If you are on a cruise, do not miss a chance to take a private Jewish tour and explore the beautiful Würzburg! Located on the river Main, in the heart of one of the country’s most important wine regions, Würzburg is the first city on Germany’s romantic road, a popular tourist route. On our Würzburg shore excursion, we will guide you through a city known for its fine art and architecture, but also for its hip and lively student scene.
Where should our visit start if not at the Würzburg Residenz, Germany’s finest baroque building and one of the most outstanding royal palaces in all of Europe, inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1981, together with its Court Gardens and Residence Square. Built by 18th-century architect Balthasar Neumann as the home of the local prince-bishops, the building contains 360 rooms, which today host government institutions, university faculties and a museum, but the grandest 40 rooms are open to the public.
Highlights are the Treppenhaus (staircase) and the Kaisersaal, both decorated with magnificent frescoes by master artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.
Concerts, festivals and special events take place in the Hofgarten (Court Garden; open until dusk and free for visitors) during the spring and the summer; while the Staatlicher Hofkeller Würzburg, a world-famous wine cellar, is a must for wine-lovers.
From the Residenz, we will stroll through the streets in the Altstadt and discover other gems such as the Marienkapelle on the busy Market Square and the Romanesque Dom St Kilian. On our Würzburg shore excursion, we will guide you to the heart of Jewish life in the Middle Ages: the Jewish quarter near the city market.
The first Jews settled down in Würzburg at the end of the 11th century, when fleeing from the Rhine communities, which had been heavily damaged and plundered by crusaders’ raids in 1096. During the 12th century, the Jewish community in Würzburg thrived, in spite of persecutions during the Second and Third crusades. The city hosted important Yeshivot and Batei Midrash that attracted scholars from all over Europe. A massive pogrom in 1298, in which 900 Jews were murdered, represented the end of the Würzburg’s status as a spiritual center for the European Jewry.
A relative prosperity in the 19th century, after Würzburg was annexed to Bavaria, saw its end in WWII: between 1941 and 1943 almost all Jews were deported to concentration camps; only 24 people survived.
Before the Shoah, there were seven synagogues in Würzburg, all of which were destroyed during the November pogrom of 1938. In the community center and museum you can find remnants of the destroyed synagogues, such as a chuppa-stone. A visit to the new synagogue, built in 1970, will be included in our Jewish Würzburg tour.
Don’t forget to make your way uphill to the hulking Festung Marienberg, from which you can enjoy panoramic city and vineyard views.
On your way back, we recommend a stop at the far end of the Alte Mainbrücke, at the best spot for local wine tasting: the little kiosk window which belongs to the restaurant Alte Mainmühle. Enjoy a good glass of Franconian wine while standing on the bridge taking in views of the city and the fortress above, just like locals do.
Discover charming Würzburg, where the Romantic Road starts, on our Würzburg shore excursion!