Today we visited the historic town of Wurzburg with the purpose of visiting the Bishops Palace and gardens a UNESCO World Heritage site. As usual it was fun finding our way into the town but by chance we found a car park quite close to the palace. What a treasure we had in stall for us.
Seeing the palace for the first you were struck by the size of it. It was enormous with a huge plaza in front of it which was now being used as a car park! The palace was built between 1720 and 1744. It was commissioned by the prince-bishop of Wurzburg Johann Phillip Franz von Schonborn but died before its completion. It certainly was a “palace of palaces”
Visiting the interior was also awe inspiring, although no photography was allowed. The most stunning feature of the interior was the unsupported vaulted ceiling above the staircase. The ceiling fresco is the largest in the world measuring 13 by 18 metres and was created in 1752-53 by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Magnificent! The other rooms had magnificent stuccowork which we learnt had been recreated due to significant war time damage.
After visiting the palace building we then enjoyed a walk around the large palace gardens giving the much photograph views of the southern and eastern facades of the palace.
After visiting the palace we made our way into the town, the most interesting building being the Rathaus. There was an interesting exhibition which told the story of Wurzburg war time destruction. It was a very balance account of the town’s war history and its destruction, reconstruction and reconciliation. Wurzburg was one of the last major German cities to be bombed on the 16 March 1945. 1,000 tons of bombs were dropped within 20 minutes among them more than 300,000 incendiary bombs which caused fires which could be seen from a distance of 120 miles away. 5,000 people died and the city centre of Wurzburg was almost completely destroyed with only 7 buildings remaining intact. It was very thought provoking particularly for Heather who was born in Coventry which was destroyed by German bombs in 1940.
Moving on we walked to the bridge across the river Main with views of Marienberg fortress (the original prince-bishop palace) on the hill. We stood quite a while on the bridge watching a container boat and a river cruise boat go through the lock. They both looked quite small from a distance but once they started to enter the lock they seem to go on forever. We thought of our Canadian friends Steve and Diane who had enjoyed a river cruise earlier in the year.
Time had gone by so we never made it up to the fortress before we headed back to base.