One of my favourite stops along the River Main in Germany is Wurzburg. It is a small city in Franconia, a region of the state of Bavaria.
Until 1806, the Prince-Bishops ruled here and their crowning achievement was the construction of the Residenz Palace. It was painted with silver to show off their wealth. There are more than 350 rooms in this Palace. During the mid-1900s they stopped painting the exterior with silver.
In 1945, 90 per cent of Wurzburg was destroyed in the war, including most of the Palace. It was rebuilt in 1962 but only 15-20 of the rooms have been restored.
The Marienberg Fortress is built on a hill, and was the home of the Prince-Bishops from 1253-1720. They lived here instead of the Palace for protection. The world’s largest fresco is located here. It took more than three years for the artist to complete. Today you can view the fresco, but absolutely no photographs of any kind can be taken.
From the Fortress, the view of vineyards is extensive. Wurzburg is the home of Franconian white wines, many of which are sold in squat round bottles. The Juliusspital, an old hospital complex, offers regular wine tastings.
Wurzburg has a population of 132,000 and 57 churches. There are three universities and 29,000 students. So it is a very nice mix of young and old, creating a vibrant, energetic atmosphere in a very pretty city on the banks of the Main.
The Stone Bridge, dating from 1500, is elegant and still functional. Many small shops and cafes are located at either end of the bridge and are popular for gathering for ‘happy hour’. One of their signature aperatifs is the bright orange coloured Aperol Sprizz, made with bitter Aperol liqueur topped with sweet sparkling white wine. Very refreshing!
Oh, another bit of knowledge I gained in Germany (because I can’t figure out the correct spelling) – ‘berg’ is mountain and ‘burg’ is castle. So you only need to look around the town to figure out if the name ends with ‘berg’ or ‘burg’. In this case, Wurzburg is famous for its Palace or castle, hence the spelling.
For more information on ‘bergs’ and ‘burgs’ in Germany, contact Carla Nelson, Branch Manager, Maritime Travel at 250-489-4788.