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Würzburg (UK: /ˈvɜːrtsbɜːrɡ, ˈvʊərts-/, US: /ˈwɜːrts-, ˈwʊərts-/,[2][3][4][5][6][a] German: [ˈvʏʁtsbʊʁk] (About this soundlisten); Main-Franconian: Wörtzburch) is a city in the traditional region of Franconia in the north of the German State of Bavaria. At the next-down tier of local government it is the administrative seat of Lower Franconia. It spans the banks of the Main.

Würzburg is about 120 kilometres (75 mi) from Frankfurt am Main, to west and Nuremberg (Nürnberg), to east. The city has around 130,000 residents.[7]

The regional dialect is East Franconian.

The city is outside of the Landkreis Würzburg (district of Würzburg) but has its administrative centre.

History

Early and medieval history

Impression of the city seal of 1319
Woodcut depicting Würzburg from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)
Panorama of Würzburg with castle Marienberg. Matthäus Merian in Cornelis Danckerts, "Historis", 1642.

A Bronze Age (Urnfield culture) refuge castle, and later a Roman fort, stood on the hill known as the Leistenberg,[8] the site of the present Fortress Marienberg. The former Celtic territory was settled by the Alamanni in the 4th or 5th century, and by the Franks in the 6th to 7th. Würzburg was the seat of a Merovingian duke from about 650. It was Christianized in 686 by Irish missionaries Kilian, Kolonat and Totnan. The city is mentioned in a donation by Duke Hedan II to bishop Willibrord, dated 1 May 704, in castellum Virteburch. The Ravenna Cosmography lists the city as Uburzis at about the same time.[9] The name is presumably of Celtic origin, but based on a folk etymological connection to the German word Würze "herb, spice", the name was Latinized as Herbipolis in the medieval period.[10]

Beginning in 1237, the city seal depicted the cathedral and a portrait of Saint Kilian, with the inscription SIGILLVM CIVITATIS HERBIPOLENSIS. It shows a banner on a tilted lance, formerly in a blue field, with the banner quarterly argent and gules (1532), later or and gules (1550). This coat of arms replaced the older seal of the city, showing Saint Kilian, from 1570.[11]

The first diocese was founded by Saint Boniface in 742 when he appointed the first bishop of Würzburg, Saint Burkhard. The bishops eventually created a secular fiefdom, which extended in the 12th century to Eastern Franconia. The city was the site of several Imperial Diets, including the one of 1180, at which Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony and Bavaria, was banned for three years from the Empire[8] and his duchy Bavaria was handed over to Otto of Wittelsbach. Massacres of Jews took place in 1147 and 1298.

The first church on the site of the present Würzburg Cathedral was built as early as 788 and consecrated that same year by Charlemagne; the current building was constructed from 1040 to 1225 in Romanesque style. The University of Würzburg was founded in 1402 and re-founded in 1582. The citizens of the city revolted several times against the prince-bishop.

In 1397, King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia had visited the city and promised its people the status of a free Imperial City. However, the German ruling princes forced him to withdraw these promises. In 1400, the citizenry was decisively defeated by the troops of the bishop in the Schlacht von Bergtheim [de], and the city fell under his control permanently until the dissolution of the fiefdom.[12]:41

Modern history

The Würzburg witch trials, which occurred between 1626 and 1631, are one of the largest peace-time mass trials. In Würzburg, under Bishop Philip Adolf an estimated number between 600 and 900 alleged witches were burnt.[13] In 1631, Swedish King Gustaf Adolf invaded the town and plundered the castle.

In 1720, the foundations of the Würzburg Residence were laid. In 1796, the Battle of Würzburg between Habsburg Austria and the First French Republic took place. The city passed to the Electorate of Bavaria in 1803, but two years later, in the course of the Napoleonic Wars, it became the seat of the Electorate of Würzburg (until September 1806), the later Grand Duchy of Würzburg. In 1814, the town became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria and a new bishopric was created seven years later, as the former one had been secularized in 1803 (see also Reichsdeputationshauptschluss).

In 1817, Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer founded Schnellpressenfabrik Koenig & Bauer (the world's first steam-driven printing press manufacturer).

The Hep-Hep riots from August to October 1819 were pogroms against Ashkenazi Jews, beginning in the Kingdom of Bavaria, during the period of Jewish emancipation in the German Confederation. The antisemitic communal violence began on August 2, 1819 in Würzburg and soon reached the outer regions of the German Confederation. Many Jews were killed and much Jewish property was destroyed.

