Würzburg Residence

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Würzburg Residence with Court Garden and Residence Square
UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

Würzburg Residence and Court Garden
Würzburg Residence (partial view of the courtyard garden)
Contracting State(s): Germany Germany
Type: Culture
Criteria : (i) (iv)
Surface: 14.77 ha
buffer zone: 25.0685 ha
Reference no.: 169bis
UNESCO Region : Europe and North America
history of enrollment
Enrollment: 1981  ( Session 5 )
Extension: 2010
Würzburg Residence
City facade (courtyard side)

City facade (courtyard side)

location Würzburg ,
Residenzplatz 2
builder Balthasar Neumann
builder Johann Philipp Franz von Schonborn
Construction year 1720-1781
coordinates 49° 47′ 34″  N , 9° 56′ 19″  E Coordinates: 49° 47′ 34″  N , 9° 56′ 19″  E
UNESCO - World Heritage
168 meter long garden frontage
97 meter long south side
Plan of the Würzburg Residence with the courtyard garden

The Würzburg Residence is a baroque palace on the outskirts of downtown Würzburg that was begun in 1720 and completed by 1744. The interior of the residence, which was created during the Schönborn period under the direction of Balthasar Neumann , was completed in 1781.

It served as the seat of the prince bishops of Würzburg until the ecclesiastical territories were dissolved by secularisation . The palace is one of the main works of southern German baroque and is to be regarded as one of the most important residential buildings of the late baroque in a European context. It is thus in a row with Schönbrunn in Vienna and the Palace of Versailles near Paris . In 1981, UNESCO listed the building, including the Residenzplatz and the outbuildings, as a World Heritage Site .

UNESCO justifies its inclusion in the World Heritage by saying that the Würzburg Residence is “the most unified and extraordinary of all baroque palaces”, “unique in its originality, its ambitious building program and the international composition of the building office”, a “synthesis of European baroque”. They also illustrate "one of the most radiant princely courts in Europe". The hall of mirrors reconstructed between 1979 and 1987, one of the emperor's state rooms , is the "most perfect spatial work of art of the rococo".


The prince bishops of Würzburg had their seat in the Marienberg Castle since the middle of the 13th century . In the age of absolutism , in which the ruler also showed his power and wealth through the size of his residence, a Renaissance castle like the one in the fortifications was no longer sufficient. Johann Philipp von Greiffenclau zu Vollrath had already had a "little palace" built on today's Residenzplatz for double court maintenance. However, it was never used as a residence.

Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn was an absolutist ruler who also intended to live up to this claim: he had bought the sum of 600,000 guilders from an embezzlement process against his court chamber director Gallus Jacob - which he intended to invest in the construction of a new palace. His " spiritus rector " was his uncle Lothar Franz von Schönborn .

Balthasar Neumann , a still largely unknown engineer and builder from the officer corps of the previous regent Johann Philipp von Greiffenclau , was commissioned to draw up a construction plan . The building, which appears to be completely self-contained, although it shows traditional Italianate, French-classical and Viennese-Piedmontese forms corresponding to the time of its development, was carried out according to a uniform plan in which Neumann combined the ideas and competing proposals of the Mainz architects Maximilian von Welsch , who supported him and Christoph von Erthal (1719/1720), the French master builders Robert de Cotte and Germain Boffrand (1723/1724) and from 1730 the Viennese architect Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt led to a synthesis. Anselm Franz Freiherr von Ritter zu Groenesteyn also acted in an advisory capacity. Boffran and Hildebrandt in particular had a significant influence on the design process. Hildebrandt shaped the characteristic central avant-corps of the garden and courtyard facades, while Boffrand inspired the side wings of the city facade. The fact that there is nothing eclectic about the building , and that it appears so self-contained, can be seen as one of Balthasar Neumann's most important artistic achievements.

history of the residence

The establishment of a new court within the city area surrounded by the bastion wreath had already been decided by Prince-Bishop Johann Gottfried von Guttenberg , but was only tackled by his successor Johann Philipp von Greiffenclau zu Vollraths .

1700-1720: predecessor building "Schlösslein"

Rosenbach Palace (built around 1700)

Conceived as a second residence (in addition to the seat on the Marienberg), the so-called small palace on Rennweg in front of the Rosenbachpalais (on the site in front of the current residence) was built according to plans by Antonio Petrini . The approximately 68 meter long building had two floors and was provided with pilasters on the facades in the manner of the Viennese and Prague palace buildings. However, the building, which had structural defects and was too small as a government and representative building, was never moved into and was demolished in 1720. In October 1719, Balthasar Neumann had already dealt with plans to remodel the castle. Due to the irreparable damage to the building, Prince Bishop Johann Philipp Franz decided in early 1720 to completely rebuild it.

