The Würzburg Residenz is a mammoth building that encompasses art styles from around Europe. The gardens are also an exquisite part of the reason that it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Würzburg Residenz took over 50 years to build in the late 17th to early 18th centuries. Built to house the Bishop-princes of Franconia, it was lavish and extremely expensive. Unfortunately is was all but destroyed at the end of World War II, and now only a few rooms remain that are original. These are the the Vestibule, Garden Hall, White Hall, Staircase and Imperial Hall. All others had to be reconstructed using photographs.
To enter the main part of the building, you must buy a ticket (currently 9 Euros), but there are a few parts that you can visit for free. The first is the gardens, which are locked after dusk, but open all other times. And the second is the baroque Hofkirche or Court church that was consecrated in 1743.
Once you enter and join your tour group, you will go through the Vestibule to the staircase. The stairs are very shallow as it was important for the genteel folk to take their time climbing or descending the staircase. The Vestibule is big enough for the horse-drawn carriages to come right in for pick up and drop off. No need for anyone to deal with the outside elements.
The ceiling of the staircase is painted in a huge fresco depicting the four known continents of the world. The one pictured is North America. Note the native princess riding in on an alligator. Pretty impressive, huh?
The frescoes were painted by the Venetian, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and if you look closely over the statue’s shoulder you will see him peeking out over the ceiling’s corner at his creation. (I love little things like this!)
Even though, I don’t think the Würzburg Residenz is the most exciting World Heritage Site that I’ve ever visited. It certainly is worth the trip. They have an English tour each day at 11:00 in the morning, and I would highly recommend taking it to learn of all the little stories and the exciting history of the building.
The city of Würzburg is also a great stopover while doing other sightseeing in Bavaria or Germany, in general, but more about that later!
Have you been to Würzburg? What did you think? Did you visit the Residenz? Or at least the gardens?