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:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.