Our last day in Munich was a scorcher. Thankfully, half of it was spent indoors at the stunningly reconstructed Residenz – the Munich Residence. It was the political and cultural centre of first the dukes, then the electors (from 1623) and finally the kings of Bavaria (1806 – 1918). As the residence and seat of government of the Wittelsbachs.
This is the Grotto Courtyard with a statue of Perseus in the middle holding Medusa’s head with his foot on her body.
The grotto itself seems like artefact from the ocean floor and has a statue Mercury at the top. The grotto is made up of thousands of crystals, tuff and coloured shells. The shells were collected by beachgoers in the 1950s and given to the museum.
This room is the Antiquarium – built in 1568-1571 for the antique collection of Albert V and is the largest Renaissance hall north of the Alps. The collection of busts and paintings were very impressive.
However, this room looked very different in 1944. In the night of 24/25 April 1944, virtually the entire Residenz was destroyed, along with a large part of Munich city centre. Of 23,000 square metres of roofing only 50 remained intact. Nearly all the upper-storey rooms were gutted, while the bombs caused the ceilings of many ground-floor rooms, including the Antiquarium, to collapse. Further destruction and damage occurred before the end of the war in May 1945. (More information about the Destruction)
Photo from http://www.residenz-muenchen.de website.
Many of the rooms that we saw in the palace were reconstructions, particularly the apartments, which weren’t rebuilt til the 80’s. This room below is the Elector’s audience chamber, of which only the red canopy above the chair is original.
Below is a state bedroom, though it was only for show and not actually used. The hangings on the wall are grey because its actually oxidised silver thread. Apparently, they were meant to use gold, but figured they’d make a saving by using silver instead. These hangings are survivors of the bombings.
One of the most impressive rooms in the palace was the Ancestral Gallery. This one contains the portraits of over 100 Wittelsbach family members. However, the portraits were commissioned in 1726 and some of the dates, and even names, are wrong. All the portraits were saved during the bombings as the panels were removed and stored off site safely. The whole ceiling had collapsed, so just as well.
Quite a few wings of the museum were closed when we visited, so we felt like we missed on a lot. The numerous (numerous numerous) apartments were mostly reconstructions where 1 item in 10 rooms was original to the palace. It was a little disappointing, but maybe we were missing the point of the museum.
Still, onto another palace in Munich – Schloss Nymphenburg. This one’s a stunner. The palace, together with its park, is now one of the most famous sights of Munich.
The central part of the palace was commissioned in 1664 by the prince-electoral couple Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy. It was then extended by Max Emanuel, the heir to Bavaria, a souvereign electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, starting in 1701.
The 200-hectare (490-acre) park itself, which of course used to be the palace gardens, are extensive. The park was done in the English manner during the early 19th century, though previously it had been in Italian and French styles as well.
Spectacular. But the heat of the day had hit 35, so we decided to not go into the palace – another time perhaps. We went back to James’ for a cold one instead.
We did go out for dinner on our last night in Munich – James and Mieke took as to one of the Paulaner beer gardens which served traditional and seasonal German food. Weiner Schnitzel, Straubi Schnitzel, Lende Pfifferling and Schmankerlteller were the mains we ordered, though I can’t quite remember which ones which. It was all delicious though. As some of you may know, schnitzel is one of my favourite foods. YUM YUM!
We had an amazing 5 days in Munich – great company, great city, great weather. Thanks again to James and Mieke for putting us up! We couldn’t have asked for better hosts.
Off to Rome for us this weekend for a week – more adventures to be had!