1720-1729: First phase of construction and rest period

The foundation stone of the new Würzburg Residence was laid by Prince Bishop Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn in May 1720. On the advice of Lothar Franz von Schönborn, the building project was placed on Rennweg in such a way that a large square facing the city was created. Johann Philipp, unpopular with the people because of his high tax burden, died in 1724 without ever moving into "his" castle, of which only parts of the north wing (the north and west wing of the first north four-winged square including the sculptural decoration) had been standing until then being. His successor, Christoph Franz von Hutten , had the first four-wing square around the front northern courtyard of the north wing completed during the five years (1724–1729) of his reign and moved into an apartment in the rooms known today as the Ingelheim room, which he ( in the 18th century already disappeared) works by the painter Franz Ignaz Roth, the teacher of Johann Christoph Fesel , decorate. The first furnishing work on this "first bishop's apartment" was carried out under Johann Philipp Franz. The decorative plans came from the plasterer Giovanni Pietro Castelli (around 1665–1732), who was advised by Germain Boffrand, who was in Würzburg in July 1724. From November 1724 to 1726, the stucco work was carried out by the brothers Giovanni Pietro and Carlo Antonio Castelli, who had previously been in the service of the Elector of Cologne. The passionate hunter was also the client for a bronze statuette of Diana, the goddess of the hunt, modeled by Claude Curé and cast by JA Roth in 1724, which belonged to the original furnishing of the bishop's apartment (above the portal of the prince-bishop's hunting armory in Zeller Straße there was also one made around 1722 by Jakob van der Auwera 1672–1760 based on a design by the court painter Anton Clemens Lünenschloß ).

1729-1744: Second construction phase

Würzburg Residence under construction (1731)

The construction work was only resumed in full under the brother of the first builder, Prince Bishop Friedrich Karl von Schönborn , reg. 1729–1746, tackled. After he had decided around 1730 to reside in the south wing of the residence, the "second bishop's apartment" (destroyed again during a remodeling after 1806) (with pictures of Lünenschloß, Bys and Scheubel ) was set up there from 1733 onwards. During his reign, the construction of the south wing continued and the shell of the entire building was completed on New Year's Eve 1744. When the commission to paint the ceiling was first awarded in 1744, the prince-bishop fell for an imposter, the painter Giuseppe Visconti. He presented him with artistic templates that were, however, from someone else's hand as his own drafts. Because of this, he received the lucrative commission to create frescoes. The amateurish execution was quickly recognized, the supposed artist chased away and his work knocked off the ceiling.

Friedrich Karl moved into a new apartment in the southern wing, had the court church set up there and, during his reign, ensured that the three state rooms created from 1738 (audience room furnishings by the cabinetmaker Ferdinand Hundt ) south of the Imperial Hall, the hall of mirrors (by Johann Wolfgang van der Auwera , the son and successor of the court sculptor Jakob van der Auwera) as well as a first ballroom, the White Hall (by Antonio Bossi ), were completed.

His successor, Anselm Franz Graf von Ingelheim , had the master builder Neumann deposed and stopped the expansion of the complex, the construction work was suspended until his death in 1749. He moved into an apartment in what is now the Ingelheim room and was primarily concerned with raising money: So he led among other things money export taxes.

From 1738 to 1744, the completion of the main courtyard was designed by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt with statues created by Johann Wolfgang van der Auwera. However, this former ensemble of figures was dismantled again in 1821 together with the wrought-iron bars (the main work of Johann Georg Oegg ) by Crown Prince Ludwig .

1749–1779: Highlights of the interior design

Staircase of the Würzburg Residence

The period from 1749 to 1754 saw the highlights of the interior design. Under Karl Philipp von Greiffenclau zu Vollrads ' reign, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo 1750-1753 (staircase with the largest connected ceiling fresco in the world, Imperial Hall, Court Church), Antonio Giuseppe Bossi (Emperor's Hall, Garden Hall) and Johannes Zick 1750 (garden hall with the ceiling fresco of the gods' meal ). The era of the Würzburg Rococo was thus completed. Balthasar Neumann witnessed the design and completion of the staircase, but died shortly afterwards.

Under the next Prince-Bishop, Adam Friedrich von Seinsheim , reg. 1755–1779, the residence was finished: the garden was given its current form, and Seinsheim also had rooms in the palace redesigned in the much more sparse Louis XVI style. The furnishing of the so-called Ingelheim room from 1776 in the style of early classicism (including the ceiling stucco work by the Castelli brothers) and the green-lacquered room in 1778 decided as the last construction measure in almost sixty years of uninterrupted construction.

