After looking at the sights of Miltenberg in the morning and the water castle Mespelbrunn around noon, we drove from Mespelbrunn in the afternoon about 23 km to Aschaffenburg to see the sights of the city, which you can discover wonderfully on foot and on your own.
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Things to know about Aschaffenburg
The district-free city of Aschaffenburg is located in the administrative district of Lower Franconia in the northwest of Bavaria. Aschaffenburg has about 70,000 inhabitants, is located directly on the Main and on the western edge of the Spessart. The city has a history of more than 1000 years. The extensive destruction caused by the Second World War, especially the old town and the Damm district, could be largely forgotten during the reconstruction phase. Today Aschaffenburg has become the centre of the Lower Main region again as the “gate to the Spessart”.
Johannisburg Castle with Castle Garden & Pompejanum
The Castle Johannisburg, landmark of Aschaffenburg, is picturesquely located directly on the Main And belongs to the most important buildings of the German late Renaissance. The castle, made of red sandstone, was built between 1605 and 1614 and served as the second residence of the Mainz archbishops and electors until 1803. The castle complex consists of four wings with three floors each, at the corners of which there is a tower. Worth seeing are the castle church with Renaissance altar, the Electoral living rooms, the world’s largest collection of cork architectural models, the State Painting Gallery and the Castle Museum.
The castle is bordered by a very beautiful castle garden above the medieval city walls, which invites you to linger and walk. On our tour through the beautifully overgrown and blossoming park we passed a classicist breakfast stamp and a part of the former city moat. A few minutes’ walk away is The Pompeianum, the world’s unique replica of a Roman villa in Pompeii. The building was built at the instigation of King Ludwig I. When designing the atrium and interiors, care was taken to give art lovers an ideal replica for studying ancient culture. The villa was badly damaged during the Second World War, but was restored and decorated with original Roman works of art inside.
The old town of Aschaffenburg
From Johannisburg Castle we walked through cobbled, partly winding alleys,where there are pretty half-timbered houses as well as quaint pubs and restaurants. We particularly liked the Metzgergasse and Kleine Metzgergasse, which give great photo motifs. We went on to the Theaterplatz, in the middle of which is one of the largest sundials in Europe. On the edge of the square is the city theatre, built in 1811 and severely destroyed in the war, which today has a modern glass facade.
Just a few metres from the Theatre Square stands the impressive St. Peter and Alexander Abbey Basilica,built in the 10th century. The core building was built as a Romanesque basilica, further construction phases were built in the early Gothic period. The abbey basilica is richly furnished with outstanding works of art history, some of which are also exhibited in the Abbey Museum, as well as the unique Romanesque cloister. We really liked the ensemble at Stiftsplatz, consisting of a monastery fountain, a monastery basilica and some half-timbered houses. Luckily, there wasn’t quite that much going on here in the afternoon, so we could take some nice photos almost undisturbed.
Our last detour in the city centre was the Schöntal Park, which can be reached within a few minutes on foot. The park was originally built as a zoo and converted into an English landscape garden in 1777. We particularly liked the ruins of the former Beguine monastery, which is located in the middle of a small lake – an insanely beautiful photo motif.
Other sights in Aschaffenburg include the Kunsthalle Jesuit Church, the Kirchnerhaus and the Museum of Jewish History and Culture.
The Park Schönbusch
The last stop of our day trip today was the Park Schönbusch, which is located on the other side of the Main – about 3 km from the old town . At the entrance to the park there are free parking spaces, which are quite crowded on weekends and holidays, but if you have some patience, you will find a place here. The Schönbusch Park, built in 1775, is one of the oldest and largest English-style parks in Germany and is now an important recreational area for locals and tourists. On an area of about 160 hectares it offers many forests and meadow valleys, an idyllic lake, a classicist castle and gastronomic facilities.