Jay is a linguist at heart. He loves words, especially those not of his native English. He loves the funny ways he can pronounce them and give them meanings that are most likely only funny to him. Tanya says he’s a geek. She’s right, of course, and is entitled to label him as such, especially since she endured the three years Jay spent in the applied linguistics department at Portland State University getting his masters degree. And so it is that every time Jay hears the name of the city Würzburg, he can’t help but think of a mountain of sausages. Now, to be sure, there is no “Wurst Berg” anywhere to be found in this medieval city of 125,000 located midway between Frankfurt and Nürnberg. Actually, the town’s name was derived from the word, “Würze”, meanings herbs or spices, so etymologically the town is really “Herb Town”. But one can buy sausages here so, to Jay, it will always be “Sausage Mountain”.
Würzburg is really a pretty popular tourist destination, so we can’t put it in the “under the radar” category. It is a beautiful city, especially when one has to remember that over 90% of its buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged on March 16, 1945 during a 17-minute aerial bombardment carried out by 225 British bombers. Over the next 30 years, the town was meticulously restored, including the magnificent Würzburger Residenz, built for two prince-bishops between 1720 and 1744. The palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
There are also some beautiful churches, including the Würzburg Cathedral.
The tragedy of World War II aside, Würzburg has had a colorful history. In the 14th century, its citizens revolted against the prince-bishops several times and battles were fought here during the German Peasants’ Revolt of 1524-1525. Between 1626 and 1631, nearly 800 witches were burned during the Würzburg witch trials. In the early 1800’s, it became part of Bavaria, a couple of different times. Today, one of Würzburg’s big claims to fame is that it is the home of NBA basketball player, Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks.
The old bridge, spanning the Main River, is a smaller version of the Charles Bridge in Prague. It’s a popular place for folks to gather and share a glass of wine and conversation. While we were there, we watched as a river cruise ship carefully negotiated the locks as it sailed upriver.
So, without making a mountain out of a molehill, or a mountain out of sausages, our recommendation is to put Würzburg on your German holiday itinerary. What’s the Wurst that could happen?