1779-1814: The prince-bishop and grand-ducal/electoral residence

For the next 22 years, the completed residence was the palace of the Prince Bishops of Würzburg . From 1803, however, it changed hands several times: the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss ended the rule of the bishops over Franconia and made the residence and Franconia itself the property of the electors of Bavaria. This first phase of Bavarian rule ended after four years without the Wittelsbachs having changed the building stock: In the Peace of Pressburg in 1805/1806, Bavaria got Tyrol and Ferdinand III. from the House of Habsburg was awarded the now sovereign Grand Duchy of Würzburg . Ferdinand had a merry-go-round set up for his children in the north oval, and the Great Salon and the Toscana Hall were also designed during his reign. With the exception of the last-mentioned hall, its rooms were lost during the Second World War. Napoleon is said to have described the residence during one of his two visits, both mockingly and respectfully, as "the most beautiful vicarage in Europe". In 1814 Ferdinand left Würzburg because he was given back his former Duchy of Tuscany at the Congress of Vienna .

1814-1945: A Bavarian Castle

After the Bavarian kings exchanged Tyrol for Würzburg at the Congress of Vienna , they also left their mark on the Residenz.

In 1821, the wrought-iron main courtyard gate was removed and replaced in 1894 by the historic Frankonia fountain . This fountain, designed by Ferdinand von Miller , was erected by the city of Würzburg in honor of Prince Regent Luitpold , who was born in the Residenz in 1821. The central figure of the fountain is the crowned allegory of Franconia , the Franconia , with the Würzburg racing pennant in her left hand on a neo-baroque base. The magnificently dressed Frankonia wreaths with her right hand the three most famous artists of Franconia who are sitting at her feet with laurels : Walther von der Vogelweide in a pensive pose, Mathis Gothart Nithart (called Matthias Grünewald ) sketching and Tilman Riemenschneider carving a sculpture. The figure of Frankonia is turned in the direction of the Würzburg Cathedral. The conception of the Franconia statue is based on the Bavaria statue erected in 1850 in the Munich Hall of Fame .

All the work of the past two centuries was almost destroyed during the bombing raid on Würzburg on March 16, 1945 : that night the residence was badly damaged, especially in the side wings. However, the large, stone-vaulted rooms of the central building were preserved: the vestibule, the garden hall, the stairwell, the white hall and the imperial hall, where the vaults were now exposed without roofs.

After 1945: reconstruction and restoration

Wolfgang Lenz, section behind glass painting in the hall of mirrors, 1983

After the city was taken by US troops on April 5, the American Monuments Man John Davis Skilton immediately provided a temporary cover with tarpaulins and an emergency roof, which covered the preserved vault again just six months after the destruction. Thus, the frescoes by Tiepolo in the stairwell and the Imperial Hall and the stucco decoration by Bossi in the White Hall could be saved. The damage caused by rainwater and general dustiness there was repaired in extensive restoration work by autumn 2006. The fresco and the walls of the stairwell can be seen again after three years of restoration.

The valuable moveable equipment had been removed from all rooms in good time; Chandeliers, tapestries, oil paintings, mirrors, wood paneling, tables, chairs, benches, etc. more were safe from the attack and could be rescued. Three Würzburg companies reconstructed the destroyed magnificent rooms of the southern and northern side wings, which e.g. were intended as guest rooms for the empress and emperor, as well as the Ingelheim rooms, in order to set up the rich furnishings again.

The restoration was completed in 1987 with the completion of the Hall of Mirrors; here the wall-fixed room furnishings had been destroyed during the attack. The techniques used for working behind glass (mirroring, vapor deposition and chasing of gold, reverse glass painting ) could be reconstructed; the Würzburg artist Wolfgang Lenz played a particularly important role here .

The stone vault of the Hofkirche also survived the attack, but suffered badly from fire and moisture. The frescoes by Johann Rudolf Byss , who also furnished the former "Second Bishop's Apartment" with pictures and under whose direction young painters such as Wolfgang Högler, Johann Thalhofer and Georg Anton Urlaub designed the Venetian room adjacent to the audience room , were severely damaged: Over He painted the Fall of the Angels on the entrance gallery , the Assumption of Mary above the middle , and the martyrdom of the Frankish apostles Kilian , Kolonat and Totnan above the chancel .

Source: Bavarian administration of state palaces, gardens and lakes
UNESCO certificate of admission
100 euro commemorative coin


Today the residence is primarily a museum with over 40 restored rooms that can be visited all year round. In addition, it houses parts of the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg , the Martin von Wagner Museum , the State Gallery of Würzburg , part of the State Archives and the administration. The Mozart Festival has taken place almost every year in early summer since 1921, and the Residenz is also the location for changing special exhibitions, such as the 2009 Bavarian State Exhibition on Reconstruction and the Economic Miracle .


