On first glance, the Ancestral Gallery seems little more than an attempt to glorify the past rulers and consorts of the Wittenbach dynasty. But Karl Albrecht, HRE elector, had much more in mind. By detailing the importance and far flung alliances created by marriage, it also sent an important political message. In 1742, he was crowned as Holy Roman Emperor Karl VII.
The gallery was built in the 1730's with paintings of over 100 Wittenbach rulers set into a carved gold gilt background designed by Miroffsky. This long room, lined with windows on one side, is absolutely stunning, and a fit end to the planned circuit through the Residenz.
A pre-existing hall was altered in 1623 by Maximilian I with the installation of very impressive imitation marble door portals, explaining the name. It is, however, most famous for the ceiling paintings from 1602 by Werl. The flat roof was painted to give the illusion of a much higher ceiling, an illusion that works only if one stands directly in the center, but is perfect from that position. I know - I did it. Just get right under the big chandelier. Move even a few feet and the whole effect is lost.
Werl's work is considered the first Baroque work of its kind in Germany, drawing on an Italian practise of covering an entire ceiling with an illusion. Following the destruction of WWII, the original oil paintings on canvas were replaced by frescoes (painted on plaster ).
The Black Hall gets little publicity, but I was taken with this strange room where nothing seems to fit. The boldly checked floor, the false doors and falser out of place portals - somehow it all works. Don't rush through it too quickly.
The huge Residenz palace was the home and office for the ruling Wittenbach dukes, electors, and kings from 1385 until abdication in 1918. Comprising over 100 rooms, several courtyards, and a theater, its varied architectures and styles reflect the taste and the fashions spanning this period. Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical styles predominate but since every ruler felt obligated to add at least a little piece here and there, the overall result is intermixed and just a little confusing to those not well versed in architecture. The palace reflects both the cultural ambitions of the ruling family and their well-planned demonstration of power and wealth.
The first occupant was Duke Stephan III (1375-92). Maximilian I (1597-1651), created the first major wing, the Alte Residenz, which lines Residenzstrasse. The most interesting facade is on the second great wing, the Konigsbau, commissioned by Ludwig I, and modelled after Florence's Pitti Palace. The third or Festsaalbau wing faces north to the Hofgarten and is closed to visitors. The Fountain Court was added in 1610 and William V added the famed Grotto Courtyard in the late 16th Century. The palace suffered significant damage during WWII, but many of the precious antiquities had been removed to safety and survivied. Restoration began immediately after the war and continued into the 1980's. Added together, the Residenz is one of Germany's largest palaces and features multiple thematic museums, great halls and small precious rooms, and beautiful courtyards. The current museum is largely in the Konigsbau wing commissioned by Ludwig II.
The Residenz requires a considerable investment of time and appreciation. Therefore, few tour groups stop here and one can enjoy the many exhibits in peace and quiet, often alone in whole suites of rooms. Plan on spending several hours at a minimum to enjoy this world class palace.
One of the Residenz highlights, the Antiquarium is the oldest surviving room in the Residenz. It was commissioned by Duke Albrecht V for his extensive collection of antique sculptures and built between 1568 and 1661. The architect was Italian and the resulting Renaissance hall at 200 feet is the largest of its kind in northern Europe. It suffered significant damage in WWII with a direct bomb hit on the roof but has been completely restored.
The walls are lined with busts and other statues in the classic ancient Greek style. Some are indeed originals both from Albrecht V and others added later. Some are copies. The extremely status-conscious Wittenbachs likened themselves to the ancient Greeks and some of the statues may be of family members insinuated amongst the others.
Perhaps even more famous are the wall and ceiling paintings between the 17 paired windows and on the high arched ceiling. In the late 16th Century dukes Wilhelm V and Maximilian I reconstructed the room as a banquet hall, installing a fireplace and a raised podium at one end. The roof paintings are seated female figures depicting Fame and Virtue. Even more interesting are the vault and wall pictures of towns and palaces in 16th Century Bavaria.
The Residenz building is a short walk from the Marienplatz. Built starting from 1385, it was eventually home to the Wittelsbachs - the Bavarian royal dynasty - until their abdication in 1918. The word extravagant is totally inadequate to describe this incredible set of buildings and their decorations which are are a mixture of renaissance, baroque, roccoco and neo-classical.
You can just take a walk through some of the courtyards within the massive Residenz complex but I strongly recommend a tour of the gilded rooms and the treasury (which houses the 'crown jewels' of the Wittelsbach family).
Three particular highlights are the throne rooms, the Ancestral Galllery and the 66 metre long Antiquarium.
The heavily secured treasury contains several of the priceless artefacts amassed by the Wittelsbach family over the years.
The Munich Residenz served as the seat of government and residence of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings from 1508 to 1918.
The Residenz is located in the centre of the city and can easily be reached by public transport.
April - 15 October: daily 9am - 6pm
Combination ticket "Residenz Museum/ Treasury"
9,- euros regular
8,- euros reduced
This wasn't part of our orignal plan, but we had a rainy day and needed indoor activities. Glad we did it. The Residenz was the Wittlesbach's family palace. They ruled Bavaria for over 700 years. Mad King Ludwig's funeral was held in the ground floor chapel.
