Festung Marienberg

Home / Places / Festung Marienberg


Festung Marienberg: The Pride of Germany

Festung Marienberg is a famous landmark on the bank of the River Mains in Germany. It is an ancient monument. The German word ‘Festung’ stands for‘Fortress’ in the English Language. The fortress is situated in the Würzburg city, in the Franconian region of the Bavaria state in Germany. Würzburg is the capital city of the Regierungsbezirk of Lower Franconian region. This fortress is the most dominating feature of the city. Festung Marienberg is symbolic of the Würzburg city and in the ancient time this landmark was the home of the prince –bishops for around five centuries. Presently, two museums are located in the Festung Marienberg.


Festung Marienberg is located in the Würzburg city, in the administration region of Lower Franconia of the Bavaria state in Germany.


The city of Würzburg has a warm and temperate climate. This city receives a significant amount of rainfall the whole year round. Even in the driest month of the year, this city receives significant rainfall. It receives an average rainfall of 603 mm. Würzburg has an average temperature of 9.5 degree Celsius. The month of July is the warmest in the city of Würzburg, while the coldest month is January. In the summer season the temperature may rise to 18.7 degree Celsius and in winters it may drop to as low as -0.2 degree Celsius. The average temperature varies by 18.9 °Celsius around the whole year Würzburg.


The city of Würzburg is as old as 4th-5th century. The Alamanni settled in this city first and later in the 6th-7th century, the Franks settled. On the present site of the Festung Marienberg, was a refuge castle in the Bronze Age in the past.

From 650, a Merovingian Duke ruled the Würzburg. The city was given new name by Irish Missionaries in 686. Bishop Willibrord received the city as a donation from Duke Hedan II in May 704. Würzburg was also referred to as Uburzisin in the past.

Old city seals belonging to this city, dating back to 1237 reveal that Saint Killian was revered in Würzburg. It also has the banners on lance against a blue colored background. The seal design evolved with time and by 1570 it featured the Coat of Arms along with Saint Kilian.

In the year 742, Saint Boniface selected Saint Bukhard to take the responsibility of the first ever bishop of the city and thus the first diocese of Würzburg was established. Several Jews were massacred between 1147 and 1298.

The first ever church of Würzburg was constructed in the year 788, and the present Würzburg Cathedral is built on the site of the same. The building of the church was rebuilt between 1040 and 1225. It was built in the Romanesque style. The University of Würzburg was started in the year 1402, and it was re-founded in 1582. The city has been witness to several revolts led by the common citizens against the ruling bishops and princes.

Since the year 1397, the citizens of the city received numerous promises from several rulers that the Würzburg would be declared as an independent Imperial City. However, it never happened, and instead, the citizens lost the war to the bishop in the Schlacht von Bergheim (de) and remained under its control for a very period.

Mass trials of the witches were held from 1626 and 1631 and as many as 600 to 900 alleged witches were executed by burning them. In the year 1631, the King of Sweden captured and looted the castle. In 1720, the Würzburg Residence was established and by the year 1803, the city came under the Electorate of Bavaria. But, within two years during the Napoleonic wars, this city came under the Grand Duchy of Würzburg.

In 1814, the city was administered by the Kingdom of Bavaria. In 1817, the printing press manufacturing company called ‘Schnellpressenfabrik Koenig & Bauer’was established by two persons, Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer. It was the first printing press manufacturer company in the world.

Before the rise of Nazis’ to power, as many as 2000 Jews lived in Würzburg, and they were mainly the traders and professionals. Several communal organizations and Teachers Seminaries of the Jews were situated in this city. But, this changed drastically after November 1941, as Jews were forced to move to many Nazi concentration camps in Eastern Europe. By June 1943, the city of Würzburg was left without any population of the Jewish community, very few of them survived.

225 British Lancaster bombers bombed the city on 16 March 1945, and as a result about ninety percent of Würzburg was destructed within minutes. This city was attacked for being the revolution center. All the major historical buildings like the cathedrals and monuments were destructed partly or wholly. It took more than two decades to reconstruct the destroyed historic buildings.

The U.S. Armored Division and U.S. Infantry Division took control of Würzburg on 3 April 1945. The battle lasted until the defeat of the final Wehrmacht resistance on 5 April 1945.