View of the courtyard garden side
Court of Honor, northern side facade

Formally, the Würzburg Residence is a multi-court complex over a rectangular base area, with a court of honor left open on the city side . It thus represents a compromise between a three-wing complex comparable to Weißenstein Castle in Pommersfelden and a city residence with many courtyards, as in Munich or Vienna . The garden front is 167 meters long, the narrow side is 97 meters long and houses over 300 rooms.

Würzburg connects Weißenstein Palace, and even more so with Augustusburg Palace , with the great importance of the stairwell in the representative room sequence. However, it is not centrally located, but extends from the vestibule in a northerly direction. With its gigantic dimensions (31 × 19 meters) only the stairwell in the palace of Caserta near Naples can be compared, which is also structurally similar to the Würzburg one. It also borrows from Balthasar Neumann's second large palace, Schloss Augustusburg near Brühl. The dimensions of the forecourt of the stairwell in the building were determined by the need to allow the four-horse carriages of the visitors to drive up and turn under the roof. A four-horse carriage has a turning circle of about 19 meters.

Here and there we have a single flight of stairs up to a turning platform, which then splits into two parallel runs up to the piano nobile . The three-nave staircase is surrounded by a gallery.

Other rooms of the greatest importance are the White Hall, the Emperor's Hall, the Audience Room next to the Venetian Room and the Hall of Mirrors, each of which was a room composition that was unique for the 18th century. The audience room, which has been preserved in its original form, was the first room in the residence to be furnished in the new style of rococo as a major work by Ferdinand Hundt. The White Hall bears witness to Bossi's genius and mastery, the Kaisersaal – completed during Balthasar Neumann's lifetime – probably gives the most authentic testimony to Neumann's decorative concept. The Hall of Mirrors can be seen as the unsurpassed high point of its genre. The White Hall, the Green Cabinet, the Venetian Room furnished between 1738 and 1741, and the Court Church are remarkable spatial creations of the Franconian Rococo .

exterior design

You can tell from the residence that a large number of ideas were brought in before it got its current appearance. The front view towards the courtyard is initially a two-storey building, broken up by a mezzanine floor between and above the two main floors.

Short balconies protrude into the main courtyard on both sides of the wings, which, in conjunction with the retreat of the inner fronts, make the palace appear quite massive.

The building tapers towards the middle section: while two main and mezzanine floors can be seen from the front, a mezzanine disappears completely on the lateral inner fronts, and the second mezzanine on the main facade of the central building completely. This shortening to two storeys has the palace in common with Weißenstein Palace, as well as with French buildings.

interior design

The structure of the Würzburg Residence follows the ideal image of a baroque palace: the sequence of rooms with vestibule, staircase, white hall, imperial hall and imperial rooms expresses in its splendor the claim to power that an absolutist ruler claimed for himself.

The imperial rooms are also divided into two wings, with the apartment in the south wing being the actual imperial apartment. In terms of their layout, both correspond to the requirements of guest rooms for imperial visits: the sequence of antechambré, audience room and bedroom is also completed in the south wing by the hall of mirrors. In the north wing, the audience and bedroom are two small rooms.

In addition, there are two more guest rooms and the "Green Painted Room" in the north wing. Thanks to the generous dimensions of the house, there are service corridors behind the state rooms, which run through the whole house and from which the rooms were heated in the past.

If you take a closer look around the castle, you will discover that the main part of the interior of the residence that can be visited today dates from the Baroque period (such as the imperial rooms, imperial hall, staircase). But there are also more playful styles to be found, such as the rococo of the White Hall, the quieter early Classicist design of the Green Painted Room or the Ingelheim Rooms reworked by Seinsheim in a Classicist style, which form counterpoints to the exuberant Baroque of the Imperial Rooms, especially the Hall of Mirrors.


The flights of stairs and platforms lie within a high, wide hall, an idea of Enrico Zuccalli for the New Schleißheim Palace , which was built from 1701 for the Elector Max Emanuel of Bavaria.

The huge complex of driveway and stairs is vaulted by the largest continuous ceiling fresco in the world (approx. 580 m²), painted in 1752 to 1753 by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo from Venice, the most famous fresco painter of his time, and his sons - especially Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo - and other helpers. Theme: The Glorification of the Lord of the House, the Prince-Bishop, by the (then recognized) Four Continents . Karl Philipp von Greiffenclau zu Vollrads hovers over Europe in a medallion as a protector and promoter of the arts. He is celebrated by the whole world, which is symbolized by four female figures (= continents) riding animals typical of their continent. Balthasar Neumann (architecture), Antonio Giuseppe Bossi (sculptor/plasterer) and Tiepolo (painting) are also represented in the picture as representatives of the arts : Neumann riding on a cannon, an allusion to his position as colonel of the artillery of the Franconian circle. Then Bossi with his tools at his feet above the right staircase, and finally Tiepolo in the corner between Africa and Europe, dressed as an observer of the artist colleagues with a red coat and white scarf.

