The Residenz Bavaria

During the Second World War, much of the Residenz in Bavaria was destroyed. However, beginning in 1945, the German Government gradually reconstructed and restored the Residenz. As a result, it is now one of the largest museum complexes in Bavaria, with over 130 rooms. However, only around 90 are open to the public, with the rest undergoing restoration.

The Munich Residence served as the seat of government and residence of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings from 1508 to 1918. The residenz began in 1385 as a castle in the north-eastern corner of the city. The rulers transformed it into a magnificent palace over the following centuries. As the years passed its buildings and gardens extended further and further into the town.

Bavarian Palace Department
The Residenz Bavaria
The layout of the Residenz
The Shell Foyer

We entered through the museum-treasury entrance and walked through the Grotto courtyard before coming to a sea shell-filled foyer. To clarify, I have never been a fan of shells in architecture. But, without a doubt, the entry strongly reinforced this view.

statues abound at The Residenz Bavaria
Satyrs in the Grotto courtyard

Wandering through the Residenz Bavaria following the one-way arrows took us a good couple of hours. The palace is immense. We would have been lost if not for the signs pointing the way. After the rather bizarre shell grotto, the first room you come to is the Antiquarium.

The Antiquarium

The Antiquarium is truly impressive. It is 66 metres long and is beyond amazing. The Antiquarium is also the oldest room in the Residenz and was constructed in 1568 to house the current ruler’s statues. Duke Wilhelm V transformed it for a hall in 1581 to hold “festivities and banquets”.

the antiquarium The Residenz Bavaria
The Antiquarium
The Residenz Bavaria
Ceiling detail Antiquarium
Chandeliers and ornate ceilings
The Audience Room

The Elector received his guests and foreign envoys standing beneath a velvet canopy. The audience rooms were designed in the 1730s, in the rococo style.

the audience room The Residenz Bavaria
The Audience Room
Green Gallery

I loved the Green Gallery. It was the setting for festivities for selected court members. Adorning the walls are over 70 paintings alternating with tall mirrors. Enormous crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling casting gorgeous light.

the green gallery The Residenz Bavaria
The Green Gallery
State Bedroom

This room was never slept in and was purely for display. The state bedrooms use was symbolic. They were expressly designed to impress guests who walked through it en route to an audience with the Elector. The room followed the lead of the French royal court, where monarchs rising in the morning and retiring for the night took place in the presence of the courtiers. The bedroom’s furnishings were particularly lavish as a mark of its importance. They feature expensive lacquered furniture ordered from Paris cabinetmakers.

state bedroom The Residenz Bavaria
The State Bedroom
Ancestral Gallery

In 1726 Karl Albrecht became Elector and immediately commissioned an ancestral gallery. The stucco and guilt covered walls had over 100 portraits of the Wittelsbach set into the panelling. With the gallery drawing attention to his rank and dynasty, he claimed the imperial throne. He successfully advanced in 1742.

ancestral gallery The Residenz Bavaria
Ancestral Gallery

Constructed in 1612 under the rule of Maximilian I, the Treves rooms was for the use of the visiting emperor and his family.

treves rooms
Treves Rooms

My favourite room would have had to be the Antiquarium – the opulence was beyond belief. I would have liked to see the treasury, but we ran out of time. If you are in Munich – the Residenz is a must-do!

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