In 1848 Catholic bishops held the Würzburg Bishops' Conference, a forerunner of later German and Austrian conferences. By distinction, the Würzburg Conference is a name given to the meeting of representatives of the smaller German states in 1859 to devise some means of mutual support. The conference, however, had no result. Würzburg was bombarded and taken by the Prussians in 1866, in which year it ceased to be a fortress.[8]

In the early 1930s, around 2,000 Jews had lived in Würzburg, which was also a rabbinic center. During the Kristallnacht, in 1938, many Jewish houses and shops were raided, looted or destroyed.[14] The contents of two synagogues were stolen or destroyed.[14] Many Jews were imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo.[14] Between November 1941 and June 1943 Jews from the city were sent to the Nazi concentration camps in Eastern Europe.[15]

From April 1943 to March 1945 a subcamp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp was located in the city, with dozens of prisoners, mostly from Poland and the Soviet Union.[16]

On 16 March 1945, about 90% of the city was destroyed in 17 minutes by fire bombing from 225 British Lancaster bombers during a World War II air raid. Würzburg became a target for its role as a traffic hub and to break the spirit of the population.[12]:19

All of the city's churches, cathedrals, and other monuments were heavily damaged or destroyed. The city center, which mostly dated from medieval times, was totally destroyed in a firestorm in which 5,000 people perished.

Over the next 20 years, the buildings of historical importance were painstakingly and accurately reconstructed. The citizens who rebuilt the city immediately after the end of the war were mostly women – Trümmerfrauen ("rubble women") – because the men were either dead or still prisoners of war. On a relative scale, Würzburg was destroyed to a larger extent than was Dresden in a firebombing the previous month.

On 3 April 1945, Würzburg was occupied by the U.S. 12th Armored Division and U.S. 42nd Infantry Division in a series of frontal assaults masked by smokescreens. The battle continued until the final Wehrmacht resistance was defeated on 5 April 1945.[17][18]

The 2016 Würzburg train attack took place at the Würzburg-Heidingsfeld railway station on 18 July.

Geography

Würzburg with Fortress Marienberg
Panoramic view of city center from the fortress

Würzburg spans the banks of the river Main in the region of Lower Franconia in the north of the state of Bavaria, Germany. The heart of the town is on the locally eastern (right) bank. The town is enclosed by the Landkreis Würzburg, but is not a part of it.

Würzburg covers an area of 87.6 square-kilometres and lies at an altitude of around 177 metres.[19]

Of the total municipal area, in 2007, building area accounted for 30%, followed by agricultural land (27.9%), forestry/wood (15.5%), green spaces (12.7%), traffic (5.4%), water (1.2%) and others (7.3%).[20]

The centre of Würzburg is surrounded by hills. To the west lies the 266 metre Marienberg and the Nikolausberg (359 m) to the south of it. The Main flows through Würzburg from the south-east to the north-west.

City structure

The Würzburg witch trials, which occurred between 1626 and 1631, are one of the largest peace-time mass trials. In Würzburg, under Bishop Philip Adolf an estimated number between 600 and 900 alleged witches were burnt.[13] In 1631, Swedish King Gustaf Adolf invaded the town and plundered the castle.

In 1720, the foundations of the Würzburg Residence were laid. In 1796, the Battle of Würzburg between Habsburg Austria and the First French Republic took place. The city passed to the Electorate of Bavaria in 1803, but two years later, in the course of the Napoleonic Wars, it became the seat of the Electorate of Würzburg (until September 1806), the later Grand Duchy of Würzburg. In 1814, the town became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria and a new bishopric was created seven years later, as the former one had been secularized in 1803 (see also Reichsdeputationshauptschluss).

In 1817, Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer founded Schnellpressenfabrik Koenig & Bauer (the world's first steam-driven printing press manufacturer).

The Hep-Hep riots from August to October 1819 were pogroms against Ashkenazi Jews, beginning in the Kingdom of Bavaria, during the period of Jewish emancipation in the German Confederation. The antisemitic communal violence began on August 2, 1819 in Würzburg and soon reached the outer regions of the German Confederation. Many Jews were killed and much Jewish property was destroyed.

