Even without its Wagner connections, Bayreuth would still be an interesting detour from Nuremberg or Bamberg for its streets of sandstone baroque architecture and impressive palaces. But it’s for the annual Wagner Festival that 60,000 opera devotees make a pilgrimage to this neck of the Wald.
Bayreuth’s glory days began in 1735 when Wilhelmine, sister of King Frederick the Great of Prussia, was forced to marry stuffy Margrave Friedrich. Bored with the local scene, the cultured Anglo-oriented Wilhelmine invited the finest artists, poets, composers and architects in Europe to court. The period bequeathed some eye-catching buildings, still on display for all to see.