An April 1752 oil sketch for the Prince-Bishop is now in the Metropolitan Museum , New York. Tiepolo received the impressive sum of 15,000 guilders for the work, which corresponded to 13 times Balthasar Neumann's annual salary. The walls are stuccoed in restrained white in early classical forms. In this way, this room does not appear overloaded and the ceiling fresco is shown to its best advantage.

By the way: according to legend, Balthasar Neumann's ceiling construction of the stairwell was viewed very critically by contemporary architects because of its size; a colleague of Neumann's (possibly Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt ) bet that the vault would collapse after the scaffolding was removed. Neumann's counter-bet is said to have been an offer to fire cannons in the vestibule - it would withstand the blast. Even if these bets were not redeemed, the stability of the vault was demonstrated during the bombing raid on Würzburg on March 16, 1945 , when it withstood the weight of the roof truss collapsing on it.

audience room

This room, like the Venetian room, is one of the three state rooms facing south . Since the entire interior decoration was outsourced during the war, the gilded carvings have been completely preserved. The ornaments on the wall paneling, the door panels and window niches, as well as the overdoors , the mirrored trusses and the chimney attachment, show a use of free rocaille and other motifs that was progressive for the time. The works are considered to be the first in the new gusto at the Residenz and their quality has not been matched.

White Hall

White Hall

Antonio Bossi 's main work in the Würzburg Residence is undoubtedly the White Hall, a room in white on light gray that contrasts with the preceding (staircase) and the following room (Emperor's Hall). In a unique way, Bossi decorated a large ballroom with freehand stucco figures in about nine months from 1744 to 1745, which can otherwise only be admired in the green damask room in the north wing. Dragons and peacocks can be admired, and Bossi has placed groups of trophies in the corners in honor of the first expected visitors, the imperial couple Maria Theresa and Franz Stephan . Like the previous hall, the stairwell, this hall also survived the Second World War. In the 1980s, however, the hall was restored and brightened up.


The Emperor's Hall is a ballroom begun in 1737 and magnificently decorated by Antonio Bossi and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo in 1752/1753, in which the imperial idea and the Emperor are impressively presented.

The prince bishop Johann Philipp von Greiffenclau did not choose the current emperor ( Franz Stephan I. ) for the planned frescoes, as is usual , but the Staufer Friedrich Barbarossa , in order to emphasize the connection of the diocese with the imperial house and the mutual dependence of secular and ecclesiastical to represent power.

On the south side, the viewer sees "The marriage of Emperor Barbarossa and Beatrix of Burgundy by the prince-bishop of Würzburg in 1156", according to the official title.

Kaisersaal (created 1737-1752)

A few things stand out here: The bishop in the picture is wearing the face of Karl Philipp von Greifenclau-Volrath, which is already known from the staircase fresco, and not that of the bishop at the time, Gebhard von Henneberg - a subtle reference to the spiritual power of a (princely) bishop, who lets the emperor kneel before him. The miter turned towards the viewer with a bird ( heraldic animal Greiffenclaus) further points to the commissioner of the picture. Finally, the age difference between the two spouses is not recognizable. If one takes Barbarossa's 34 years off, one does not recognize in Beatrix the 12-year-old girl she was when she married.

The painting has no historical claim - as the title already shows, the bishop was not a prince in 1156. The whole scenery is historical, the people wear clothes from the 16th century. The message is much more important: the bishop of Würzburg makes the continuation of the imperial family and the empire possible.

On the opposite side: "The enfeoffment of Bishop Herold of Würzburg with the Duchy of Franconia by Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa at the Diet of Würzburg in 1168". The figures are repeated, only their positions have been reversed: now it is the emperor who has the bishop kneeling in front of him. In this second picture Herold von Höchheim can be seen at his elevation to the Duke of Franconia - with the face of Karl Philipp von Greifenclau - who now belongs to the princes of the empire. The document Güldene Freiheit is prepared for him on the left in the picture, through which the rule of the prince-bishops of Würzburg begins.

In addition to Tiepolo's frescoes, the gilded stucco work by Antonio Bossi is certainly the most impressive feature of this room, which forms a unique spatial unit with its marble floor, the half-columns decorated with stucco marble and the aforementioned Tiepolo frescoes.