In 1848 Catholic bishops held the Würzburg Bishops' Conference, a forerunner of later German and Austrian conferences. By distinction, the Würzburg Conference is a name given to the meeting of representatives of the smaller German states in 1859 to devise some means of mutual support. The conference, however, had no result. Würzburg was bombarded and taken by the Prussians in 1866, in which year it ceased to be a fortress.[8]

In the early 1930s, around 2,000 Jews had lived in Würzburg, which was also a rabbinic center. During the Kristallnacht, in 1938, many Jewish houses and shops were raided, looted or destroyed.[14] The contents of two synagogues were stolen or destroyed.[14] Many Jews were imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo.[14] Between November 1941 and June 1943 Jews from the city were sent to the Nazi concentration camps in Eastern Europe.[15]

From April 1943 to March 1945 a subcamp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp was located in the city, with dozens of prisoners, mostly from Poland and the Soviet Union.[16]

On 16 March 1945, about 90% of the city was destroyed in 17 minutes by fire bombing from 225 British Lancaster bombers during a World War II air raid. Würzburg became a target for its role as a traffic hub and to break the spirit of the population.[12]:19

All of the city's churches, cathedrals, and other monuments were heavily damaged or destroyed. The city center, which mostly dated from medieval times, was totally destroyed in a firestorm in which 5,000 people perished.

Over the next

Beginning in 1237, the city seal depicted the cathedral and a portrait of Saint Kilian, with the inscription SIGILLVM CIVITATIS HERBIPOLENSIS. It shows a banner on a tilted lance, formerly in a blue field, with the banner quarterly argent and gules (1532), later or and gules (1550). This coat of arms replaced the older seal of the city, showing Saint Kilian, from 1570.[11]

The first diocese was founded by Saint Boniface in 742 when he appointed the first bishop of Würzburg, Saint Burkhard. The bishops eventually created a secular fiefdom, which extended in the 12th century to Eastern Franconia. The city was the site of several Imperial Diets, including the one of 1180, at which Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony and Bavaria, was banned for three years from the Empire[8] and his duchy Bavaria was handed over to Otto of Wittelsbach. Massacres of Jews took place in 1147 and 1298.

The first church on the site of the present Würzburg Cathedral was built as early as 788 and consecrated that same year by Charlemagne; the current building was constructed from 1040 to 1225 in Romanesque style. The University of Würzburg was founded in 1402 and re-founded in 1582. The citizens of the city revolted several times against the prince-bishop.

In 1397, King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia had visited the city and promised its people the status of a free Imperial City. However, the German ruling princes forced him to withdraw these promises. In 1400, the citizenry was decisively defeated by the troops of the bishop in the Schlacht von Bergtheim [de], and the city fell under his control permanently until the dissolution of the fiefdom.[12]:41

The Würzburg witch trials, which occurred between 1626 and 1631, are one of the largest peace-time mass trials. In Würzburg, under Bishop Philip Adolf an estimated number between 600 and 900 alleged witches were burnt.[13] In 1631, Swedish King Gustaf Adolf invaded the town and plundered the castle.

In 1720, the foundations of the Würzburg Residence were laid. In 1796, the Battle of Würzburg between Würzburg Residence were laid. In 1796, the Battle of Würzburg between Habsburg Austria and the First French Republic took place. The city passed to the Electorate of Bavaria in 1803, but two years later, in the course of the Napoleonic Wars, it became the seat of the Electorate of Würzburg (until September 1806), the later Grand Duchy of Würzburg. In 1814, the town became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria and a new bishopric was created seven years later, as the former one had been secularized in 1803 (see also Reichsdeputationshauptschluss).

In 1817, Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer founded Schnellpressenfabrik Koenig & Bauer (the world's first steam-driven printing press manufacturer).

The Hep-Hep riots from August to October 1819 were pogroms against Ashkenazi Jews, beginning in the Kingdom of Bavaria, during the period of Jewish emancipation in the German Confederation. The antisemitic communal violence began on August 2, 1819 in Würzburg and soon reached the outer regions of the German Confederation. Many Jews were killed and much Jewish property was destroyed.

