Würzburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany. Located on the Main river, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Unterfranken.
- For the German World War II radar system of the same name see Wuerzburg radar.
The city of Würzburg is not included in Würzburg (district), but is its administrative seat. Its population is about 127,000 as of 2000.
View from Old Main Bridge to Würzburg Cathedral
By 1000 BC a Celtic fortification stood on the site of the Fortress Marienberg. It was christianized in 689 by the irish missionary Kilian , and the first diocese was founded by St. Bonifatius in 742. He appointed the first bishop of Würzburg, St. Burkhard.
The first church at the site of the cathedral was built in 788; the current building was constructed 1040-1225 in romanesque style. The University of Würzburg was founded in 1402 and re-founded 1582.
Würzburg was a center of the German Peasants' War; the castle was besieged unsuccessfully. Notable duke bishops include Julius Echter and members of the Schönborn family. In 1631, Swedish King Gustav Adolf invaded the town and destroyed the castle.
In 1720, foundations of the Würzburg Residence were laid. In 1814, the town became part of the Bavarian state. During World War II, on March 16, 1945, 90% of the city was laid to ruins by a British bombing campaign. Most of the main artistic highlights survived, while the baroque city center was irrecoverably damaged.
Commerce, Business and Transportation
Würzburg is mainly known as an administrative center. The biggest employers are the University of Würzburg and the municipality. Biggest private employer is König und Bauer , a maker of printing machines.
The town is located on the intersection of the Autobahn A3 and A7, several highways. It is also a major hub for the Deutsche Bahn with connections to Munich, Frankfurt, Kassel/Hannover, many of which are high-speed tracks for the ICE. The Main river is connected to the Rhine as well as the Danube river, via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal.
Arts and Architecture
Notable artists that lived in Würzburg include poet Walther von der Vogelweide (12th and 13th cent.), philosopher Albertus Magnus and painter Mathias Grunewald. Two artist that made a lasting impression were sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider (1460-1531), who was also mayor and participated in the Peasants' War, and Balthasar Neumann (1687-1753), baroque architect and builder of the Würzburg Residence that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its interiour was decorated by Giovanni and Domenico Tiepolo.
Many of the cities "100 churches" survived intact with styles ranging from romanesque, gothic, baroque to modern. Parts of the cathedral St. Kilian were built in the romanesque periods. The "Käppele" on the other side of the Main river was planned by Balthasar Neumann.
Würzburg hosts the Mainfranken Museum, with artefacts from prehistory until modern times, a Museum of the cathedral, galleries for ancient and modern art, and the "Kulturspeicher" from 2002. Notable festivals include the Afrika Fest in Mai and the Mozart Fest , in June/July.
Other Famous Citizens
St.Kilian on the Old Main Bridge with Fortress Marienberg in the back
Philipp von Siebold was among the first Westerners to visit and work in Japan (1823). Werner Heisenberg was born in Würzburg in 1901. It is the location of Wilhelm Röntgen's original laboratory, where he discovered x-rays. The University granted Alexander Graham Bell an honorary Ph.D. for his pioneering scientific work. Würzburg is also the hometown of NBA star Dirk Nowitzki.
Historic Buildings in Würzburg
The Fortress Marienberg is the castle on a hill across the Old Main Bridge, overlooking the whole town area as well as the surrounding hills.
Among Würzburgs' many notable churches are the Käppele, a small Baroque/Rococo chapel by Balthasar Neumann, the Schönborn Chapel, a side-chapel of the Dome has interior decoration made of human bones and skulls. Look for statues of Adam and Eve by Riemenschneider in the Market Church.
The Julius Spital is a baroque hospital with a courtyard and a church built by the prince bishop Julius Echter . Its medieval wine cellar, together with those of the Würzburg Residence and the Bürgerspital are one place where to taste the Frankenwein. With 168ha area under cultivation, the Julius Spital is the second largest winery in Germany.
Würzburg's Old Bridge - Alte Mainbrücke
Würzburg's old bridge was built 1473 –1543 replacing the destroyed Romanesque bridge. It was adorned with the well-known statues of saints about 1730.
Historic population figures for Würzburg:
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04