Germany

Opulance Taken To Another Level

Opulance Taken To Another Level

The Residenz Palace in Munich is  a complex of immense size. It was begun in the14th century and it has been added to over the centuries. It has been the home to generations of the Wittelsbach family as Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria. In addition to the two museums, the Residenz  houses a  theatre, a church, gardens and more.

You may begin your visit in the Treasury Museum which has about a thousand years of treasure. Among the vast amount of treasures is the crown of Anne of Bohemia who was the 1st wife of King Richard II of England. There is an unbelievable St George and the Dragon which is enameled gold covered with emeralds, rubies, diamonds and pearls. There is a 14th century Jewish ceremonial wedding ring, a bowl designed by Hans Holbein that was in the Tower of London until 1649.

There is a large, carved wooden rosary with beads about the size of a Faberge egg with the mysteries carved inside. The mantle of the Kings of Bavaria, a whole room of religious items including ivory crucifixes, gold chalices, lots of enamel and lots of gems. There is a garter from the English order of the garter that belonged to the winter king, Prince Rupert’s father and also the ceremonial crown of the kings of Bavaria made in France in 1806.

There is one whole room full of crowns, orbs, scepters and 2 cases full of medals encrusted with every imaginable gem. And this was just the treasury. BY now you will be suffering from treasure overload. I would suggest that if you want to retain any sanity you take a break and have lunch or go shopping or do something besides a museum because the Residenz itself can be quite overwhelming.

The Residenz Palace has more than 100 rooms.  There is a magnificent throne room, an ancestral gallery of pictures, rooms of porcelain, silver and magnificent furniture. Depending on your interest, this can take hours to see in total. One of the first things that you encounter is a magnificent hall of mirrors. It is done with off white and gold trim, beautiful and gaudy at the same time. Because the palace was built over such a long period of time you will see many different architectural styles represented here.

It is really hard to believe looking at the Palace today,  that it was extensively bombed during World War II. Most of Munich was destroyed by allied bombing. The reconstruction work on the Palace began almost immediately and great efforts were made to be sure that not only the building was rebuilt but that the treasures were replaced in the location they would have been before the war.

Visiting a palace museum of this size takes quite a while and can seem endless. This is almost too much of a good thing, almost but not quite.  Allow half a day for touring the Residenz Palace.

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