I’ve visited). It features a prominent and imposing castle at the top of a large hill, which is met at its base by an old stone bridge (complete with a line of saints’ statues), and the main drag leads to an open plaza at the heart of the city. The streets along this main road are clogged with nick-knack shops, wine dealers, and overwhelmed tourists.

I tried, as usual, to avoid the throngs, and took only one lap through the middle of the city. My best times in Würzburg were spent wandering through all of the winding side streets and pedestrian passageways, along the backsides of massive churches.

Dom St. Kilian Schönborn-Kapelle, bult mid-11th century, in Würzburg Germany; Note the creepy skeletons. (This is the back door, I think, and is less seen and photographed than is the more famous front side of the building)

Dom St. Kilian Schönborn-Kapelle, bult mid-11th century, in Würzburg Germany; Note the creepy skeletons. (This is the back door, I think, and is less seen and photographed than is the more famous front side of the building)

The city saw only one bombing during the war, so legitimately old buildings of aesthetically pleasing character flank its cobblestone streets.

I managed, somewhat inadvertently, to walk ten miles during my walkabout, and I quite unexpectedly stumbled upon the two major buildings in town. The first, which I spotted after stopping for my first sit-down dinner of the trip (at Le Candele, an Italian restaurant), peeked out from behind a few buildings to catch my attention. I wasn’t sure what it was when I first noticed it, but there was no doubt when it came fully into view: the Residenz Würzburg is simply immense. It comprises three rectangles in the shape of an “H” (with the bisector dropped to the bottom of the letter) and is bedecked with statues, carvings, and two approximately 25-foot stories, plus a rounded roof at its maximum height, which would probably amount to four stories for any normal building. After a brief pause to marvel at the Residenz and its huge fountain in its driveway, I walked quickly through the gardens beside the mansion and decided to find the city’s castle.

Marienberg Fortress, from the Main Bridge (mainbrucke)

Marienberg Fortress, from the Main Bridge (mainbrucke)

After passing through one of Würzburg’s parks, I pointed myself toward the center of town again, hoping to find it. Walking along, I caught a glimpse of it in all of its glory between two buildings through a small alleyway. Having done a double take, I crossed the street and followed the road, the castle visible the whole way through.

Inside the Marienberg Fortress; Würzburg Germany

Inside the Marienberg Fortress; Würzburg Germany

 

 

It took me another 60 minutes or more to make my way up to the top of the hill, as I managed somehow to take the scenic and longer route through the gardens on the backside of the hill. The switchbacks tired me, but I was invigorated upon my arrival at the series of stone gates and passageways leading into the Marienburg Fortress. From its walls, I could almost make out the former shape of the city, a massive star fortress of the gunpowder age. If you’re going to visit Germany, put Würzburg – stunning in its beauty – on your list.

About Steve Capone

Interested in Domestic and Foreign Policy, Ethics, and Political Thought. One-time adjunct instructor and current full-time educator of small humans. Europhile, historophile, & bibliophile. M.S. Philosophy (Univ. of Utah 2013) M.A. Humanities (Univ. of Chicago 2007)
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One Response to Würzburg: A Gem in Germany

  1. Nicolle says:

    This picture also reminded me immediately of another one of my favorite cities: Prague! For the reasons you mention in the post: castle atop a hillside and a bridge lined with statues. Ha the Main Bridge crossing over the Main River. Is this a bigger town then Rothenburg? Sounds like it, given your description of the city center.
    Did you take a tour of the Residenz Würzburg? From what I can see on the internet, it looks like a smaller version of the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. I hope you took some pictures you can post and share with us. Tour or pictures to share of the castle?!
    I love reading your posts, Steve! You’ve got a way of describing these places in such a wonderful way yet you keep your posts short and to the point! Thanks for sharing.
    Keep having fun! 🙂
    XOXO

    PS I love the title of this post!

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