Bayreuth - Germany

The world famous village of Bayreuth, home of the Wagner Festival is in north eastern Bavaria. First mentioned in 1194, the city centre still possesses the typical structure of a Bavarian street market: - the settlement is grouped around a road widening into a square and the Town Hall was located in the middle. The city suffered several plagues and much damage from fires and wars. Various margraves built famous baroque buildings in the town. During the reign of margravine Wilhelmine, the favourite sister of Frederic the Great, several parks and castles were built, together with the Opera of the Margraves, the most beautiful extant baroque theatre in Europe. The city is best known for its association with the composer Richard Wagner, who lived in Bayreuth from 1872 until his death in 1883. Wagner's villa, "Wahnfried", was constructed in Bayreuth under the sponsorship of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, and has been converted into a Wagner Museum. To the north of Bayreuth is the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, an opera house specially constructed for the performance of Wagner's operas. Every summer, Wagner's operas are performed at the Festspielhaus during the month-long Richard Wagner Festival drawing thousands of attendees each year, and has consistently been sold-out since its inauguration in 1876. The main site of the town include the New Castle, seat of the margraves from 1753, Bayreuth Festspielhaus, Richard Wagner Museum (Villa Wahnfried), Jean-Paul Museum, the Margrave's Opera House, the German Masonic Museum and the Goldener Anker Hotel. The town also boasts some beautiful baroque parks including Eremitage and Old Castle, former seat of the margraves, outside the inner town and the castle and park of Fantaisie, in Sanspareil, about 30 km west of Bayreuth.