About Würzburg Residence
Called the ‘castle above all castles’, the Würzburg Residence was principally designed by little-known court architect Balthasar Neumann and commissioned by Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn, Prince-Bishop of Würzburg. Constructed between 1720 and 1744, it is a perfect representation of South German Baroque-era architecture and one of Europe’s most extraordinary and lavishly opulent palaces.
White ostensibly built in the Baroque style, the Würzburg Residence embodies the pinnacle of western architectural influences of the time and includes elements of French château architecture, northern Italian religious and secular architecture and Viennese Baroque. According to UNESCO – for which Würzburg was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1981 – ‘The Residence is a document of European culture. Perhaps no monument from the same period is able to claim such a concurrence of talent.’
From 1740 to 1780, the interior and gardens were completed by some of the most significant creative talents – architects, designers, painters and sculptors – in Europe including ‘ornamentation genius’ Antonio Bossi and the 18th century’s greatest fresco painter Giovanni Battista Tieplo. It was Tieplo who lent his considerable skills to the world-famous staircase with its unsupported vaulted ceiling, widely regarded as a masterpiece of construction. The interior decoration of the Würzburg Residence was so spectacular that it even prompted a new school, Würzburg rococo.
While the palace itself is grandeur on a previously unknown scale, the formal Court Garden is no less of an artistic marvel.
After the Würzburg Residence was virtually demolished during WWII, the restoration project started immediately and was finally completed 42 years later and today, visitors can enjoy one of the most impressive palaces in Europe.