Although Würzburg’s extensive history in fact stretches back over several centuries, very little here pre-dates the Second World War. In 1945 Würzburg was almost completely decimated by an Allied bombing raid which destroyed approximately 90% of the city and razed a number of historic churches, cathedrals and medieval monuments to the ground. Plans were made to leave Würzburg in its battle-scarred state after the war to serve as a reminder of the destruction caused, though thankfully these plans were cancelled and the city was painstakingly rebuilt into the Bavarian gem it is today.
Now restored to its resplendent former glory, this scenic city situated on the River Main is one of Germany’s most rewarding and interesting destinations, world-renowned for its exceptional architecture, arts and culture. Wandering the city’s renovated and rejuvenated streets and alleys is always memorable, with impressive sights and attractions to encounter at almost every turn. Among the very best are the imposing Festung Marienberg fortress, which offers fantastic views of the city and the Main; St Kilian Cathedral, the fourth largest Romanesque church in Germany; the extravagant Neumünster church; and multiple museums such as Röntgen Gedächtnisstätte and Museum am Dom. There are plenty of bars, pubs and restaurants serving delicious traditional cuisine and local Franconian wines too.
The most impressive of the city’s sights though is without doubt Balthasar Neumann’s architectural masterpiece, the Residenz Palace. Originally built in the 18th century, Würzburg’s crowning glory is UNESCO-listed and recognised as one of Germany’s finest and most important examples of Baroque architecture. As stunning internally as it is externally, the ‘castle above all castles’ boasts over 300 rooms spread across three wings, 40 of which are open to the public. Not to be missed is the palace’s spectacular Treppenhaus staircase, which is adorned by the world’s largest fresco.