Located in Würzburg in southern Germany, the Wúrzburg residence is considered one of the biggest palaces in Germany and decorated with incredible frescos by the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. In 1981the building was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Prince-Bishop of Würzburg origianlly resideded in the Marenburg Fortress until Johann Phillip Franz von Schönborn moved the court to a simple palace that had been erected in between 1701-1704. In 1720 von Schönborn won a legal case that brought with it a generous settlement (600,000fl) and with it he decided to invest in the rebuilding of the palace. The project became a very family affair when his uncle Prince-Archbishop & Elector of Mainz, Lothar Franz von Schöborn and his brother Friedrich Carl von Schöborn contributed with ideas and artists to see the foundation stone laid on 22 May 1722.
Johann Phillipp’s death in 1724 along with his successors lack of interest in such a huge palace by 1729 only the north wing had been finished. In 1730 however, Johann Phillipp’s brother Friedrich Carl became Prince-Bishop with the building being completed in 1744, however the decoration continued for many more years to come.
The building, that was described by Napoleon Bonaparte as “nicest parsonage in Europe, was damaged as a result of a devastating air strike on the 16th March 1945. Luckily much of the wood panelling and most of the furnishing had been removed and thus escaped destruction.
The Residence has dimensions of 97m (318ft) x 167m (548ft) and arranged around several courtyards. The building contain almost 400 rooms with many being used as a museum and other occupied by the University of Würzburg
Treppenhaus (Grand Staircase)
Forming part of a formal reception room the staircase is one of the architect, Balthasar Neumann’s. masterpieces. The staircase is 18m (59ft) x 30m (99ft) and goes to height of 23m (75ft). Between 1750-53 Giovanni Battista Tiepolo decorated the vaulted ceiling with a fresco measureing 600m²(6400ft²), showing the painting of the (then) four known continents, Europe, Asia, Africa, America.
Kaisersaal (Imperial Hall)
Absolutely amazing, with the walls decorated in stucco work marble in shades of red, white and yellow. Tiepolo then decorated the dome with golden stucco work with frescos showing the history of the Diocese of Würzburg.
Weiβer Saal (The White Room)
Built in a more neo-classical style, compared to the predominantly Baroque building, the room is renown for the white stucco work on a light grey background by Antonio Bossi.
Hofkirche (Court Chapel)
One of the finest examples of the religious Baroque style in all of Germany and another example of the work of Balthasar Neumann. The interior is dominated by curving walls that integrate into three oval dome vaults each decorated with impressive frescos, two by Tiepolo and the other by Rudolf Byss.
Hofgarten (Court Gardens)
The Residence was originally built within a fortified town, so the gardens had to be built within the fortifications also. Building on the remains of older fortifications a terraced garden was created with majestic ramp approaches. The garden near the Residence is designed in a very formal Baroque style, however this changes to a more English garden the further you go away.
A truly impressive place to visit both for the building and it s interior as well as for the magnificent gardens.
A guided visit of the Würzburg Residence is included on: