Marienbrücke (pedestrian only) to find access (the Ludwigsbrücke is
probably your best bet).
Today, the Fortress Marienberg (the Festung), rising above the River Main on
a prominent hill, is a museum and park. The hill's use as a fortress may
date back to an early Celtic settlement-fortification, which fell into
In the 8th century, a small fort and a church were built on the hill,
followed by a major fortification at the start of the 13th century.
The Marienberg proved no challenge to the invading Swedes during the
Thirty Years War and the building was subsequently reconstructed as
a combination palace-fort (Baroque style) for the Prince-Bishops of Wurzburg
in the early 17th century. It was during this reconstruction that the large
were added. The Marienberg remained the official palace of the
Prince-Bishops until the completion of the Residenz.
Be sure to
see the impressive, four-story Maschikuli Tower and Casemate, as well as the
lovely Princes’ Garden. Once
you have taken the measure of the Fortresses' might and stature, be sure to see the Princes’ Building
Museum (Fürstenbaumeusuem). It includes the Princes’ Hall, the Bibra
Apartment and a section on the history of the town. The images of the damage
resulting from World War II are bracing, as the destruction of the town was
A second museum, the Main-Franconian museum, includes an interesting
collection of Franconian art and one of the largest displays of work by the
master sculptor and woodcarver Tilman Riemenscheneider.
If you visit the Fortress, you should take a few minutes to head over to the Kappele (mid -18th Century), known as the Pilgrimage Church. The Stations of
the Cross wind up the hill to the Baroque church and its interior is ornate. Its architect was Balthasar Neumann, to whom the Residenz is
Official Website for the Festung Marienberg, can be found
The Dom St. Kilian, the fourth largest Romanesque church in Germany, was
left a shell after World War II. There are some especially poignant
photographs in the crypt/museum underneath the Dom that point out the extent
of the destruction. One image shows the church with only the main altar area
and sidewalls standing, filled with parishioners at a service shortly after
the bombing in 1945. The rebuilding of the cathedral was completed in 1967.
Today, the reconstructed church is beautiful and includes treasure by Tilman
Riemanschneider and the Schönbornkapelle (Schönborn Chapel) burial site of
the Prince-Bishops of Wurzburg. It is another of the works of Balthasar
Neumunster-kirche, a Romanesque cathedral, dates from the 11th century and includes
ornate towers and an impressive baroque façade. The church was erected at
the site the grave of St Kilian and his companions who were martyred in
Wurzburg in the late 7th century.
The Marienkapelle is a late 14th century Gothic church next to the Markt. It
is known for the sandstone sculptures of Tilman Riemanschneider adorning the
entrances, although the originals are now in the Main-Franconian Museum in
the Marienberg Fortress.
By the way, the Markt (Markplatz) is an active market that is fun to tour,
just to see what's for sale that day. In addition, it is ringed with
several cafes, where you can have a snack and refuel for the remainder of
your exploration. To the south, the Domstrasse, also, provides
numerous, pleasant places to eat, or you may prefer to take advantage of the
view from one of the cafes near the river.
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Return to Wurzburg and the Residenz (the first of our two Wurzburg
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