In 1848 Catholic bishops held the Würzburg Bishops' Conference, a forerunner of later German and Austrian conferences. By distinction, the Würzburg Conference is a name given to the meeting of representatives of the smaller German states in 1859 to devise some means of mutual support. The conference, however, had no result. Würzburg was bombarded and taken by the Prussians in 1866, in which year it ceased to be a fortress.[8]

In the early 1930s, around 2,000 Jews had lived in Würzburg, which was also a rabbinic center. During the Kristallnacht, in 1938, many Jewish houses and shops were raided, looted or destroyed.[14] The contents of two synagogues were stolen or destroyed.[14] Many Jews were imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo.[14] Between November 1941 and June 1943 Jews from the city were sent to the Nazi concentration camps in Eastern Europe.[15]

From April 1943 to March 1945 a subcamp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp was located in the city, with dozens of prisoners, mostly from Poland and the Soviet Union.[16]

On 16 March 1945, about 90% of the city was destroyed in 17 minutes by fire bombing from 225 British Lancaster bombers during a World War II air raid. Würzburg became a target for its role as a traffic hub and to break the spirit of the population.[12]:19

All of the city's churches, cathedrals, and other monuments were heavily damaged or destroyed. The city center, which mostly dated from medieval times, was totally destroyed in a firestorm in which 5,000 people perished.

Over the next 20 years, the buildings of historical importance were painstakingly and accurately reconstructed. The citizens who rebuilt the city immediately after the end of the war were mostly women – Trümmerfrauen ("rubble women") – because the men were either dead or still prisoners of war. On a relative scale, Würzburg was destroyed to a larger extent than was Dresden in a firebombing the previous month.

On 3 April 1945, Würzburg was occupied by the U.S. 12th Armored Division and U.S. 12th Armored Division and U.S. 42nd Infantry Division in a series of frontal assaults masked by smokescreens. The battle continued until the final Wehrmacht resistance was defeated on 5 April 1945.[17][18]

The 2016 Würzburg train attack took place at the Würzburg-Heidingsfeld railway station on 18 July.

Würzburg spans the banks of the river Main in the region of Lower Franconia in the north of the state of Bavaria, Germany. The heart of the town is on the locally eastern (right) bank. The town is enclosed by the Landkreis Würzburg, but is not a part of it.

Würzburg covers an area of 87.6 square-kilometres and lies at an altitude of around 177 metres.[19]

Of the total municipal area, in 2007, building area accounted for 30%, followed by agricultural land (27.9%), forestry/wood (15.5%), green spaces (12.7%), traffic (5.4%), water (1.2%) and others (7.3%).[20]

The centre of Würzburg is surrounded by hills. To the west lies the 266 metre Marienberg and the Nikolausberg (359 m) to the south of it. The Main flows through Würzburg from the south-east to the north-west.

City structure

Würzburg is divided into 13 Stadtbezirke which are additionally structured into 25 boroughs. In the following overview, the boroughs and their numbers are allocated to the 13 municipals.

The proposed Line 6 from Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) to Hubland university campus via Residenz is scheduled to be completed after 2018.

Buses

Bikes are a popular means of transportation in Würzburg.

27 bus lines connect several parts of the city and the inner suburbs. 25 bus lines connect the Landkreis Würzburg to the city.

Port

The Main river flows into the Rhine and is connected to the Danube via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. This makes it part of a trans-European waterway connecting the North Sea to the Black Sea.

Bicycle

Designated bicycle paths are located throughout the city and the Main-Radweg long-distance bicycle trail passes through the old town.

Infrastructure

Utilities

The local public utility is Würzburger Versorgungs- und Verkehrs-GmbH [de] supplying power, natural gas and water as well as public transportation and parking services. It also owns a majority stake in the port and runs local garbage collection/recycling. Heizkraftwerk Würzburg [de] is owned by the utility.

Health care

Universitätsklinikum Würzburg [de] provides health care services, with over 5,300 employees and over 1,400 hospital beds. Juliusspital also offers hospital services with 342 beds.

Notable people

Buses
Landkreis Würzburg to the city.

Port

The Main river flows into the Rhine and is connected to the Danube via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. This makes it part of a trans-European waterway connecting the North Sea to the Black Sea.

Bicycle

Designated bicycle paths are located throughout the city and the Main-Radweg long-distance bicycle trail passes through the old town.

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The Main river flows into the Rhine and is connected to the Danube via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. This makes it part of a trans-European waterway connecting the North Sea to the Black Sea.

BicycleDesignated bicycle paths are located throughout the city and the Main-Radweg long-distance bicycle trail passes through the old town.

Infrastructure

Universitätsklinikum Würzburg [Universitätsklinikum Würzburg [de] provides health care services, with over 5,300 employees and over 1,400 hospital beds. Juliusspital also offers hospital services with 342 beds.

Notable people