Johann Maximilian von Welsch (1671 – 1745)

Architect and fortress builder
Kurmainzischer and Bamberg senior building director

From 1704, Welsch was entrusted with the expansion and completion of the fortress of Mainz under Elector and Archbishop Lothar Franz von Schönborn. He also worked on the fortresses of Rosenberg (Kronach), Forchheim, Kehl and the citadel of Petersberg (Erfurt). He also planned and built a number of castles, aristocratic palaces, government buildings and churches.

Maximilian von Welsch, who travelled extraordinarily far for his time, had a wealth of experience at his disposal, which became fundamental to his later work. Even Welsch's "first life" as a young officer in the service of the Saxe-Gotha Rent Regiment took him on a study trip through Europe in the company of Prince Johann Wilhelm of Saxe-Gotha from 1699-1700. The young gentlemen explored the most modern fortifications of their time and thus the works of the undisputed master, Marshal de Vauban. Shortly before the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession and partly incognito, their journey took them along politically important European borders. A travelogue that has survived is regarded by experts as a "medium sensation for fortress research without exaggeration, which brings historical plans to life".

As far as is known, no portrait of the fortress builder has survived.

To mark the 350th anniversary of Maximilian von Welsch's birth in 2021, there was a special exhibition at the Rosenberg fortress in Kronach. The impressive accompanying volume to the exhibition "Maximilian von Welsch - Engineer and Architect of the Baroque" contains 245 illustrations on 320 pages as well as exciting specialist articles and is available from Michael Imhof Verlag.


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