Würzburg lies about equidistant from Frankfurt am Main and from Nuremberg. Although the city of Würzburg is not part of the Landkreis Würzburg,, it is the seat of the district's administration. The city has a population of around 124,000 people.
A Bronze Age (Urnfield culture) refuge castle stood on the site of the present Fortress Marienberg. The former Celtic territory was settled by the Alamanni in the 4th or 5th century, and by the Franks in the 6th to 7th. Würzburg was the seat of a Merovingian duke from about 650. It was Christianized in 686 by Irish missionaries Kilian, Kolonat and Totnan. The city is mentioned in a donation by Duke Hedan II to bishop Willibrord, dated 1 May 704, in castellum Virteburch. The Ravenna Cosmography lists the city as Uburzis at about the same time. The name is presumably of Celtic origin, but based on a folk etymological connection to the German word Würze "herb, spice", the name was Latinized as Herbipolis in the medieval period.
Beginning in 1237, the city seal depicted the cathedral and a portrait of Saint Kilian, with the inscription SIGILLVM CIVITATIS HERBIPOLENSIS. It shows a banner on a tilted lance, formerly in a blue field, with the banner quarterly argent and gules (1532), later or and gules (1550). This coat of arms replaced the older seal of the city, showing Saint Kilian, from 1570.
The first diocese was founded by Saint Boniface in 742 when he appointed the first bishop of Würzburg, Saint Burkhard. The bishops eventually created a duchy with its center in the city, which extended in the 12th century to Eastern Franconia. The city was the seat of several Imperial Diets, including the one of 1180, in which Henry the Lion was banned from the Empire and his duchy was handed over to Otto of Wittelsbach. Massacres of Jews took place in 1147 and 1298.
The first church on the site of the present Würzburg Cathedral was built as early as 788, and consecrated that same year by Charlemagne; the current building was constructed from 1040 to 1225 in Romanesque style. The University of Würzburg was founded in 1402 and re-founded in 1582. The citizens of the city revolted several times against the prince-bishop.
In 1397, King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia had visited the city and promised its people the status of a free Imperial City. However, the German ruling princes forced him to withdraw these promises. In 1400, the citizenry was decisively defeated by the troops of the bishop in the Schlacht von Bergtheim (de), and the city fell under his control permanently until the dissolution of the fiefdom.
The Würzburg witch trials, which occurred between 1626 and 1631, are one of the largest peace-time mass trials. In Würzburg, under Bishop Philip Adolf an estimated number between 600 and 900 alleged witches were burnt. In 1631, Swedish King Gustaf Adolf invaded the town and plundered the castle.
In 1720, the foundations of the Würzburg Residence were laid. In 1796, the Battle of Würzburg between Habsburg Austria and the First French Republic took place. The city passed to the Electorate of Bavaria in 1803, but two years later, in the course of the Napoleonic Wars, it became the seat of the Electorate of Würzburg (until September 1806), the later Grand Duchy of Würzburg. In 1814, the town became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria and a new bishopric was created seven years later, as the former one had been secularized in 1803 (see also Reichsdeputationshauptschluss).
In 1817, Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer founded Schnellpressenfabrik Koenig & Bauer (the world's first printing press manufacturer).
On the eve of the Nazis' rise to power, 2,000 Jews lived in Würzburg; it was a community of tradesmen and professionals. Würzburg was a rabbinic center and home to many Jewish communal organisations and the Jewish Teachers Seminary. In November 1941, the first Jews from Würzburg were sent to the Nazi concentration camps in Eastern Europe. The final transport departed in June 1943. Few survived.
On 16 March 1945, about 90% of the city was destroyed in 17 minutes by fire bombing from 225 British Lancaster bombers during a World War II air raid, despite the presence of 40 hospitals and the absence of any major armament producer. Wüzburg became a target for its role as a traffic hub and to break the spirit of the population.
All of the city's churches, cathedrals, and other monuments were heavily damaged or destroyed. The city center, which mostly dated from medieval times, was totally destroyed in a firestorm in which 5,000 people perished.
Over the next 20 years, the buildings of historical importance were painstakingly and accurately reconstructed. The citizens who rebuilt the city immediately after the end of the war were mostly women – Trümmerfrauen ("rubble women") – because the men were either dead or still prisoners of war. On a relative scale, Würzburg was destroyed to a larger extent than was Dresden in a firebombing the previous month.
On 3 April 1945, Würzburg was occupied by the U.S. 12th Armored Division and U.S. 42nd Infantry Division in a series of frontal assaults masked by smokescreens. The battle continued until the final Wehrmacht resistance was defeated on 5 April 1945.
The 2016 Würzburg train attack took place at the Würzburg-Heidingsfeld railway station on 18 July.
Würzburg is located on both banks of the river Main in the region of Lower Franconia in Bavaria, Germany. The main body of the town is on the eastern (right) bank of the river. The town is completely enclosed by the Landkreis Würzburg, but is not a part of it.
Würzburg covers an area of 87.6 square-kilometres and lies at an altitude of around 177 metres.
Of the total municipal area, in 2007, building area accounted for 30%, followed by agricultural land (27.9%), forestry/wood (15.5%), green spaces (12.7%), traffic (5.4%), water (1.2%) and others (7.3%).
The centre of Würzburg is surrounded by hills. To the west lies the 266 metre Marienberg and the Nikolausberg (359 m) to the south of it. The Main flows through Würzburg from the south-east to the north-west.
Würzburg is divided into 13 Stadtbezirke which are additionally structured into 25 boroughs. In the following overview, the boroughs and their numbers are allocated to the 13 municipals.