Würzburg city is twinned with the following cities – Dundee of Scotland, Caen of France, Rochester of the United States, Mwanza of Tanzania, Otsu of Japan, Salamanca of Spain, Suhl of Germany, Umeå of Sweden, Republic of Ireland Bray of Ireland and Trautenau of Czech Republic. Twin towns or cities is a concept to form social and legal ties between different cities and towns even in geographically far off places. It is done to boost the culture, tourism, and commerce of the towns involved. It is a recent concept which was initiated post the Second World War, in the year 1947.

Traveling in the city

The best place to be in Würzburg is the ‘Festung Marienberg’. It is the most prominent monument of the city. IThis fortress is a feast for the eyes of the art admirers as this building is built in two styles – Baroque style and Renaissance style. Another prominent place to visit is ‘Würzburger Residenz’ as it has been declared as the UNESCO world Heritage site. It has several things housed in it like the ‘Hofkirche, ’ which is a church with tasteful decoration of sculptures and paintings. It is famous for its regal Rococo and Baroque building style.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo has painted the altars of this church. ‘Treppenhaus’ is a fresco painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and it is deemed as the largest in the world. ‘Kaisersaal’ also known as the ‘The Imperial Hall’ serves as the center of the palace, and it signifies the intimate ties of the city of the Würzburg and the Holy Roman Empire.

Renaissance has been an integral part of Europe’s culture for a very long time, and it reflects in the monuments and architecture of Würzburg. With the aesthetic monuments boasting of architectural styles such as Baroque and the Romanesque, the city of Würzburg does not fail to make visitor’s jaw drop in awe.

Traveling in Würzburg is very easy and comfortable due to the availability of a vast number of trams and trains. Both trains and trains arrive within a difference of few minutes.

Why visit?

The best part by far about visiting Würzburg is that you will get to satiate your appetite for history and architecture. The Baroque style of the city attracts a large number of visitors every year. It will give you your own sweet time to digest the picturesque beauty the city has to offer at every nook and corner.

A city that is an amalgamation of art, culture, and history with amazingly friendly locals is one city you would not want to miss. It should definitely be on the bucket list of the travel lovers. Traveling in Würzburg is also economical at its best, with informative walking tours offered by the locals themselves. Immerse yourself in the past and come back at the tempting present in Würzburg. The city has on its platter, something for everyone – nature lovers, art lovers, history lovers or just those social people who love mingling with others while just sipping a good beer at a bar or a hot cup of coffee in a café.

One of the famous wine fairs of the city is ‘Würzburger Weinfest’. But, usually every village in this area holds a wine fair, and you should not miss it, especially if you are a wine connoisseur. Every year in the month of May-June, Africa Festival is held to highlight the various nuances of African culture.

Würzburg is beautiful, surprising and delightful – just the perfect city for anyone who is in search of solitude filled adventure.

Major Attractions

Festung Marienberg: It is the most significant attraction of this city. It was constructed by the bishops of Würzburg. It is located on the high spur of Marienberg. Owing to several destructions, the structure of the fortress has been reconstructed in its original Baroque style. The fortress has following structures – Inner court, Fürstenbau, and Echtertor.

The Inner Court:  The inner court has a 13th century old Bergfried built in the famous Romanesque style. It also has a well house built in the Renaissance style, dating back to the year 1603. The original name of Bergfried was Mittlerer Turm or Wartturm. The basic structure of two cylinders placed on each other is same as that in the past. The proportions of the building have been modified since the 13th century.

Fürstenbau: This four-wing structure surrounds the Inner Court. Three out of its four corners towers are built on it, namely-Kiliansturm, Marienturm, and Randersackererturm. These are clockwise from the northwest. These were built during the restoration of the palace at the beginning of the 17th century.The whole structure is a reflection of the architectural style of the 16th and 17th century. It also has the famous staircase known as BibraTreppe.

Fortifications: This structure is a medieval wall or towers surrounding the outer ward called ‘Scherenbergzwinger.’ On the east side, this structure encloses the Baroque garden called Fürstengarten. The Gothic Scherenbergtor serves as an entrance to the inner castle.

What else is around?

  • Museum at the Cathedral
  • Museum in Kulturspeicher
  • Martin von Wagner Museum
  • AlteMainbrücke

With so many places to see around, this is truly a traveller’s delight. So, what are you waiting for? Plan your visit and pack your bags to spend your vacation in this lovely place with your family and friends. It is a place worth visiting.