26.9.15

Würzburg


We visited Würzburg on my birthday, 27 July 2014.  Weather everywhere nearby Nürnberg was expected to be bad.  Only Würzburg stood out as the option to spend a nice day.   The photo above was taken from a bridge, not the Alte Mainbrücke, with a view of the strategic positioned Fortress Marienberg.


 

We began the day with a visit to St. Johannes, Stift Haug.  Inside is enoromous, immaculately white and solemn.  A mass was in progress.  Therefore we could not tour around.  Then we took a train to see Veitshöchheim.



Returning to Würzburg we were strolling along the river Main and appreciating the buildings on the two sides.   Opposite are the striking Fortress Marienberg and Käppele on top or middle of two hills. We took the challenge of climbing up to visit the Käppele.  The Baroque towers upfront drew our steps closer and closer.   The trip took time and energy.  All sweating in the high summer.  We missed the correct path and ended up passing through a private garden to arrive at the back of the church, a bit higher even.


 

Würzburg was over 90% destroyed during WWII.  Amazingly the Käppele was not damaged at all.  It is Würzburg's 14 Stations of the Cross, the largest one in Germany, depicts the last hours of Jesus with life-sized sculptures. It is decorated with golden frescos and stucco works. Angel sculptures are very beautiful and elegant.  A bonus: a gorgeous view of Würzburg from the Käppele.



Gradually we reached the prominent Alte Mainbrücke for pedestrians only.   Randomly some artists there to get your appreciation and assistance. Wine bars dotted at the other end of the bridge. Important landmarks are lining up for your visit.


 

You won't miss the Marien Chapel, a red white impressive Gothic church standing in the middle of a main square.  Construction started in 1377 and completed 100 years later.   The chapel was badly damaged during WWII.  The tower and the statue of Mary atop it survived intact.  The modern interior was designed as part of the 1948-61 recovery. On the market portal are Adam and Eve. Inside are still sculptures, paintings and colourful glass windows.




Nearby are the Neumünster and the Cathedral (Dom). I like particularly the ceiling in Neumünster.  There are still many remarkable art pieces.


 

 

Next to Neumünster is the Cathedral.  Some interesesting sculptures stand in the square to get you a smile.  Inside is gorgeously presented with various sculptures and paintings.

 

The Cathedral is dedicated to St. Kilian.  This Romanesque church is the fourth largest in Germany.  The interior is simple and elegant. You can see many high quality sculptures around.  Walk a few steps to the corridor to discover more beautiful pieces.


Last but not the least is the Residenz.   It is a splendid palace of the Prince-Bishops and one of the finest secular Baroque buildings in Germany.  Its spectacular and monumental staircase hall with an enormous fresco by Tiepolo is famous.  Worth seeing are also the many sumptuously decorated rooms.   Unfortunately, we only had time for the building exterior and the beautiful garden dotted with statues, ladies and babies.




 


 

 

Oh well, it's a beautiful day but we had to return home.   A nice cold beer to take with me on the train.  And seco at home with family.  



11.9.15

Augsburg

19 July 2014

We began the day for Augsburg with a very early train on Saturday since it's the only local train with the quickest speed, 1 hour 10 minutes instead of an almost 2-hour journey.  We had a nice breakfast at a cafe on the way to the town centre.

Our sightseeing began with St. Anne Church. It was built in 14th century.  The remarkable ceiling is painted with Baroque and Rococo stuccowork and frescoes by Johann Georg Bergmüller.  It is decorated with beautiful paintings.   The church gets famous, perhaps also because Martin Luther's stay.
 

The Rathaus (town hall) is a popular tourist spot in Augsburg. It is renowned for its Golden Hall, with magnificent, pompous portals, coffered ceiling and mural paintings.  It is opened between 10am and 6pm unless there is a private event.


 


Augsburg Cathedral dated back to 11th century.  The style is Romanesque but with Gothic additions in 14th century.  It is enormous and has many high quality paintings and sculptures.




On the south clerestory are the oldest stained glass windows in Germany.  Portraits of the prophets, Jonah, Daniel, Hosea, Moses and David are from the late 11th century or early 12th century.  They are called 'prophets windows', made by the monks of Tegern Lake.  They are high up and it's quite dark there.  Click here to experience the enormity of, organ music and singing at the cathedral.


















We then proceeded to the Fuggerei, the world's oldest social settlement founded between 1514 and 1523.  It includes 67 buildings, 140 apartments, one church and administrative buildings.  Annual rent is surprisingly low, €0.88.  Tenants need to pay for the utility such as heating, water and electricity, around €100 per month.  The basic qualification to live in the Fuggerei is one must be poor and Catholic, and pray for the founder family three times a day.  Franz Mozart (the great grandfather of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) lived there since 1681.


 


Augsburg is a proper and organised town.   Most buildings are rennovated with nice pastel colours.   While walking in the centre, you won't miss the three beautiful fountains with exquisite bronze sculptures.  They are: Augustus Fountain, Mercury fountain and Hercules Fountain.
























In between we passed by the Mozart House.   Leopold Mozart (father of Mozart) was born in the house in 1719.  He had great musical talent and worked as a composer and deputy musical director. He gained fame at time and groomed his son to become one of the most influential and well known composers.



Our last major spot of the day was Sankt Ulrich und Sankt Afra.  It is a richly furnished late Gothic basilica built in the architectural styles of Renaissance and Baroque.  The exterior is beautiful.  The interior is decorated with giant altars and remarkable art pieces.