Top Sights to See Include the Stiftsbasilika (Collegiate Church) and Park Schönbusch
Top sights to see in Aschaffenburg in addition to Schloss Johannisberg and the Pompejanum are the Stiftsbasilika and the lovely English landscape style Park Schönbusch.
Aschaffenburg’s most famous sights are the Renaissance Schloss Johannisberg (Palace Johannisberg) and the Pompejanum. However, the old town has some interesting streets and buildings too in addition to pleasant cafés and outdoor restaurants. Although most of old Aschaffenburg was destroyed in 1945, a number of half-timbered houses and classical facades survived. The highest concentration is in Dalbergstraße. It is worth visiting the Stiftsbasilika in the old town while the Schönbusch park is worth the slight detour to the opposite bank of the Main.
Stiftsbasilika (Collegiate Church) St Peter & Alexander in Aschaffenburg
The Exterior of the Stiftsbasilika St Peter und Alexander
From Schloss Johannisberg, cross the huge square and follow Pfaffengasse to the Stiftsbasilika St Peter und Alexander (Collegiate Church), Stiftgasse 5, tel 06021-22-420. A monastery was founded here during the 10th century but the main structure of the basilica is 13th-century Romanesque. However, additions from virtually all building styles since were added to the church.
The Stiftsbasilika St Peter und Alexander follows the traditional east-west layout but the addition of the Maria-Schnee-Kapelle in the early 16th century gave the impression that the church faces north. The illusion was enhanced by the addition of a Baroque double staircase in 1723 and a neo-Gothic gable in 1870.
Grünewald Art inside the Stiftsbasilika St Peter und Alexander in Ascaffenburg
Even more interesting than the impressive exterior is the art inside the basilica. The large cross on the left of the nave dates from 980 and is one of the oldest crucifixes north of the Alps.
Stairs lead up to the organ and the Maria Schnee Kapelle (Maria in the Snow Chapel) with its striking vaulting. A copy of Matthias Grünewald’s Madonna hangs inside the original frame dated 1519. (The original painting was removed during the Peasants’ War half a decade later and still hangs in Stuppach near Bad Mergentheim along the Romantic Route.) The Verspottung Christi (Mocking of Christ) is also copy of the first known work by Grünewald – the original is in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
A door to the left of the nave leads to the 13th-century Romanesque Kreuzgang (cloisters) – one of the loveliest of its kind in Germany. Each of the 64 capitals has its own unique carvings.
Visiting the Stiftsbasilika St Peter und Alexander in Aschaffenburg
The church is open for free daily from 9 am to 5 pm (Sunday from 12:30 pm only). The Maria Schnee Kapelle and the cloisters are only open on weekends from 1 to 5 pm – admission is €1.
Park Schönbusch in Aschaffenburg, Germany
Around 4 km (2.5 miles) from Ascaffenburg’s old town, along Darmstädter Straße on the opposite side of the Main, is the Schloss (Palace) and Park Schönbusch, Kleine Schönbuschallee 1. Designed from 1775 onwards, it was one of the first parks in Germany to be laid out in the newly fashionable English landscape garden style.
As was popular at the time, several small buildings, statues, and landscape features are scattered throughout the park. The most important is the Gartenschloss (Garden Palace) – a small palace that is on a visual axis with Schloss Johannisberg. It is furnished with Louis XVI-style furniture and the ten show rooms offer a fine overview of the lifestyle of late-18th-century German nobility. Bear in mind that the owner was a prince elector and archbishop of Mainz and thus one of the richest and most powerful men in Germany.
The Gartenschloss can only be seen on 20-minute guided tours. It is open Tuesday to Sunday from April to September from 9 am to 6 pm. Admission is €3. Park Schönbusch is open daily free of charge.
Park Schönbusch can be reached from Aschaffenburg old town on bus 3 or 5507.
The top sights in Aschaffenburg are Schloss Johannisberg and the Pompejanum. Schloss Mespelbrunn and Amorbach are popular Spessart sights near Aschaffenburg, while pleasant hotels and restaurants in the region are generally cheaply priced compared to those in larger towns.