Bamberg - New Residence

The seat of the Bamberg chapter, built by Prince-Bishop Lothar Franz von Schönborn in 1696-1703 according to plans by Leonhard Dientzenhofer

In 1693 Lothar Franz von Schönborn was elected Prince-Bishop of Bamberg and in 1695 Archbishop of Mainz, and thus Arch-Chancellor and first Prince of the Empire. He appointed Leonhard Dientzenhofer as court architect in Bamberg and one of his first tasks was to build the Baroque wings of the New Residence as the seat of the Bamberg Chapter. The Baroque wings were built in 1696-1703. Leonhard Dientzenhofer applied here a new style of strict forms of closed window gables and pure pilaster order. The residence originally housed the administrative offices of the bishop's office.ich is a must in Bamberg.

Detailed information


The new residence as the seat of the Bamberg Chapter was built in two construction phases with two Renaissance and two Baroque wings.

The two Renaissance three-storey wings were built under Prince-Bishop Johann Philipp von Gebsattel in 1604 according to plans by the Nuremberg city architect Jakob Wolff the Elder between 1601 and 1613 on the north-western part of the entire site.

In 1693 Lothar Franz von Schönborn was elected Prince-Bishop of Bamberg and in 1695 Archbishop of Mainz, and thus Arch-Chancellor and first Prince in the Empire. Lothar von Schönborn was one of the most gifted and impulsive princes ever to occupy the episcopal see of Bamberg. It is a glorious period in the history of German art, which can rightly be called the "Age of the Schönborn".

At that time the famous family of the Counts of Schönborn was striving to reach the height of its political importance. In the first decades of the 18th century. In the early 18th century, all the important ecclesiastical estates in Franconia and Swabia were united in the hands of this family for a long time - the Bishopric of Bamberg (1693-1746), the Electorate of Mainz (1695-1729), the Bishopric of Würzburg (1719-25, 1729-46), Speier (1719-43) and Constance (1740-43), the Electorate of Trier (1729-56), and finally the Bishopric of Worms and the Prince-Provostate of Ellwangen (1732-56), and at the same time marked the sphere of power of the family, which achieved the highest fame.

Wherever the Schönborn family ruled, an era of artistic flourishing soon began. The old simple episcopal residences were abandoned, and the increased need for representation, the pleasure of greater comfort and the love of art gave rise to new grand palatial buildings which eloquently testify to the enhanced self-confidence of their inhabitants.

However, on his election as Prince-Bishop of Bamberg in 1693, Lothar Franz von Schönborn was forced by the cathedral chapter to pledge not to 'build new places or have old ones expensively repaired'. For his "building worm", as he called his building passion, this was a very burdensome bond. Even given the poor state of the bishop's residence in Bamberg at the time. The general papal ban on such contracts only finally freed him in 1697.

By this time Leonhard Dientzenhofer, appointed as Prince-Bishop to Margrave Sebastian von Stauffenberg by royal decree on 12 April 1690 as "Chief Prince of Bamberg's Court Builder", was already a respected builder in Bamberg. With the accession of Lothar Franz von Schönborn, however, Leonhard Dietzenhofer's position rose significantly.

With the situation easing with the ban on building construction, Lothar Franz von Schönborn began to tackle the construction of the New Residence in 1695. The complex of new buildings for the administrative office of the bishopric on the cathedral square was to be built on top of the already built Renaissance west wings.

On 14 April 1695, the first commission of the chapter to expand the existing premises of the bishop's residence and construct new buildings met. And on 7 July 1695 the first detailed contract was concluded. In 1696, the construction work of the New Residence began.

The main contract with Leonhard Dietzenhofer was concluded on 8 August 1697, and others on 20 March and 7 October 1698. Construction work under these contracts was carried out until 1700 and finally completed around mid-1703. The settlement of the entire construction was not concluded until 9 November 1707, not long before the death of Leonhard Dientzehofer (26 November 1707).

The Baroque wings of the New Residence facing the cathedral square were built by Leonhard Dientzenhofer between 1696 and 1703 and their form has been preserved to the present day.

The expansion of the New Residence was originally intended to include the connection or removal of the Old Court (Alte Hofhaltung), the first residence of the bishops, built gradually from 1475 on the site of the palace of Emperor Henry II. However, these considerations and plans were brought to a halt by the poor financial situation related to the War of the "Spanish Succession". The only surviving evidence of the connection project is probably the stones that stand out on the corner of the New Residence at Obere Karolinenstrasse.