The Kaisersaal had also been largely soaked through by war damage. Restoration work took place from 1947 to 1951 and in the 1970s and 1980s. Sinter spots and defects were generously retouched. The entire Kaisersaal was conserved and restored again from September 2006 to October 2008, and Tiepolo's paintings, which were still intact, were uncovered. The hall was reopened on April 29, 2009 by the Bavarian Finance Minister Georg Fahrenschon .

hall of mirrors

The original Hall of Mirrors was created between 1740 and 1745. The room is decorated throughout with mirrors , originally painted by students of Johann Rudolf Byss , connected by gilded stucco work by Antonio Bossi. These mirrors are largely decorated with reverse glass paintings and the view of them is not obstructed by the oriental figurines popular at the time , so that the mirror plane is fully visible.

What is probably the most precious room in the residence is merely a replica of the original cabinet of mirrors – this melted down when the residence caught fire on March 16, 1945, and the mirrors could not be removed. The restoration began in 1979 and lasted eight years, during which around 600 mirror panes were newly decorated, the room shell was newly plastered and the new stucco work was decorated with 2.5 kg of gold leaf. The techniques for this had to be re-learned and rediscovered many times, especially with regard to the decoration of the glass panes. The painter and restorer Wolfgang Lenz was also involved in this .

Court Church of the Most Holy Trinity

Hofkirche in Würzburg, view from the gallery
Ceiling painting of the Hofkirche in Würzburg, Coronation of the Virgin Mary

The court church of the residence was built between 1732 and 1743. After Prince Bishop Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn was persuaded by Balthasar Neumann to set up the court church (also the court parish) in the south-west corner wing of the residence, planning entered a decisive phase. Neumann, who was entrusted with the project, had the problem of preserving the uniform external appearance of the residence and taking into account the division of the facade with its windows and floors. The windowless side on the left was provided with mirrors, which act like windows by reflecting the light.

Neumann tried to help himself by dividing the room with columns, which take into account both the length and the height of the window-rich outer wall. In the entrance area as well as in the choir, these columns support galleries and form colonnades, which decisively breaks up the narrow length of the room. Although the floor plan with its three consecutive oval rotundas can be read off the domes of the room, it is hardly noticeable in the design of the room. Imbalances such as the greater effect of the gallery columns compared to the cupola columns can be traced back to the demonstrable interventions by Hildebrandt . The color scheme of the room is fantastic in dark pink and gold, with walls and columns decorated with stucco marble. The maximum vault height of the Hofkirche is 18.90 m.

Tiepolo painted the two side altars during his stay in Würzburg . These oil paintings are flanked by marble sculptures by Johann Wolfgang van der Auwera : Empress Kunigunde and Emperor Heinrich II stand next to Maria , Archangel Gabriel and the guardian angel Raphael stand next to Lucifer . The front main altar is also accompanied by two marble sculptures from Auwera, St. Kilian and St. Burkard . Behind it, a work by Antonio Bossi completes the room: Maria Magdalena and a putto weep for Christ on the cross. The view upwards shows more of Bossi's stucco figures, but they are intended for the view from the upper floor: above the oil painting with the fall of Lucifer sit Caritas (with children) and prudentia (with book), opposite them Spes (with anchor ) and Fides (with monstrance). They all refer to the upper altar, which the prince-bishop could reach directly from his apartment: Here Maria stands on the globe , crushing the snake, in front of a blue starry sky - also a work of stucco by Bossi. Bossi also created an Immaculata statue for the Hofkirche. Bossi and Johann Rudolf Byss, who created ceiling paintings (largely copied today) with his students Thalhofer and Högler, as the protagonists of the decoration of the courtyard church room.

The early classical pulpit by Materno Bossi , Antonio's nephew, is remarkable: four heads with typical headgear represent the four continents to which the word of God proclaimed here is supposed to reach.


The organ of the Hofkirche was built in 1966 by the organ building company GF Steinmeyer & Co. (Öttingen). The instrument stands in a side aisle on the gallery and is barely visible from the nave. In the course of the renovation of the court church, the instrument was expanded by the organ builder Werner Mann (Mainbernheim) to include a manual (main work) and two further registers, and some of them were rearranged. In addition, the couplers have been adjusted. The instrument now has 26 registers on three manual works and pedal. The key actions are mechanical, the register actions are electric.

