The Marienberg Fortress, or Festung Marienberg, is one of Franconia’s numerous majestic buildings.
About The Marienberg Fortress And Its History
The origins of the Festung Marienberg can be traced back all the way to Celtic times, to 704 A.D.. The lofty site on which the fortress was built was a defensive place for the Celts. In the 13th century, a massive castle was constructed here, along with some additional fortifications.
The Marienberg Fortress underwent its first trial during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1525. A peasant army numbering over 15,000 surrounded the Marienberg but could not break through the defenses. When their leader, Florian Geyer, went for reinforcements on short trip, the army couldn’t survive without his guidance. The peasants were soon outflanked by Swabian forces and over half of them were massacred in battle.
The next invasion didn’t go as well for the fortress defenders. In 1631, during the Thirty Years’ War, the Marienberg was conquered by the Swedes, led by Gustavus Adolphus. During the years of Swedish rule, the Fortress became even more fortified and began to evolve into the Baroque architectural style.
The burned out ruin of Marienberg was slowly brought back from death during many years of renovation. It wasn’t until 1990 that the Marienberg was made whole again.
Marienberg Fortress Highlights And Features
Armory and Museums
The Baroque Armory, built in the eighteenth century, is where you’ll find the Mainfränkische Museum. The museum is home to some great works of art, including the renowned sculptures of Tilman Riemenschneider and other Franconian treasures.
In the princes’ wing, you’ll come across another museum, the Fürstenbau. This museum houses many historical artifacts from 1200 years of Würzburg history.
The Princes’ Garden
This early 16th century garden is a wonderland of terraces and balustrades. The Princes’ Garden’s style and design can be mostly attributed to Johann Philipp von Greiffenklau who created it in its current form in the year 1700.
Josef Greising, in the same year, designed two of the pavilions that are on the upper terraces. The decorations of stucco and sculpture add a refined and elegant air to this lovely place.
And don’t miss the balcony view of the city of Würzburg, the Main River valley and other surrounding areas.
Marienberg Fortress Location And Opening Hours
If you’re equipped with a navigation system, use the street address of “Festung Marienberg, Nr. 239” in 97082 Würzburg for simple and convenient directions. The Festung has a designated parking lot as well.
The closest autobahns are the A3, A7 and A81.
The more environmentally-friendly traveler can use Germany’s superb public transport system. From the Würzburg train station, it’s a 7 minute taxi ride or 45 minute walk to the Marienberg Fortress. Bus number 9 will also take you there, but only in the high season of April to October.
Marienberg Fortress Opening Hours
The Festung Marienberg is open only from April to October. The visiting hours are from 9:00 a.m until 5:30 p.m. If you want to visit the mighty Fortress in the winter, you will soon learn the meaning of the German word “geschlossen.” It means “closed.” So try not to schedule your vacation here from November to March if your heart is set on viewing this magnificent castle from the inside. ;-)
For more information, please see the Marienberg Fortress Web Site.