The Marienkirche (Saint Mary's Church) stands in the inner court of the Marienberg Fortress in Würzburg. The first Christian church at this location was built in 706 by Duke Hedan II. The structure of today's building can be traced back to the early 11th century. It is the oldest church in Würzburg and the oldest building in the fortress.
Duke Hedan II erected a small church in the year 706 during the early middle ages, which was dedicated to the virgin Mary. It was the cathedral and burial site of the Würzburg bishops until the remains of the martyrs Saint Kilian, Saint Colman und Saint Totnan were relocated to the new Würzburg Cathedral on the other side of the Main river in 788. The Marienkirche was officially transferred to the Saint Burkard monastery in 983.
When Heinrich I. was bishop, he built a new church at this location in the early 11th century, which potentially used some of the original structure and became a pilgrimage church. During the time of Konrad von Querfurt (died 1202) it became the church of the court of the dukes of Würzburg in 1200. He made substantial changes to the building, when he increased the height of the cylindrical part and installed larger windows. After a fire in 1600, the building was re-erected by prince-bishop Julius Echter. He extendend the presbytery, built a parapet and put a lantern on top of the cuppola, which contains the church bells. The interior was modernised with plasterwork in renaissance style.
The ornamental portal was made from red sandstone, when Julius Echter was bishop, as indicated by his coat of arms. It displays figures of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and above them the annunciation and finally the bishops Kilian und Burchard of Würzburg and a madonna.
Twenty grave plates remain in the centre of the church, which show reliefs of the Würzburg bishops. The church was the traditional burial place for the prince-bishops entrails. Their bodies were typically buried at the cathedral and their hearts at Ebrach Abbey.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.