We took the self-guided afternoon tour. It's so big, different rooms are open in the morning and afternoon. Luckily my guide book had a lot of information about the rooms. The areas I liked most were the private chapel of Maximillian I, the Antiquitarium and the Shell Grotto.
Oh, and the Halls of Nibelungen, whose mytholigical scenes were the basis for Wagner's "Der Rings des Nibelungen" are open to all, free of charge.
this palace was home to bavarian rulers from 1385 to 1918. this impressive building that stands today was built by the wittelsbachs between 1570 and 1620. the residenz was badly damaged by allied bombs in WWII but was carefully reconstructed between 1950 and 1960. the residenz houses two interesting museums, the residenz museum and the egyptian art museum. the residenz is located on max joseph platz.
A fine diversion on a rainy day is the Residenz Museum. The Residenz was home of the Bavarian Dukes and Kings starting in 1508, continuing until King Ludwig III was overthrown at the close of the First World War. You can admire the splendor of fine art, gold-encrusted furniture, and lavish throne rooms. It seems that each successive Duke added on extra throne rooms, bedrooms, etc, so the tour can get a bit repetitive after a while. Note also that this building was severely bombed during the Second World War; much of what you see has been restored.
The Museum is open daily, 9AM-6PM 1 April - 15 October, 10AM-4PM 16 October - 31 March.
Admission to the Residenz or the Treasury is EUR 6. Admission to both is EUR 9. Entrance to the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche and the Court Garden is free. Certain people and students can get "Reduced" admission (EUR 5 / 8) or free admission. Check the website for details.
Wow.... elaborate residence of the Bavarian Kings from 1806 - 1918.
5 Euros adult entrance. Need a good half day here at least.
I originally just came in for a warm, but found it is definitely worth a look.
Fascinating written information on each of the rooms.
If the many palaces and castles of the Wittelsbach family were not enough, they had this: their ancestral home. The Residenz was the official home of the Dukes and Duchesses of Bavaria for centuries, from its creation in 1385 to their abdication and Bavaria's induction into the Weimar Republic in 1918. Now it is home to a museum that shows off their vast treasures, both in art and architecture. The building itself is a vast exhibition of contrasting styles, but with a Renaissance flavour very much in evidence, especially on the north side facing the Hofgarten.
The building and museum can be accessed via two tours, one starting in the morning and one starting in the afternoon. I think you can also go on your own, but I am not 100% certain about this as I couldn't confirm it. Even if you can go on your own, I'm not sure if everything in the Residenz would be free to wander in. You can enter the palace from Max-Joseph-Platz, on the south side, or you can wander freely through the courtyards, gardens and squares that surround it.
This place is so large, they can only staff half of it at one time. So, certain rooms are open for tours in the morning, and then a somewhat different set of rooms in the afternoon. We enjoyed the morning tour so much, we decided to stick around for the afternoon tour as well. Gardens, chapels, state rooms, bedrooms - they are all here, and restored after the complete destruction dealt by American and British bombs during World War II.
Pictures and video are aloud, as long as you don't use flash. Located in an adjacent wing are the Bavarian crown treasures (aka crown jewels). It's a spectacular collection that my partner found especially enthralling. We spent five hours going through all the public rooms in the palace, as well as the royal theatre and the treasure exhibits.
Finally, a few small areas include exhibitions of palace photos during the restoration, including photos taken shortly after the war - showing the utter and complete destruction.
This old Bavarian palace is just beautiful. The original structure dates from the 14th century. Although it was greatly demanged during WWII, they have done a great job repairing it and returning it to it's former splendor. It's huge and there is more than one tour you can take. We went through the living quaters, but they also have a treasury of crowns and jewels on display which we opted not to take that tour as well. Make sure not to miss the antiquarium, it's awesome.
open daily: April-October 15th 9am - 6pm, October 16th-March 9am - 4pm
Free Audio-Guide available in German, English, Italian, French and Spanish
6,- euros regular
Combination ticket "Residence Museum and Treasury "
9,- euros regular
The Residenz has a history almost as long as that of the Wittelsbach family, and was the official residence of the rulers of Bavaria from 1385 to 1918.
I have to say though, that it's not terribly impressive, compared to all the lavish palaces in Europe. The great dining hall is pretty neat, as is the collection of china.
Keep in mind, people take their palace seriously and will take offense if you don't stay long enough--I only had one hour to get through the whole place, and the ticket-lady in the front scolded me as I was leaving.
One of my two biggest disappointments in Munich was not being able to visit the Residenz. (The other was missing out on the Alte Pinokotech.) I had seen photos of the interior, and I also liked the story that went with the place. Ah well, there was a big affair getting set up and no one was allowed in for security reasons.
Anyway, please go visit it for me! Wander about in the grand opulence of the place and look at a few especially lovely things twice as long as you would have, just so I can live it vicariously.