Prince-Bishop Julius Echters buildings in the diocese of Würzburg

The Würzburg Prince-Bishop Julius Echter (1545-1617, reigned 1573-1617) was already praised by his contemporaries for his extensive building activity. During his reign, more buildings were erected in the diocese of Würzburg than in any other territory in the Empire. He left his mark on his bishopric with the new buildings and renovations of the Juliusspital, the university and Marienberg Fortress. Coats of arms and inscriptions on the buildings in the prince-bishopric testify to his commitment. The church buildings in particular with their characteristic pointed towers have shaped the landscape of Main-Franconia to the present day.

For the first time the compilation of the numerous buildings was made accessible to the public at the exhibition on Prince-Bishop Echter in 2017. The data basis came from the historian Rainer Leng and had been prepared for the exhibition by the exhibition team in the Archive and library of the diocese of Würzburg. For the online presentation in bavarikon this data basis was checked once again and supplemented according to the current state of research.

The buildings can be divided into four categories. Churches and chapels are represented with 250 sites, including six places of pilgrimage and seven branches of religious orders. Other buildings such as parsonages, official buildings, schools, hospitals and city fortifications account for 115 exhibits.

With the exception of a few Echter buildings that have disappeared today, all properties have been photographed, georeferenced and provided with short descriptions. This results in a comprehensive picture of the prince-bishop's building work. The buildings penetrate the entire area of the prince-bishopric and can therefore also be found in neighbouring areas of Thuringia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg in accordance with the historical territorial borders. In concentrating the reforms on the prince-bishopric area within the diocese, Echter created a union of subjects for whom his coats of arms and inscriptions on churches, official houses and hospitals represented the omnipresence of princely rule. To this day, this documents the consistent expansion of early modern statehood. The stone witnesses of his princely episcopal rule presented here created a space in the long run that was also perceived by later generations as a typical Main-Franconian Catholic landscape.

>> This collection is part of the holdings of the Archive and library of the diocese of Würzburg.