The main reason I wanted to visit the Munich Residenz, the former royal palace of the Bavarian Monarchs of the House of Wittelsbach (of the Mad King Ludwig fame) was this:
You’re looking at the Antiquarium, the Hall of Antiquities, the largest secular Renaissance hall north of the Alps. The room stretches 220 feet end to end and was a festival banquet hall. It’s the oldest room in the palace (it was built in the mid-16th century) and 200 people could comfortably dine here. The hall is filled with busts of Roman emperors because centuries ago they were the “cool” thing to collect (European royals wanted to make the obvious connection between themselves and enlightened ancient Roman rulers).
If you want to read more about this palace that’s located right in Munich’s city center click here, I don’t want to bore you with some long text filled description when I have 10 of my favorite photos to share with you instead (a plus to visiting, photography sans flash is allowed!).
But here’s an interesting fact: King Ludwig II hated coming to Munich (he was not a city boy at all) and equally detested the Residenz. One of the reasons he built his own castle Neuschwanstein a stone’s throw from where he grew up, in rural Bavaria.
Besides the Antiquarium, my other favorite room was the Shell Grotto which is made of volcanic tuff and is covered completely in Bavarian freshwater shells. This room like the rest of the palace was completely destroyed during World War II by Allied bombs. After the war most Germans were destitute and had no money to contribute to reconstruction efforts of the grotto so they gathered shells instead. All of the shells you see in the Grotto today were donated by Bavarian villagers. The Grotto was rebuilt according to pre-war photographs
Tips for visiting:
-The Residenz is referred to as a museum but it’s not, it’s a royal palace (there are 90 rooms in all).
-The Residenz is open daily with the last entry one hour before closing.
-It’s located three blocks north of the Marienplatz.
-Also on the grounds are the Treasury (home to crowns, jewels, and other royal paraphernalia) and the Cuvilliés Theater. If you’re short on time, stick to the museum portion.