I Hauptwerk C–g 3
1. Principal 8th' M
2. drone 16' M
3. reed flute 8th'
4. flute 4′ M
5. octave 4′ M
6. Principal 2′ M
7. Mixture III-IV 1 1⁄3_ _ M
8th. Trumpet 8th' M
II spine C–g 3
9. hollow flute 8th'
10 Quintad 8th'
11. principal 4′
12. coupling flute 4′
13. octave 2′
14 Sesquialter II 2 2⁄3_ _
15 Mixture IV 1 1⁄3_ _
III Swell C–g 3
16 thought 8th'
17 Salicional 8th' M
18 Unda Maris 8th' M
19 Italian principal 4′
20 recorder 2′
21 Sharp III 1'
22 Rohrschalmey 8th'
Pedal C–f 1
23 sub bass 16'
24 flute 8th'
25 chorale flute 4′
26 bassoon 16'
  • Pair : II/IIII/I, III/II, I/P, II/P, III/P
  • Remarks
M = Orgelbau Mann Register (2012)

courtyard garden

Court garden around 1770
courtyard garden
courtyard garden
garden fountain

The layout of the garden was - like the residence building itself - limited by the existing baroque city wall. Balthasar Neumann already had the idea of ​​including this bastion in the garden design and to this day it invites you to take a walk with a wonderful view of the garden, castle and parts of the city. Two framing ramps and staircases lead symmetrically up to this high fortification wall, with a terrace inserted halfway up. This east garden faces the exit from the garden hall in the central building of the residence; This is where the master of the house used to explain his treasures of plants and sculptures . Today hundreds of old varieties of roses bloom here, in the past there were pruned fruit trees. What remains are the adjoining arcades, which are uniquely shaped from cornelian cherries and larches and between which twelve of Johann Peter Wagner 's famous putti cavort. The numerous canapés , vases, plant bowls and other putti, Savoyard boys and figures on the stairs and the bastion also come from him.

To the south of the residence is a flat, rectangular garden, which is closed off by the orangery. The prince bishop had this from his apartment – ​​to which u. a. the Toscanasaal belonged – in view. Here large groups of figures by Wagner adorn the lawns, while fauns, panes and allegories of the seasons under the mighty cone-shaped yew trees provide surprises.

The former kitchen garden was reconstructed behind the orangery, in which old apple, pear and berry varieties are growing again, with the beds being framed by low herb and lavender hedges. There is another English Garden , whose winding paths lead through diverse flora. Other entrances to this courtyard garden, e.g. B. next to the Hofkirche or on the Rennweg trellis decorated with flowers by the Tyrolean Johann Georg Oegg , the king of blacksmiths from the Rococo period .

useful information

50 D-Mark banknote with historic buildings of Würzburg

The residence can be seen alongside other historic buildings in Würzburg in a collage on the 50 mark note of the last series of deutschmark banknotes , to the left of the portrait of master builder Balthasar Neumann . (Other buildings in the collage are the old town hall, Marienberg Fortress , the Schönborn chapel at the cathedral, Haug Abbey , the wooden gate and the Old Main Bridge .) On the back of the banknote, the stairwell of the Residenz together with the Neresheim Abbey Church form the main motif.

Art about the Würzburg Residence

The Würzburg artist Hans-Peter Porzner (* 1958) exhibited the architectural sculpture "The Museum of Modern Art Munich Presents the Würzburg Residence" in the Martin von Wagner Museum , which is located in the south wing of the Würzburg Residence, in 2004–2006 . The artist asks about the context of the Würzburg Residence and draws on different interpretations by Erich Hubala , Stefan Kummer and Peter Stephan .


