Würzburg Residence - History and Facts | History Hit

Würzburg Residence

Wurzburg, Bavaria, Germany

The Würzburg Residence was built for Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn, Prince-Bishop of Würzburg in the 1700s and is one of Europe’s most stunning and lavishly opulent Baroque palaces.

Peta Stamper

20 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Würzburg Residence

Called the ‘castle above all castles’, the Würzburg Residence in Germany was principally designed by little-known court architect Balthasar Neumann and commissioned by Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn, Prince-Bishop of Würzburg.

According to UNESCO – for which Würzburg was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1981 – the “Residence is a document of European culture. Perhaps no monument from the same period is able to claim such a concurrence of talent”.

Würzburg Residence history

Constructed between 1720 and 1744, it is a perfect representation of South German Baroque-era architecture and one of Europe’s most extraordinary and lavishly opulent palaces. White ostensibly built in the Baroque style, the Würzburg Residence embodies the pinnacle of western architectural influences of the time and includes elements of French château architecture, northern Italian religious and secular architecture and Viennese Baroque.

From 1740 to 1780, the interior and gardens were completed by some of the most significant creative talents – architects, designers, painters and sculptors – in Europe including ‘ornamentation genius’ Antonio Bossi and the 18th century’s greatest fresco painter Giovanni Battista Tieplo.

It was Tieplo who lent his considerable skills to the world-famous staircase with its unsupported vaulted ceiling, widely regarded as a masterpiece of construction. The interior decoration of the Würzburg Residence was so spectacular that it even prompted a new school, Würzburg Rococo.

Würzburg Residence today

After the Würzburg Residence was virtually demolished during World War Two, the restoration project started immediately and was finally completed 42 years later and today, visitors can enjoy one of the most impressive palaces in Europe. Walk underneath frescoed ceilings and masterful paintings, guided through the building’s history including its bombings by information panels.

While the palace itself is grandeur on a previously unknown scale, the formal Court Garden is no less of an artistic marvel.

Getting to the Würzburg Residence

Central to Würzburg, you can easily walk to the residence from downtown. Otherwise there are plenty of buses headed in the right direction, including lines 6, 29, 114, 214 and E that stop at Rennweg or the 471, 472, 491, 492 and 511 stopping at Residenzplatz.

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