Wednesday, April 2, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - 1 Day Trip to Würzburg

Location: Würzburg, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


With the train rushing east past fields and forests, with a glimpse of the Main river (that's the name of the river, not describing it as a 'main' river) to break the monotony, I tried to recall what scant knowledge I had on the city I was heading to.

Würzburg was chosen as my target mainly because of two reasons - cathedrals and a palace listed as UNESCO World Heritage. Coming on the list as bonuses were the old town itself and an ancient fortress perched atop of a hill overlooking the city, but I did not expect much despite browsing through photos shared by fellow travellers. Images can be deceiving. When I disembarked from the train and started walking around the old town, the scenery took my breath away. It was as the images suggested, and much more. Pictures could hardly provoke your senses as being there can.

One of the earliest sights in Würzburg would be the iconic dome of Stift Haug, one of the various beautiful churches across the city.

A cube in a square... The small square in front of Mainfranken Theater Würzburg is adorned with an iconic and eye-catching truncated cube.

I did not arrive under better weather conditions, so Würzburg took pity on me and offered me a dramatic sky for photography. And with the first few visits being cathedrals and churches, it couldn't have suited the atmosphere any better. The overcast sky was as grim as it was deadly silent in the house of worship. There was a definite advantage to arriving in the morning - the streets were mostly quiet and the lack of pedestrians offered yet another opportunity for me to catch the city in a quiet moment.

Vines crawling up as adornments were rather common in Würzburg.

It was so cold that even the tree needed to be clothed...

The lovely city lies to the north of the Bavarian region, famed for its numerous castles. It had led a long life and seen much of the region's history. An icon of the city, Fortress Marienberg was itself centuries old, its fortifications constructed in the 13th century and itself built upon and extended from a refuge castle that had been around since the Bronze Age.

Fortress Marienberg was not the only ancient testament of the city - the Würzburg Cathedral was another ancient structure, being the city's first church and was built in 788, and the Würzburg University was founded in 1402 and refounded in 1582. Its contribution to civilization was no other than the founding of the oldest printing press manufacturer in the world, in the form of 'Schnellpressenfabrik Koenig & Bauer', in 1817. Even so, none of these could draw visitors as well as the Würzburg Residenz, a palace which history was although dwarfed by the cathedral and the fortress, outshone them by being placed on UNESCO's Heritage List.

A dramatic turn of the weather transformed the sky from overcast to clear blue sky. One may say the grass is greener on the other side, I would say that the sky is bluer on the other continent... You could hardly capture a sky with such tones under the blazing afternoon sun of Malaysia.

Side roads and alleys are rather interesting for the curious explorer.

I could not agree more to Würzburg Residenz being placed within the UNESCO Heritage List. Its interior was an unmatched beauty, fresco paintings, curling stuccoes and ornate sculptures ensured that the palace was fit for Prince Electors, the highest local authority in Bavaria. Winter had barely left and spring yet to arrive, so the Court Gardens to the Residenz's back was slightly barren with twisted twigs and bare woods decorating the land. Still some of the more resistant greens stood defiant of the weather and added some verdant to an otherwise drab scenery.

The sky was lit up by the sun by noon, the clouds cast aside to make way for the golden orb. Under such glare it reminded me of the heat back home, yet none was felt here. Such an experience in a seasonal country during winter's end was a nice one, as long as the sun keeps shining down. Strolling in the town in itself was a very pleasant experience but it was unmatched by the view on the old bridge leading to the opposite shore.

More lovely blue sky ahead...

The most encouraging encounters to exploring the city on foot would be the fountains strewn throughout the city. Coming across each one of them was a reward in itself as they were unmarked on any map, leaving only blind luck and diligent exploration the way to find them. Although not all of them were kept in tip top condition, some left pungent with urea by vagabonds and vandals, the ornate sculpturing was well worth the time spent to linger around it for a few shots.

"The way to success is there..."

Exploring the city on foot could be quite rewarding. Fountains like this dotted the city and it is up to the curious explorer to stumble upon these unmarked structures.

By the end of the day, I was totally overwhelmed. So much sight in so short a time could leave a tourist dazed, much like eating too much good food and your stomach filed to the brim. And I told myself at the journey back that I may wish to visit Würzburg again if I have the time, to see the Court Garden with its flowers in full bloom.












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