The Margraviate of Brandenburg-Bayreuth was an immediate territory of the Holy Roman Empire, which was ruled by a Franconian branch of the Hohenzollern dynasty. Bayreuth became the residence of the Margrave in 1603 and in the 18th century Bayreuth had its heyday under the rule of Margrave Frederick and his wife Wilhelmine of Prussia. In 1791 the Margraviate was ceded to Prussia, who lost it again in 1807. Since 1810 is Bayreuth a part of Bavaria.
Wilhelmine of Prussia was born in 1709. She was the eldest daughter of Frederick William I of Prussia and older sister of Frederick the Great. In 1731 she married Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. She was a gifted composer and ordered the construction of various Baroque buildings in Bayreuth, which now shape the city's appearance. She died in 1753.
The Eremitage is a historic park built between 1715 and 1722. Actually built by Margrave George William, his son Frederick gave the Eremitage to his wife Wilhelmine of Prussia after his father died. She ordered the construction of many additions.
One of the additions built at the behest of Wilhelmine is the Temple of the Sun. It was built between 1749 and 1753 and is crowned by a golden quadriga driven by the sun-god Apollo.
The Margravial Opera House is since 2012 on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Jean Paul was a German Romantic writer. He was born in Wunsiedel in 1763. In 1804 he moved to Bayreuth, where he died in 1825.
Richard Wagner was born in 1813. He was one of the most famous German composers and made the opera into a Gesamtkunstwerk by writing text, music and stage directions. He died in 1873.
The operas played during the festival include The Flying Dutchman, Tristan and Isolde, Siegfried (a part of the tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung) and Parsifal.