Thursday, March 10, 2011

Würzburg, Germany - May 28th 2010

On March 16, 1945, Würzburg was severely damaged in a seventeen minute attack by 225 British Lancaster bombers. Most of the city's churches, cathedrals, and other monuments were casualties and the city center was totally destroyed in a firestorm that claimed 5,000 lives. 
Over the next 20 years, the buildings of historical importance were painstakingly and accurately replicated. Würzburg was destroyed more completely than was Dresden in a firebombing the previous month. 
From the end of the war until 2008, the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division along with other U.S. military units were stationed near the town and was hugely beneficial to the local economy. Würzburg is about 70 miles from both Frankfurt am Main and Nuremberg and has a current population in the region of 130,000.
The Celts had a fort on the hill where Fortress Marienberg stands today as early as 1000 BCE and the setlement was Christianized in 686 CE. The first church on the site of the present Würzburg Cathedral was built in 788, and was consecrated by Charlemagne.
Würzburg's Old Main Bridge - Alte Mainbrücke - built 1473–1543 to replace the destroyed Romanesque bridge from 1133, was later decorated with well-known statues of saints and famous persons. 
The University of Würzburg contains Wilhelm Röntgen's original laboratory, where he discovered X-rays in 1895 and also awarded Alexander Graham Bell an honorary Ph.D for his pioneering scientific work. Our day in Wurzburg was comfortably relaxed and we were pleasantly surpised by the homogenous nature of the old town. Lots more pictures here.

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