Würzburg: The Residenz and Fortress Marienberg

4 Aug 2012

Today we spent our day exploring Wuerzburg.

Started our day with a wonderful spread of breakfast. Discovered an antique cashier sitting at the corner of the breakfast room.

After breakfast, we walked down Theaterstrasse Theaterstraße towards The Residenz.

The Residenz The impressive front of The Residenz

We took our time to take photos before entering as the architecture was really huge and magnificent (and partly also because we knew that our guided tour wouldn’t start until 11am). The entrance fee is €7.50/pax including the guided tour (still no increment as of writing). Visitors are all required to deposit their bags and no cameras are allowed in the building.

At first we didn’t know that we were supposed to deposit our bags, so we ventured into the Vestibule Vestibül and I naively took a picture of it.

Vestibule of The Residenz Vestibule of The Residenz

And another one while we went into the Garden Hall Gartensaal – Sala Terrena… until an attendant came over and asked us politely to keep our belongings. *sheepish smile*

Garden Hall of The Residenz A smaller (but nonetheless amazing) fresco at the Garden Hall.

Our tour started punctually. Walking up the grand Staircase Treppenhaus, we were greeted with an unobstructed vault with a magnificent fresco painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. According to the guide, the court architect Balthasar Neumann had to fight for his design to be built as it was risky then to build a vault with maximum height of 23 meters spanning an area of 18 × 30 meters.


Each sides of the fresco depict a magical world of the 4 continents of Europe, America, Asia and Africa, personified by regal female figures. Europe holds a sceptor, is symbolized by a bull, and has a boy playing with a cannon. America has natives with feathers, who practice cannibalism of prisoners, and a crocodile. Asia has a tiger. Africans have an elk, and a caravan of turbanned Magi.

The Staircase, The Residenz
The grandeur of the Staircase leading up to upper floor.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia – Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F079088-0003 / CC-BY-SA

We continued to White Hall Weißer Saal to marvel at the stucco decorations of Antonio Bossi. The decorations were so intricately handcrafted that apparently it drove Antonio to craziness.

The White Room, The Residenz Stolen shot of the stucco with my iPhone, a bit blurry as we were watching out for the guards. There were at least one in each room!

Image and info from Bavarian Department of State-owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes

The wall decoration of the Mirror Cabinet, completed between 1740 and 1745, is the most precious interior created in the Würzburg Residence under Prince-Bishop Friedrich Carl von Schönborn. It was completely destroyed in the bombing raids of 1945. Based on a preserved mirror fragment, numerous photographs and a watercolour by Georg Dehn (c. 1870/73), the entire room shell was recreated between 1979 and 1987, using the old techniques.

We moved on to the Imperial Hall Kaisersaal and the Southern Imperial Apartments Südliche Kaiserzimmer, where the furnitures, paintings and decorations were preserved impeccably, except for the Mirror Cabinet. This part of The Residenz can only be accessed in a guided tour. The path is guided with doors opened and locked as we moved from one room to the other.

We ended the tour back at the White Room, and we were encouraged to visit the Northern Imperial Apartments Nördliche Kaiserzimmer, which were destroyed during World War II and restored after that. Most visitors will stay longer in the Green Lacquered Room Grünlackiertes Zimmer, so did we! There are still signs of burnts on the floor and wall. We also stared at the floor tiles for very long, as the pattern was circular, LOL.

Soon, we reached the exit point, and we walked to the right wing of the Residenz to wait for the Staatlichen Hofkeller Würzburg winery tour to start! =D

Exit, The Residenz Another stolen shot after I exit!

The right wing of the Residenz. The cellar is right below the Residenz.

Mamee as interim lunch, haha. These snacks saved our stomachs when hunger pangs strike, thanks Peter for suggesting it to us!

When it’s 2pm, a few of us gathered at the fountain to wait for the guide. When he arrived and started his speech, we were horrified that it was in German! But we decided to continue anyway since we’ve missed the timeslot of another English wine tour. We just wanted to enter a cellar underground!

We paid for the tour fee at the entrance. See the contrast in the cellar and outside!

Going down the staircases!

As we couldn’t understand German, JW leeched on to a kind man who could translate some words to English. And I stayed behind to take photos in stealth mode, as photography is forbidden inside here as well, hehe.

We did learn a bit of its history still, thanks to the translation. The cellar has existed for more than 875 years, and is the oldest vinery in Wuerzburg. The cellar design is Balthasar Neumann’s work. The vinery is scattered across the Franconian region, the nearest is the one below Fortress Marienberg.

The place where wine tasting sessions are conducted a few times a month, at €24/pax.

The candles are propped up in used Franconian bottles. | The size of each wine barrel, compared to a normal man height. | The bacteria to ferment the wines are growing at the cellar walls.

The tour ended with a glass of wine for everyone at the oldest part of the cellar, where all wine barrels are at least 50 years old.

We bought a bottle of Silvaner wine as souvenir, as it’s only exclusively sold in this Franconian region. It is unique because the wine is bottled in the iconic Bocksbeutel which is round and flat in design.

We exit from where we came in. This is an oil painting where it illustrates the Keller Law Kellerrecht.

Back up in the broad daylight, JW took some shots of the fountain.

On our way to get late lunch, we stopped by a supermarket to recycle our plastic bottles and get back some refund. The “deposit” is included in the price you pay. If you don’t recycle, you pay more for the drink. A brilliant way towards a greener environment I would say.

Our late lunch – JW’s huge burger from a small eatery and my chow-mein takeaway. I needed a break from German food. Was excited as I was finally eating a Chinese takeaway in real life!

After lunch, we walked to the Old Main Bridge towards Fortress Marienberg.

The afternoon view of the river.

Locals having a painting session on the bridge.

We took the longer path, winding through the vineyards. On hindsight, we should have taken the shorter route instead, because the afternoon sun was shining right down on us.

The view of the fortress from the path, with vineyards right beneath.

The view of the city from the path.

We saw the Silvaner grapes vineyard belonging to Staatlichen Hofkeller Würzburg. The unforgiving slope for JW again!

The carpark – used to be the fortress’s moat.

When we reached the castle, the tourist office had already closed. So we just walked around the castle area, taking in the view of the city from the highest point of Wuerzburg. We also met a couple who was holding their wedding in the Fortress Church Festungskirche.

The entrance of the castle.

Another view of the castle from the back.

We walked back to the city in the late evening, and returned to the restaurant next to Marienkapelle again.

This time round we ordered more food as we were famished from all the climbing and walking. There was a Japanese couple sitting next to us, and they only ordered a plate of sausage and 2 beers. We looked like total gluttons next to them, LOL.

We sat there, enjoying our food and waiting for the night to fall. Then we went back to the Old Main Bridge to take night photos of the Fortress before heading back to the hotel.

This is the best shot we had…sadly, haha.

Our night didn’t stop here. After a short respite, we went out again to The Residenz, and our day ended with a few night shots of The Residenz. =)

My proudest night shot of The Residenz using Canon S95.

P/S: After a bit of reading back in Singapore, we discovered that The Three Musketeers had done its filming at both Fortress Marienberg and The Residenz! We watched the movie again and it was really nostalgic, haha.


2 thoughts on “Würzburg: The Residenz and Fortress Marienberg

  1. Pingback: Of wonderful experiences and great companionship! | absolutely magical

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