Würzburg Residence

Würzburg, Germany

The sumptuous Würzburg Residence was built and decorated in the 18th century by an international corps of architects, painters, sculptors, and stucco workers under the patronage of two successive Prince-Bishops, Johann Philipp Franz and Friedrich Karl von Schönborn.

The Residence was essentially constructed between 1720 and 1744, decorated on the interior from 1740 to 1770 and landscaped with magnificent gardens from 1765 to 1780. It testifies to the ostentation of the two Prince-Bishops, and as such illustrates the historical situation of one of the most brilliant courts of Europe during the 18th century. The most renowned architects of the period - the Viennese, Lukas von Hildebrandt, and the Parisians Robert de Cotte and Germain Boffrand - drew up the plans. They were supervised by the official architect of the Prince Bishop, Balthasar Neumann, who was assisted by Maximilian von Welsch, the architect of the Elector of Mainz. Sculptors and stucco-workers came from Italy, Flanders, and Munich. The Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo frescoed the staircase and the walls of the Imperial Hall.

As a result of a devastating air raid on March 16, 1945, the residence was almost completely burnt out and only the central building with the Vestibule, Garden Hall, Staircase, White Hall and Imperial Hall survived the inferno, their roofs destroyed. From the attic the fire ate down through wooden ceilings and floors, and all the furnishings and wall panelling which had not been stored elsewhere were devoured by the flames. Much of the furnishing and large sections of the wall panelling of the period rooms had been removed in time and thus escaped destruction. Neumann's stone vaults withstood the collapse of the burning attic. However, because the roofs had gone, further damage was incurred in the ensuing period due to dampness. In the Court Chapel, for example, most of the ceiling frescoes by Rudolph Byss succumbed to the subsequent consequences of the fire, in spite of the intact vault, and had to be laboriously reconstructed.

From 1945 to 1987, the building and its interiors were reconstructed to their current state. The residence gives consummate testimony to the imposing courtly and cultural life of the feudalistic era of the 18th century, but at the same time its varied use today is an example of modern utilisation and preservation as a monument of ahistorical structure.

The Würzburg Residence with its Court Gardens and Residence Square was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981.

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Details

Founded: 1720-1780
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany
Historical period: Thirty Years War & Rise of Prussia (Germany)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dirk Trossen (10 months ago)
Very impressive place with beautifully restored rooms, most of which were largely destroyed in 1945. Unfortunately you cannot take photos inside, which is even more a pity since the offering of photo material in the shop is rather limited. That's a real shame and it would foster interest in the history and beauty of the place if suitable photographic memories were possible and available.
Dana Pa (10 months ago)
Some very impressive rooms in this palace especially considering that most of it was destroyed in 1945 and then restored over the years. However, I have no understanding at all for not allowing photography inside! Especially because the books available in the shop have sub standard quality photos in them. The Residenz in München has no such policy. Photos are memories!
z k (10 months ago)
Not just another palace! If you're thinking of skipping because you've seen so many, reconsider. The inside is truly stunning. The ceiling paintings, the mirror room, and the pink marble "ballroom" are on another level. This is what all other palaces aspire to be, and photos do not do it justice. It's both a crime and a blessing that photos aren't allowed. For once I can put away my camera and all its distractions, not feel the need to rush for the best photos, and just use my own eyes to really appreciate the masterpiece that is this palace. Take your time and study all the details. Even if you read all the painting placards, it doesn't take too long, and it really enriches the experience. Midday is a nice time to come, to waste away the hot hours. Save the gardens for when it's cool, earlier or later in the day. They're open longer. If you use the lockers, be sure to keep some money with you. The gift shop is upstairs near the end of the tour.
Andrei Arkhipov (2 years ago)
It is a definitive place to visit.
Johannes H (2 years ago)
What a beautiful garden to stroll through. The building is also a nice view.
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