Wurzburg, Or Wirzberg
wiirzburg town church university
WURZBURG, or WIRZBERG, the fourth largest town in Bavaria, and the chief town of the district of Lower Franconia in the north-west of that kingdom, is situated on both sides of the Main, 60 miles south-east of Frankfort. An ancient stone bridge (1474-1607), 650 feet long, and adorned with statues of saints, connects the two parts of the town. Wiirzburg is quaintly and irregularly built ; many of the houses are interesting specimens of mediaeval antiquity; and the numerous old churches recall the fact that it was long the capital of an ecclesiastical principality. The principal church is the imposing Romanesque cathedral, a basilica with transepts, begun in 1042 and consecrated in 1189. The four towers, however, date from 1240, the (rococo) façade from 1711-19, and the dome from 1731. The spacious transepts terminate in apses. The beautiful Marienkapelle, a Gothic edifice of 1377-1441, was restored in 1856; it is embellished with fourteen statues by Tilinan Riemenschneider, who died at Wiirzburg in 1531. The Stifthaug church, with two towers and a lofty dome, was built in the Italian Renaissance style in 1670-91. The bones of St Kilian, patron saint of Wilrzburg, are preserved in the Neumiinster church, which dates from the llth century ; Walther von der Vogelweide is buried in the adjoining cloisters. The church of St Burkard is externally one of the best preserved architectural monuments in the city. It was built in 1033-42, in the Romanesque style, and was restored in 1168. The Late Gothic choir dates from 1494-97. The Neubaukirche, or university church, curiously unites a Gothic exterior with a Classical interior. The Protestant church of St Stephen (1782-89) originally belonged to a Benedictine abbey. Of the secular buildings in Wiirzburg the most conspicuous is the royal (formerly episcopal) palace, a huge and magnificent edifice built in 1720-44 in imitation of Versailles. The Julius hospital, a large and richly endowed institution affording food and lodging to 600 persons daily, was founded in 1576 by Bishop Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn. The quaint town-house dates in part from 1456. Among the other chief buildings are the Government offices, the theatre, the Maxschule, the observatory, and the various university buildings. A university was founded at Wiirzburg in 1403, but only existed for a few years. The present university was founded by Bishop Julius in 1582. Owing to its connexion with the large hospital, its laboratories, and its rich anatomical collections, the medical faculty speedily became famous, and has remained the most important faculty at Wiirzburg ever since. The university library contains 200,000 volumes, and there are numerous scientific institutes connected with the main institution. In 1886 it was attended by 800 students (600 medical), and had a teaching staff of 70 professors and lecturers. The other educational establishments of Wiirzburg are numerous; among them is a music institute, which gives instruction gratis in vocal and instrumental music.
Wiirzburg is surrounded by vineyards, which yield some of the best wines in Germany ; it also carries on the manufacture of beer, leather, tobacco, and railway carriages. The environs are highly picturesque as well as fertile ; the most interesting point is the Leistenburg, on which stands the fortress of Marienburg, the resi- dence of the bishops until 1720. This position was occupied by a Roman fort, and seems to have been fortified by Bishop Conrad, who died in 1203. The population of Wiirzburg in 1885 was 55,100, of whom 9000 were Protestants.
Wiirzburg is one of the most ancient and interesting towns of Germany, and as the capital of an immediate episcopal principality long played an important part in the history of the empire. The first bishop was Burkard, consecrated in 741, though the town seems to have existed in the previous century. The bishops soon acquired a considerable share of temporal power, and in the 15th century enjoyed the title of dukes of East Franconia. The citizens of Wiirzburg espoused the cause of Henry IV. against their bishop, and iu 1086 the town was twice taken by the contending armies. Various imperial diets were held in Wiirzburg, the chief being those of 1180, when Henry the Lion was placed under the ban, and of 1209, when Otto IV. was betrothed. In 1525 the rebellious peasants under Getz von Berlichingen took the town, but were repulsed from the Marienburg, and were defeated with great slaughter by the Swabian forces. The bishopric, which at one time embraced an area of 190 square miles, with 250,000 inhabitants, was secularized at the peace of Luneville, and passed to Bavaria in 1803. The peace of Pressburg (1805) transferred it, under the name of an electorate, to the grand-duke of Tuscany, who joined the Confederation of the Rhino, assuming the title grand-duke of Wbrzburg. The congress of Vienna restored it to Bavaria. Archduke Charles defeated Marshal Jourdan near Wilrzburg in 1796 ; and in 1866 the bombarding of the citadel was the lust warlike act of the Prussian army of the Main. The Wiirzburg conference is the name given to the meeting of the representatives of the smaller German states in November 1859 to devise some means of mutual support in the imperial diet. Wircebirgum is the old Latin form of the name of the town ; Herbipolis (herb-town ; Wurz is the German for root or herb) appears in the 12th century.