The Residenz in Würzburg

For 466 years, from 1253 to 1719, the Prince-Bishops who ruled this part of Lower Franconia lived up in the (easily defendable) Marienberg Fortress overlooking Würzburg and the Main River Valley.

It wasn’t until 1720 that one of them felt secure enough to start building the Residenz down in the city itself.

The Residenz in Würzburg, with sculpture

In the foreground in this photo there is a statue which I would be glad to explain to you if only I could figure it out myself. To me it looks like a satyr fighting with a cherub, in fact the cherub seems dangerously close to gouging the satyr’s eye out. Or maybe they are just playing, I don’t know.

Perhaps it is a scene from Greek or Roman mythology that any educated person would have recognized two or three generations ago. As my high school Latin teacher used to say, with an endearing sneer: “That was a classical reference. You wouldn’t get it.”

Hofkirche (Court Church)

This Court Church is in the south wing of the Residenz. It seats up to 160 people, and you can rent it for 250 Euros plus expenses if you want to hold a concert here, for instance. You can also get married here for 200 Euros plus expenses, but only on Saturdays and only if you are going to have a Catholic or ecumenical wedding. (Prices as of 2022.)

When I was there, the church was one of the few rooms in the Residenz where photography was allowed. As far as I know, photography is still forbidden in most parts of the building.

My photos in this post are from 2005. I revised the text in 2022.

See more posts on Würzburg, Germany.


5 thoughts on “The Residenz in Würzburg”

  1. I could find lots of photos of the little statue including one like yours but at a different time of year, i.e. no leaves on the trees. However, I couldn’t find the sculptor or the story behind the statue. A mystery . . .

  2. Of all things holy! The Residenz (and especially the Hofkirche) is an absolutely ornate vision. I’ve actually never heard of Würzburg, but after a quick search telling me that it’s in Bavaria, I’m not surprised that such a beautiful place exists!

  3. That statue is indeed intriguing and a bit bizarre. My limited and almost forgotten classical studies course hasn’t prompted any possible mythological reference but I suspect you are right to think there is one!

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