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Historic Highlights of Germany from A to Z
Würzburg, Residenz Palace

Würzburg: world heritage and Franconian wine.

Würzburg is a pleasing harmony of history, culture and wine. This university town and former royal seat is idyllically situated on either side of the Main river and offers a vibrant atmosphere and an endearing charm. It has gained a name as the centre of the Franconian winegrowing region and, not least, as a city with exceptional places of interest.

Würzburg is full of contrasts: a former episcopal seat and a young university town, baroque architecture and a distinctly mediterranean feel combined with Franconian hospitality. The architectural splendours that define the city reflect a range of periods. Art, culture and Franconian wine are essential parts of Würzburg life and create a feast for all the senses. Visitors will find themselves on a captivating and exhilarating tour of discovery through different eras and styles. Even from afar, the two imposing towers of St. Kilian's Cathedral point the way to the city. Built by Bishop Bruno in 1040, it is the fourth largest Romanesque church in Germany at a total length of 105 metres. Würzburg's famous landmarks are the UNESCO World Heritage Residenz Palace, with its palace gardens and square, the Marienberg Citadel and the 180-metre-long Old Main Bridge, which is lined with impressive statues of saints. Straddling the banks of the Main river amid idyllic vineyards, the location alone is reason enough to visit Würzburg. Another reason is the local wine served in Bocksbeutel bottles, whose characteristic flattened round shape has become a trademark for the entire region. It is not known for sure whether the shape is derived from the traditional water bottles once used in the fields, but it does have a significant advantage: it prevents the bottles from rolling away. Quaint pubs and traditional wine taverns offering local Franconian cuisine as well as top-class international restaurants can be found throughout the city. And, because this is Würzburg, it's only right to order a Bocksbeutel of wine along with your meal.

The centrally located Bürgerspital was established as a charitable institution for people in need of care in the 14th century but also upholds another fine tradition: wine growing. Regarded as the birthplace of the Bocksbeutel, the winery is certainly worth a visit. Also in the city centre is the Bürgerspital restaurant and wine tavern, regarded as the world's centre for Bocksbeutel culture. But culture is also on offer elsewhere, for example in the fascinating museums. One of these, at the Marienberg Citadel, houses the largest collection of works by the famous woodcarver and sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider. You will encounter this great artist again in the Cathedral Museum, which features around 300 pictures and sculptures from the last millennium. Its concept is fascinating: Christian themes interpreted by modern and contemporary artists, such as Ernst Barlach, Joseph Beuys, Otto Dix, Käthe Kollwitz, Wolfgang Mattheuer, Werner Tübke and Andy Warhol, are juxtaposed with the works of the Old Masters, including Riemenschneider, Georg Anton Urlaub, Johann Peter Wagner and Johann Zick. Slightly more modern art from the 19th century to the present day is the focus of the award-winning Kulturspeicher Museum at the old docks. Art by the world for the world is housed in this exhibition space covering 3,500 square metres. It includes the Ruppert Collection, which presents concrete art in a remarkable setting. A classical art collection awaits discovery at the Martin von Wagner Museum. The discovery of X-rays, which also took place in Würzburg, may not appear to have anything to do with art at first glance. However, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen's invention has been used to analyse and preserve countless works of art. Röntgen's original laboratory welcomes visitors, and the city looks forward to your visit too.