Ansbach, government capital of Middle Franconia
Ansbach, the former residence of the Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach, can look back on over 1250 years of eventful history.
The city, which today has around 41,000 inhabitants, is located on the historic Castle Road and borders the wooded Frankenhöhe Nature Park. With its wealth of historical sights and treasures, Ansbach occupies a special position among the cities of Franconia. Impressive monuments such as the court chancellery, the churches of St. Johannis and St. Gumbertus, the residence with its 27 state rooms and the magnificent orangery in the courtyard garden bear witness to the glamorous past of the former royal seat.
In the baroque and medieval old town as well as on the stately promenade and the impressive Karlsplatz, the princely splendor of bygone days can be felt. In the old town, you can feel both the Middle Ages and the Baroque. Admittedly not in picturesque half-timbered romanticism – however the buildings were given a Baroque style with the support of the prince – appropriately for the royal seat. But they still exist, the winding little streets and the hidden courtyards. The inner courtyards in particular enchant with their special flair and allow a detour into the past. It is just a matter of discovering them.
The stately breath, on the other hand, can be felt again at Martin-Luther-Platz and of course in the Hofkirche St. Gumbertus. The church shines in the simple splendor of the expression of the rococo, which developed a special language in Ansbach. Here, too, the insignia of the prince’s power must not be missing. The monogram cartouches on the prince’s estate still show who attended the services there. And even on the prospectus of the organ that dominates the church, the initials CWF of Margrave Carl Wilhelm Friedrich are clearly visible in an intricate ornament.
The Wiegleb organ, a reconstructed instrument, is indispensable at the Bach Week in Ansbach and is considered to be the largest baroque organ in Franconia.
There are also treasures to be discovered in the attached Swan Knights Chapel and the George Chapel is reminiscent of a Gothic cloister. Under the church there is the princely crypt with 25 sarcophagi, which contain the remains of members of the Hohenzollern family, and next to it, the Romanesque simplicity of the 11th century crypt, which was only rediscovered in the 20th century.
Between St. Gumbertus and St. Johannis there are buildings that are important for the government of town and country: the town house, almost 500 years old, today the seat of the mayor, and opposite, the town hall, which formerly served as a meeting place for the town councils and is currently one modern usage is waiting.
In order to guarantee a functioning administration in the court chancellery, which is attached to the Gumbertus Church, the margrave did his / her job with numerous clerks, afterwards Anselm von Feuerbach was president of the court of appeal, who took the mysterious foundling Kaspar Hauser under his wing, today justice is pronounced by the administrative court .
The church of St. Johannis is the “older sister” of St. Gumbertus and served as a parish church for the citizens of the city as a place of worship. Due to the reformation and renovations, the interior is rather plain. A row of glass windows in the choir illustrate the history of the Reformation, which found an enthusiastic follower in Prince Georg the Pious in Ansbach.
Walk in the footsteps of the margraves and discover the original splendor of bygone times through the 27 state rooms. The main attractions of the residence include the two-storey ballroom, which is decorated with a ceiling fresco by Carlo Carlone, the mirror cabinet with a collection of Meissen porcelain and the tiled hall with around 2,800 tiles from the former Ansbach faience factory.
The orangery and courtyard garden near the residence is built in the French-Baroque style. The center of the garden is the castle-like orangery, the premises of which are now used as a restaurant as well as for concerts and conferences. The Leonhart Fuchs Garden is dedicated to the former personal physician of the margrave and “father of botany” Leonhart Fuchs. Plants from Fuchs’ “New Kreuterbuch” were used as templates for the design.
The orangery was built at the beginning of the 18th century based on French models by Carl Friedrich von Zocha, who modeled the north side of the colonnades of the Louvre and the south side of the Grand Trianon in Versailles. At the same time, the courtyard garden, which had existed since 1535, was redesigned in the baroque style. After the bombing in the course of World War II, the facility was able to be rebuilt in its former glory based on old plans. Since then, the tradition of planting based on the 17th and 18th centuries and the culture of southern potted plants has been continued. Lemon, bitter orange, olive, pistachio, laurel and strawberry trees can be admired in the summer months.
Unlike the collegiate and later court church of Sankt Gumbertus, the bourgeois parish church of Sankt Johannis was built comparatively uniformly in the 15th century as a three-aisled pseudo-basilica. Construction began around 1420, and in 1458 there is talk of the inauguration of the church, although construction on the towers, especially the higher one, the north tower, continued until 1508.
The Evangelical Lutheran parish church with its three-tower facade shapes the image of the city. In 748 there was already a monastery church in the same place. The first stone church was built around 1040, of which the Romanesque crypt under the Gumbertus Church still exists.
Today, modern educational institutions such as Ansbach University, medium-sized industrial companies from the fields of plastics processing, food and electrical engineering, the various administrative facilities and an attractive inner-city retail center characterize the former garrison town.