The Wurzburg Residenz is one of Germany’s most splendid examples of baroque architecture. Found in the Bavarian city of Wurzburg, located between Frankfurt and Nuremberg, it was built for Prince-Bishop Johann Philipp Franz von Schonborn and is noted for its elegance and grace. Work on the Wurzburg Residenz began in 1720, and a team of top designers from the day was assembled to carry out the task. Overseeing the project was the German architect Balthasar Neumann, and few would argue that he didn’t do his job well.
Schloss Wurzburg, or the Residenz, as this castle is commonly known, is one of several baroque castles that were built in the Bavaria region. Many architectural experts consider it to be the finest of these castles, and it is hard to dispute that claim. The design is quite harmonious, and therein lies much of the allure in terms of visual appeal. Unlike the Residenz in Munich and many other German castles, the Wurzburg Residenz wasn’t subjected to an evolutionary building process that saw the implementation of different architectural styles. Instead, it was finished in rather short order and maintains a more uniform appearance.
The exterior of the Wurzburg Residenz was completed by 1744 and the interior by 1780. In 1753, head architect Balthasar Neumann passed away, so he didn’t live to see the completion of the interior. This is rather sad, as the interior is very impressive. Among the highlights are the amazing main staircase and the masterful frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. This painter, it is worth noting, was prolific during his time and had little trouble finding work in Germany, Spain, and his native Italy.
Also worthy of special attention when it comes to the Schloss Wurzburg interior is the court chapel. It is a wonderful example of the sacral Baroque style and has many delightful features. Among these features are gorgeous marble columns that are capped with gilded capitals.
While the Wurzburg Residenz was heavily damaged as the result of a World War II air raid, it didn’t lose its original essence. Reconstruction efforts that were carried out over the following decades helped the structure re-attain its original splendor. In 1981, UNESCO justifiably added the Residenz to its World Heritage List, and today, it figures as one of the most popular attractions in southern Germany. Guided tours in English are included in the admission fee, and should you be visiting the city of Wurzburg in the summer, you might interest yourself in the Mozart festival that is held at the castle.