“The Residence” in Munich is not a Hotel. Nor is it just an address. It was the seat of government and home to the Bavarian Kings from 1508 until 1918 for the Country of Bavaria. Yes, Bavaria was its own country, complete with Dukes, Electors and Kings. Bavaria is full of the Palaces of these noblemen, but The Residence was home to the Wittlesbach Dynasty whose rule ended in 1918. In the year 1385 ( yes, that’s correct), it began as a castle in the northeast section of what is now Munich. As the years, then centuries went on, it became the opulent and enormous Palace that we see today. The exterior facade may not be impressive, but the interior boasts 100’s of chambers and thousands and thousands of priceless, magnificent antiquities. Stunning artwork and tapestries. Room after room of Porcelain and gold plated tableware and serving ware. Marble. More marble and more marble! Gilded furniture. Hand carved and inlaid furniture made from exotic woods. Walls 30 feet high covered in hand painted SILK coverings. “The Residence” is one of the many “Must See” sites in Munich and I have wanted to visit this Palace since we arrived in Germany.
I presented my idea of visiting The Residence this winter to Sparky several weeks ago. Then I started stating that I want to visit The Residence ……soon. Last weekend I said to Sparky that we should visit The Residence this weekend. He said ( and I kid you not). “What’s that?” So today, after getting up at 4am because someone has undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea which disrupts sleep on a regular basis, and no it is not me, I told Sparky I was going to The Residence today and would he like to go with me. He said “no.” I said “Ok, I will go by myself.” He said ” No, I won’t go unless you want me to go.” I said, ” No, I am perfectly happy going by myself ( I truly mean that).” He said ” I want to go to Hagebau and buy glue.” I said, “Ok, I am going to get ready to catch the train. What do you want for breakfast?” He said ” I don’t want breakfast.” ( OK ladies, are you laughing yet? We have all had this conversation with our spouses, right?) Me….OK….I am having a piece of toast. Would you like some toast? Sparky, …..”OK, I’ll eat some toast.” Me, “I want to catch the 10:11 train to Munich.” Sparky, ” I just want to take a quick shower and then I will be ready to go.” Me, nodding my head…..and like sands in the hour glass, so flow the days of our lives. 🙂
So……we went to The Residence, but the fun isn’t over yet. In fact, it has just begun. We get on the train in Aying and yes, it is empty as Aying is the start of this line. Yes, I took this photo and yes, the train is empty except for the Syrian lady that we helped buy a ticket as she was totally perplexed.
I LOVE the German train system!
Just one of the many train stops on the way to Munich. The ride truly is ” Over the river and trough the woods!”
Then we arrive at the Marienplatz, which is the city center of Munich. Now mind you, I have printed a map to The Residence which is only a few blocks away. AND, I have the address pulled up on maps on my I Phone and I know exactly where we are going. We get to this building which is clearly marked over the 3 arched doors as “THE RESIDENCE!” Yea, we are here!
Bur Dan says “No, this isn’t it. When we were on our home tour, it was a huge place with gardens and a river running through it.”
Dan, telling me I am wrong and we are not at the right place.
After a quarter of a mile trudging in the cold, wet snow, we ( ahem) made the decision to turn around and go back to the platz where the signs said “The Residence,” and guess what? It was!
After a few more stumbles as things really are not very clearly labeled, we were at the ticket booth. Laughingly, I told the sales clerk our tale of adventure getting here and he ( Bless this man!) gave me a free entry! Saved us 8€ today and that’s never a bad thing!
Whew….after all that, I am weary. But, we have to tour The Residence! Who’s with me? Great! Let’s get this journey underway!
The Residence Platz and Museum.
The building surrounds a Courtyard that was lined with shell encrusted Grottoes. Later, they were enclosed. This one featured a gilded statue of Mercury.
The very first room on the tour is the Antiquarium. A massive area once used as a dining room.
The handpainted fresco ceiling
Dan, always curious about such things, wanted to know if the fireplace was functional. You could put a whole tree, or Dan in there! BTW, each room had a very watchful Guard.
The King had is own Dining Platform in this room. He dined alone being watched by the invited audience.
Kings from Otto to Leopold 1, 2 and crazy old numero 3 were in residence here over the centuries. The Palace is divided into wings and Chambers and corridors, each containing bedrooms, sitting rooms and visiting rooms.
This green bedroom works for me! Silk wall coverings too!
Rooms were heated by enormous wood burning stoves. Can you imagine the amount of wood and coal needed to heat this Palace?
This hand carved and intricately inlaid chest in a sitting room was 1 of 3 matching pieces. Also included was a writing desk and a tea table. The inlaid furniture really caught my eye. Fantastic craftsmanship.
My fiber friends will appreciate these 2 Tapestries of Sheep Shearing from years ago.
Tapestry up close and personal. Gold and silver threads made it shine.
Corridors were lined with displays showcasing Chinese Porcelain and later Meissen Porcelain. Stunning artistry worth millions today.
Numerous rooms changed purpose over the centuries but the jaw dropping beauty of hand carved massive doors, soaring ceilings, Marble floors and door frames remain the same.
This room had 4 identical door ways. Called the “Schwartz” or black room for the black lacquered wood with marble inlays.
Detail of the doors.
The ceiling was originally painted on canvases that were raised and fitted together. The were designed to give the illusion that the ceiling was even higher than it appeared. The Chandelier was gorgeous! What really impressed me though was that it was lighted with candles. And someone had to light it every night!
Treasures around every corner like this 10 panel Lacquered Privacy Screen.
Climbing a set of stairs, one of many in the Palace, you never know what will be at the top.
Corridors with matching Marble doorways and floors as far as I could see.
Every item in this 50 foot long case is gold plated. Yep….gold and there were 2 rooms of it plus all the cases lining the walls! I truly understand why there were revolutions and wars. The disconnect between the ruling class and the hungry commoners is mind boggling and sad.
The Palace of course, had its very own Catholic Chapel. During WWII, the Chapel had the bejeebers bombed out of it as per the picture. It has been restored only to the level of the exterior brick. No interior restoration has been attempted…..yet.
Restored Brick work.
The Palace contains a Reliquary Room as Relics were believed to provide positive intersession with God. These items are beyond priceless and are in a steel vault with a foot thick locked door. One relic is said to contain the body of a baby boy killed by King Herod. Bone splinters from Saints are encased in ornate gold and jewel encrusted cabinets.
And there were several complete skulls represented as well. Resting on velvet pillows and enveloped in pearl studded velvet caps and crowned with, well…….a Crown! Hmmm……not my favorite room but fascinating all the same.
The tour of the Palace ends with the halls of Ancestors. Every Duke, Elector, King and all their kingly cronies and families have portraits lining these walls. This room had also previously served as a dining room and had an attached room full of ornate table ware and serving ware.
How’s this for a dining room “Hutch?” Haha!
The Hall of Ancestors
One last photo… of me! Taking a selfie in front of this gihugic bedroom mirror while listening to the free audio descriptions.
No trip to Munich would be complete without visiting The Residence and I highly recommend this tour. Not terribly pricey as tourist destinations go and free audio devices are provided in many languages. I’d say 2 hours minimum is needed to visit here and a whole afternoon would be even better. After walking and walking and walking, Dan and I were starving and thirsty. Wanting something quick and inexpensive we opted for the cafeteria on the top floor of the Galleria Department Store. Huge variety of foods and everything looked good. We had…Ta ta….Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce and Pommes Frites.
An entirely satisfying day. Then back on the train to Aying and back in the car to go to the Hagebau to buy glue ,-)