Würzburg had 128,538 inhabitants as of 31 December 2016.
Würzburg is mainly known as an administrative center. Its largest employers are the Julius-Maximilians-University and the municipality. The largest private employers are Brose Fahrzeugteile followed by Koenig & Bauer, a maker of printing machines. Würzburg is also the capital of the German wine region Franconia which is famous for its mineralic dry white wines especially from the Silvaner grape. Würzburger Hofbräu brewery also locally produces a well-known pilsner beer.
Würzburg is home of the oldest Pizzeria in Germany. Nick di Camillo opened his restaurant named Bier- und Speisewirtschaft Capri on 24 March 1952. Mr Camillo received the honor of the Italian Order of Merit.
In 2013, GDP per inhabitant was €52,290 in Würzburg, placing the city 16th out of 96 rural and urban districts in Bavaria (Bavarian average: €39,691).
Following World War II, Würzburg was host to the U.S. Army's 1st and 3rd Infantry Divisions as well as an Army Hospital and various other U.S. military units that maintained a presence in Germany. The last troops were withdrawn from Würzburg in 2008, thus concluding more than 60 years of U.S. presence there.
Notable artists who lived in Würzburg include poet Walther von der Vogelweide (12th and 13th centuries), philosopher Albertus Magnus and painter Mathias Grünewald. Sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider (1460–1531) served as mayor and participated in the German Peasants' War.
Some of the city's "100 churches" survived intact. In style they range from Romanesque (Würzburg Cathedral), Gothic (Marienkapelle), Renaissance (Neubaukirche (de)), Baroque (Stift Haug Kirche (de)) to modern (St. Andreas).
Major festivals include the Africa Festival in May, the Mozart Festival in June/July and the Kiliani Volksfest in mid-July.
Basketball player Dirk Nowitzki grew up in Würzburg. Nowitzki and numerous other German national team players started their careers at the local Baskets Würzburg club that plays in the Basketball Bundesliga as of 2016. In the past, the club played at international competitions such as the Eurocup.
Würzburg is also home to the football teams Würzburger Kickers playing in the 3. Liga and Würzburger FV playing in the Fußball-Bayernliga.
SV Würzburg 05 is a swimming and water polo club, active in the German Water Polo League.
Würzburg is the administrative seat of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The administration of the Landkreis Würzburg (district) is also located in the town.
Since April 2014, the mayor of Würzburg has been Christian Schuchardt (de) (CDU).
Würzburg has several internationally recognized institutions in science and research:
The University of Würzburg (official name Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg) was founded in 1402 and is one of the oldest universities in Germany.
Academic disciplines are astronomy, biology, Catholic theology, chemistry, computer science, culture, economics, educational and social sciences, geography, history, languages and linguistics, law, literature, mathematics, medicine (human medicine, dentistry and biomedicine), pharmacy, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology and sociology.
Today, the ten faculties are spread throughout the city. The university currently enrolls approximately 29,000 students, out of which more than 1,000 come from other countries.
The University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt was founded in 1971 as an institute of technology with departments in Würzburg and Schweinfurt. Academic disciplines are architecture, business economics, business informatics, civil engineering, computational engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, engineering management, geodesy, graphic design, logistics, mechanical engineering, media, nursing theory, plastics engineering, social work.
With nearly 8,000 students it is the second largest university of applied science in Franconia.
The Conservatory of Würzburg is an institution with a long tradition as well as an impressive success story of more than 200 years. It was founded in 1797 as Collegium musicum academicum and is Germany’s oldest conservatory. Nowadays it is known as University of Music Würzburg. After the commutation from conservatory to university of music in the early 1970s, science and research were added to complement music education.
The "Fraunhofer ISC" in Würzburg is part of the Fraunhofer Society, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization. It develops materials for tomorrow’s products, offering cooperation to small and medium-sized enterprises and to large-scale industrial companies.
Würzburg is home to the daily newspaper Main-Post (de). Radio stations like Antenne Bayern (de) and state broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk have local studios. The latter also maintains a large broadcasting station at Frankenwarte (de) on the Nikolausberg. The private stations Radio Gong (de) and Radio Charivari (de) are based in Würzburg. The TV branch of Bayerischer Rundfunk has its Studio Mainfranken in the town. TV touring (de) is a local private TV station.
The city is located near the intersection of the Autobahns A 3 and A 7. Bundesstraße 8 passes through the town.
The city's main station is at the southern end of the Hanover-Würzburg high-speed rail line and offers frequent InterCityExpress and InterCity connections to cities such as Frankfurt, Cologne, Nuremberg, Munich, Hanover or Hamburg. It also is an important hub in the regional rail network.
Würzburg has a tram network of five lines with a length of 19.7 kilometres (12.2 miles).
The proposed Line 6 from Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) to Hubland university campus via Residenz is scheduled to be completed after 2018.
27 bus lines connect several parts of the city and the inner suburbs. 25 bus lines connect the Landkreis Würzburg to the city.
The Main river flows into the Rhine and is connected to the Danube via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. This makes it part of a trans-European waterway connecting the North Sea to the Black Sea.
Designated bicycle paths are located throughout the city and the Main-Radweg long-distance bicycle trail passes through the old town.
The local public utility is Würzburger Versorgungs- und Verkehrs-GmbH (de) supplying power, natural gas and water as well as public transportation and parking services. It also owns a majority stake in the port and runs local garbage collection/recycling. Heizkraftwerk Würzburg (de) is owned by the utility.
Universitätsklinikum Würzburg (de) provides health care services, with over 5,300 employees and over 1,400 hospital beds. Juliusspital also offers hospital services with 342 beds.