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(vürts`bo͝ork), city (1994 pop. 128,875), capital of Lower Franconia, Bavaria, S central Germany, on the Main River. It is an industrial city, the center of a wine-producing region, and a rail and river transportation hub. Manufactures include machinery, electronics, clothing, and food. Brewing and publishing are also important.

Würzburg was originally a Celtic settlement and was made an episcopal see by St. Boniface in 741. After the breakup (10th cent.) of the duchy of FranconiaFranconia
, Ger. Franken, historic region and one of the five basic or stem duchies of medieval Germany, S Germany. The region was included in the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia, becoming in the 9th cent. a duchy and the center of the East Frankish (or East German) kingdom.
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, its bishops ruled a vast territory on both sides of the Main as princes of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1168 the bishops assumed the title of dukes of Eastern Franconia, of which they held a major part. During the Peasants' WarPeasants' War,
1524–26, rising of the German peasants and the poorer classes of the towns, particularly in Franconia, Swabia, and Thuringia. It was the climax of a series of local revolts that dated from the 15th cent.
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 the bishop of Würzburg temporarily lost (1524–25) his territory to the rebels, but he held out at his fortress of Marienberg against Götz von BerlichingenBerlichingen, Götz von
, 1480–1562, German knight and adventurer. The head of a band of free soldiers, he lost (1504) his right hand in the battle of Landshut and wore an iron one in its place. His forays against various cities earned him popular fame.
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. Later, the splendor-loving prince-bishops transformed (17th–18th cent.) the city into one of the finest residences of Europe and founded (1582) the Univ. of Würzburg, where the anthropologist and pathologist Rudolf VirchowVirchow, Rudolf
, 1821–1902, German pathologist, a founder of cellular pathology. He became professor at the Univ. of Würzburg (1849) and professor and director of the Pathological Institute, Berlin (1856).
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 and the physicist Wilhelm RoentgenRoentgen or Röntgen, Wilhelm Conrad
, 1845–1923, German physicist. His notable research in many fields of physics, especially thermology, mechanics, and electricity, has been overshadowed by his discovery
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 taught in the 19th cent.

Secularized after the Treaty of Lunéville (1801), Würzburg passed (1803) to Bavaria; was made (1805) a separate electorate in favor of Ferdinand, the dispossessed grand duke of Tuscany; and reverted (1815) to Bavaria. The city was severely damaged during World War II. Noteworthy landmarks include the baroque former episcopal residence (1720–44; designed by B. Neumann); the Romanesque cathedral (11th–13th cent.), containing works by the sculptor Tilman RiemenschneiderRiemenschneider, Tilman
, c.1460–1531, German Renaissance sculptor, who worked in stone and wood. He was in Würzburg by 1483. In 1520 he was made burgomaster, but he was imprisoned in 1525 because of participation in the peasant insurrection, and little is known about
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; the Marienkapelle (1377–1479), a late Gothic chapel; the Old Main Bridge; and Marienberg fortress (the episcopal residence from the mid-13th to the 18th cent.).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in the Federal Republic of Germany, in the Land (state) of Bavaria; a port on the Main River. Population, 120,500 (1970). Wiirzburg is an important transportation junction. Its chief industries are machine construction (including automobiles) and the manufacture of typo-graphic machines and electronic equipment. There are publishing houses, a university (founded in 1582), a conservatory, and an administrative-economic academy.

Overlooking the Main are the Marienberg citadel (11th-16th centuries) with a round chapel (706), a castle (13th-18th centuries), and the Main-Franconia Museum, which contains the sculpture of T. Riemenschneider and others. There is also the Cathedral of St. Killian (basic construction 1042-1188), a number of medieval and baroque churches, a hospital (1576-85), the university building (1582-92), and the majestic residence of the bishop (1719-53; B. Neuman, architect; murals by G. B. Tiepolo). In the 18th century Wiirzburg was rebuilt under the direction of B. Neuman. In 1945 many of the buildings were destroyed.


Würzburg: Amtlicher Fiihrer. Wiirzburg, 1955.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.