The wings of the New Residence enclose the Rose Garden. The original Renaissance garden was converted into a Baroque garden in 1733 to a design by Balthasar Neumann.

After secularisation in Bavaria, the building served as a royal residence from 1803. Wilhelm (first Duke of Bavaria from 1799), Maximilian II (King of Bavaria from 1848 to 1864) and Otto von Wittelsbach (first King of Greece from 1832 to 1862) had their residences here. Otto and his wife Amalia returned to Bavaria in exile, where they lived from June 1863 until his death in the former princely episcopal seat of Bamberg.


The wing of the New Residence facing the city and topped with the soaring tower of the "Pavilion of the Fourteen Saints" is an example of the architectural ideals of Lothar Franz von Schönborn. At that time, the entire cathedral square, which until then had been turned inwards like a medieval castle, was opened up to the city. The old gate fell, the level of the front of the square was lowered and an access road was created leading out of the city. From the surrounding landscape, the wing of the residence overlooking the city can be seen from a great distance.

For the Baroque wings of the New Residence, Leonhard Dientzenhofer applied a new style of strict forms of closed window gables and pure pilaster order.

The main portal in the south wing is highlighted by a gable decorated with figures above the pediment. A door on the left leads to the residence's beautifully stuccoed staircase.

The focal point of the interior is the Kaisersaal on the 2nd floor. It is a large but not very high hall. Its ceilings and walls were decorated in 1707-1709 by the court painter Melchior Steidl with frescoes in the style of Pietro da Cortona, the motifs being medallions of Roman emperors and the ancient four empires. There are a total of 16 portraits of emperors on the walls. Except for one statue, the emperors are from the Habsburg family.

The Prince-Bishop kept his own library in the Hall of the Fourteen Holy Helpers on the third floor, and which he eventually used for private purposes.
In the New Residence there are more than 40 representative rooms, such as the Marble Hall, the Hall of Mirrors (each with a stucco by Antonio Bossi), the White Hall, the Chinese Cabinet and the Imperial Hall.

Today, the interior design of the three lavish apartments, with numerous fine pieces of furniture and artwork, documents the building's use as the seat of power for the prince-bishops.

The wings of the New Residence enclose the Rose Garden. Before the establishment of the Rose Garden at the New Residence, there was a Renaissance garden on the site in the 16th century, which was converted into a Baroque garden in 1733 under Prince-Bishop Friedrich Carl von Schönborn. The design of the Baroque garden was entrusted to the builder Balthasar Neumann. The garden pavilion was designed in Rococo style by the architect Johann Jakob Michael Küchel. The sculptures on the theme of ancient mythology (1760-1761) were made by Ferdinand Tietz.


The ceilings and walls of the Imperial Hall were decorated in 1707-1709 by the court painter Melchior Steidl with frescoes in the style of Pietro da Cortona.

Interior decoration

The representative rooms and rooms were richly furnished with furniture, paintings, porcelain and tapestries.


Since 1965, the east wing of the New Residence has housed the Bamberg State Library with its collection of ancient works, including 4,500 manuscripts dating back to the 5th century, 3,400 incunabula and 70,000 prints.

The State Gallery in the New Residence is a branch gallery of the Bavarian State Painting Collections.Since 1933, numerous important paintings from the city's collection (now the Bamberg City Museums) were transferred to the State Gallery in the New Residence Bamberg when it was decided to abolish the city's art collection and picture gallery on the Michelsberg. Masterpieces of old German painting and European Baroque painting are on display here. Among the most famous paintings in the collection are Hans Baldung Grien's Die Sintflut and several works by Lucas Cranach the Elder. It also contains several examples of little-known 15th-century Bamberg panel painting. The Baroque Gallery in the former court rooms in the same building brings together works of top quality by German, Dutch and Flemish masters of the 17th and 18th centuries, including works by Jan Lievens, the Bamberg painters Marquard, Nikolaus and Johann Christoph Treu and paintings by Johann Kupetzky .

The Rose Garden is open to the public and hosts numerous concerts.

Map of the place and surroundings Open on

GPS: 49.8918464N, 10.8824150E
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