Flower Power - Springtime in Europe travel blog


2019-04-20.Wurzburg

Wurzburg is another medieval city but this one has been restored after 70% of its center was bombed into rubble during WWII. Though not quartering many soldiers, Wurzburg was an important city because of its location on the Maine River with easy access to the railroad as well. During medieval times and through to the early 17th century, this was the home of the Prince Bishop; a Catholic bishop who, because of his service to the king, was granted a secular title. The Prince Bishop, who was obviously an ego maniac, had a residence built that rivaled Versailles in grandeur though a bit smaller. Each room was more grand and ornate than the last with the first intended to impress upon you that you were not at all important and if you were in a room where the empress or other dignitary was going to the bathroom, then you had reached the pinnacle of influence. What can I say? You got to see the most rococco of ornamentation as royalty "did their business".

Though severely damaged, the town has been almost fully restored using the stones and rubble from the bombed portions. The townspeople credit the saving of the Residence and much of the town to an American member of the antiquities division of the Army (who knew there was this division?). He saved the art treasures and built a ceiling over the open rooms of the Residence to prevent further damage. Only the rooms covered by the stone domes created by the original artist were intact after the bombing, a credit to the architect. The ceiling frescos, representing the four continents, were beautifully painted.

No photos were permitting inside the residence but outside, in the gardens, the flowers were blooming with lilacs scenting the air. And, with a population of more than 70,000, there are over 60 churches with spires reaching to the heavens and bells pealing joyfully in celebration of spring.

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