sorted alphabetically by authors/editors

  • Elisabeth Baumann, Burkhard von Roda, Werner Helmberger: Würzburg Residence and Court Garden. Official Guide. 13th redesigned edition. Bavarian Palace Administration, Munich 2001, ISBN 978-3-932982-41-5 .
  • Wendelin Fleckenstein: History of the Bishopric of Würzburg under the government of Prince Bishop Christoph Franz von Hutten. 1724-1729. Würzburg 1924 (also: Würzburg, Univ., Diss., 1924).
  • Friends of Main Franconian Art and History e. V. (Ed.): Wolfgang Lenz. Introductory text by Hanswernfried Muth. Schöningh, Würzburg 1985, ISBN 3-87717-710-7 .
  • Verena Friedrich: Rococo in the Würzburg Residence. Studies on Rococo ornament and decoration in the former prince-bishop's residence in Würzburg. (= Publications of the Society for Franconian History. Series 8: Sources and descriptions of Franconian art history 15 / research on art and cultural history 9). Bavarian Palace Administration, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-7686-9303-1 (Also: Würzburg, Univ., Diss., 1999: Studies on ornament and decoration of the Rococo in the former prince-bishop's residence in Würzburg. ).
  • Werner Helmberger, Matthias Staschull: Tiepolo's Empire. Frescoes and room decorations in the Kaisersaal of the Würzburg Residence. Bavarian Palace Administration, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-932982-94-1 .
  • Werner Helmberger, Matthias Staschull: Tiepolo's world. The ceiling fresco in the stairwell of the Würzburg Residence. Bavarian Palace Administration, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-941637-02-3 .
  • Erich Hubala , Otto Mayer, Wolf-Christian von der Mülbe : The Würzburg Residence. Edition Popp, Würzburg 1984.
  • Jarl Kremeier: The Court Church of the Würzburg Residence . Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, Worms 1999, ISBN 978-3-88462-142-4
  • Peter O. Krückmann (ed.): Heaven on Earth - Tiepolo in Würzburg. Prestel-Verlag, Munich 1996. 2 volumes: ISBN 3-7913-1639-7 (volume 1), ISBN 3-7913-1640-0 (volume 2).
  • Stefan Kummer : Architecture and fine arts from the beginning of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. In: Ulrich Wagner (ed.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes; Volume 2: From the Peasants' War in 1525 to the transition to the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1814. Theiss, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-8062-1477-8 , pp. 576-678 and 942-952, here: pp. 640 f. and 647-677 .
  • Albrecht Miller: The Residence in Würzburg. 3rd updated edition. Langewiesche, Königstein im Taunus 2008, ISBN 978-3-7845-1922-7 .
  • Peter Stephan : "In the splendor of the majesty of the empire". Tiepolo and the Würzburg Residence. Schönborn's idea of ​​empire and the political iconology of the Baroque. 2 volumes. Konrad, Weißenhorn 2003, ISBN 3-87437-404-1 (Also: Freiburg (Breisgau), Univ., Diss., 1996).
  • Peter Stephan: Not just "Europe's most beautiful vicarage". The Würzburg Residence as a monument to Schönborn's idea of ​​an empire. In: Yearbook for Franconian state research. Volume 65, 2005, pp. 59–103.
  • Harmen Thies : ground plan figures of Balthasar Neumann. On the true-to-scale geometric layout of the Schönborn chapel and the Hofkirche in Würzburg. Editrice Edam, Florence 1980.

web links

Commons : Würzburg Residenz, Hofgarten and Residenzplatz  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Residenz Würzburg: building history - time table
  2. UNESCO Germany
  3. Arne Karsten , Hillard von Thiessen: Useful networks and corrupt cliques. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006, p. 126.
  4. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, pp. 649–651.
  5. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 633 and 648 f.
  6. Stefan Kummer : Architecture and fine arts from the beginning of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. In: Ulrich Wagner (ed.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes; Volume 2: From the Peasants' War in 1525 to the transition to the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1814. Theiss, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-8062-1477-8 , pp. 576-678 and 942-952, here: pp. 632 f. and 648 f.
  7. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 649.
  8. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 658.
  9. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 658 f. and 949.
  10. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 659.
  11. Heaven already on earth. In: Berliner Zeitung of February 17, 1996.
  12. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 659.
  13. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 664.
  14. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 640 f. (plate 56.).
  15. Erika Kerestely: Würzburg. City guide with colored city map. Stürtz city guide. Verlagshaus Würzburg, Würzburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8003-1929-9 . p. 25.
  16. Polyglot: The *** Sights of Europe. Polyglot publishing house Dr. Bolte, Munich 1987/1988, ISBN 3-493-60292-8 , p. 37.
  17. Restoration of the Tiepolo frescoes ( Memento of 25 June 2012 at the Internet Archive )
  18. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 660.
  19. Verena Friedrich: Rococo in the Würzburg Residence (=  research on art and cultural history . Volume 9 ). Bavarian Palace Administration, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-7686-9303-1 .
  20. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 660.
  21. Rudolf Endres: The Franconian imperial circle. In: Issues on Bavarian history. Volume 29, House of Bavarian History, 2003, p. 14.
  22. Verena Friedrich: Rococo in the Würzburg Residence (=  research on art and cultural history . Volume 9 ). Bavarian Palace Administration, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-7686-9303-1 .
  23. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, pp. 651 and 659.
  24. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, pp. 652–654.
  25. Erika Kerestely: Würzburg. City guide with colored city map. Stürtz city guide. Verlagshaus Würzburg GmbH & Co KG, Würzburg 2008. ISBN 978-3-8003-1929-9 , p. 24.
  26. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 654.
  27. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 657.
  28. Stefan Kummer: Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. 2004, p. 662 f.
  29. More information about the organ and the new disposition
  30. Deutsche Bundesbank (ed.): From cotton to banknotes . A new series of banknotes is created. 2nd Edition. Verlag Fritz Knapp GmbH, Frankfurt am Main 1996, ISBN 3-611-00222-4 , p. 127 .
  31. ^ Vernissage . Bavaria & Austria, exhibitions, autumn/winter, 2005/06, p. 53.