Munich Residence

Munich Residence

The Residence (German: "Residenz") is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs in the city centre of Munich. The Residence is the largest downtown palace in Germany and serves today as one of the finest room decoration museums in Europe. The complex of buildings contains ten courtyards and the museum displays 130 rooms. The three main parts are the "Königsbau" (near the Max-Joseph-Platz), the "Alte Residenz" (towards the Residenzstraße) and the "Festsaalbau" (towards the Hofgarten). A wing of the Festsaalbau contains the "Cuvilliés Theatre" since the reconstruction of the Residence after World War II.


The first buildings at this site were erected in the year 1385. The new castle replaced the Old Court as residence of the Wittelsbach rulers. The gothic foundation walls and the basement vaults of the old castle are the oldest surviving parts of the palace. The Residenz grew over the centuries and assembles the styles of the late Renaissance, as well as of Baroque, Rococo and Classicism.

Maximilian I (1597-1651) commissioned what is now called the Old Residence ("Alte Residenz"). Today's admeasurements are from the times of Ludwig I of Bavaria (1825-1848), who instructed his architect Leo von Klenze to build the King's tract ("Königsbau") in the style of the Florentine Palazzo Pitti, the neoclassical 250 m-long Banqueting Hall wing ("Festsaalbau") and the Byzantine Court Church of All Saints ("Allerheiligen-Hofkirche"). Facing the church, the "Marstall", the building for the former "Court Riding School" and the royal stables, was erected by Klenze in 1817-1822.Ten yards can be found inside the large complex: The Grotto Courtyard ("Grottenhof") with the "Perseus Fontain" was built between 1581-1586 under William V (1579-1597) by Friedrich Sustris as the leading architect, the "Brunnenhof" (Fontain Court) served for tournaments before the large "Wittelsbach Fountain" was erected in the middle of the court in 1610. Other yards are the Kapellenhof (Chapel Court), the Kaiserhof (Emperor's Court), the Apothekenhof (Apothecary Court), the Puderhöfchen (Small Powder Court), the Königsbauhof (King's Tract Court), the Küchenhof (Kitchen Court), the Kabinettsgarten (Cabinet Garden), and the finally the Zierhöfchen (Decorative Court).

The palace was severely damaged by bombing during World War II, but most of the rooms were reconstructed until the 1980s. A substantial loss is especially the destruction of the neo-classical rooms in the Festssalbau (including the Grand Throne Room which now serves for concerts as Herkules Hall), the destruction of the rich décor of the Papal Rooms and of the frescoes of the Court Church of All Saints.

Inside the palace

The Hall of Antiquities ("Antiquarium"), built in 1568-1571 for the antique collection of Albert V (1550-1579) by Wilhelm Egkl and Jacobo Strada, is the largest Renaissance hall north of the Alps. Remodeled into a banquet hall by Friedrich Sustris in 1586-1600. The Antiquarium housed the ducal library until 1581. The low hall was then covered with a barrel vault that had 17 window lunettes. The hall was adorned with paintings by Peter Candid, Antonio Ponzano, and Hans Thonauer the Elder, though some were initially designed by Sustris himself. The Court Chapel ("Hofkapelle"), the Emperor's Staircase ("Kaisertreppe") and Imperial Hall ("Kaisersaal"), the Stone Rooms ("Steinzimmer"; 1612-1617; general design by Hans Krumpper) and the Trier Rooms( "Trierzimmer"); ceiling frescoes by Peter Candid) built for Maximilian I are typical for the early 17th century.

The baroque era is represented by the Papal Rooms ("Päpstlichen Zimmer"), erected under his son Ferdinand Maria (1651-1679). The Ancestral Gallery ("Ahnengallerie"; 1726-1731) with the "Porcelain Cabinet" (both constructed by Joseph Effner) and the Ornate Rooms ("Reichen Zimmer") designed by François de Cuvilles are magnificent examples for the court Rococo style. Under Maximilian III (1745-1777) the Apartments of the Elector ("Kurfürstenzimmer") were constructed between 1746 and 1763. Also the Residenz Theatre was added under Maximilian III.

The neoclassical epoch is represented especially by the Charlotte Rooms ("Charlottenzimmer") but also by the "Royal Apartments" and the Halls of the Battles ("Schlachtensäle") in the Königsbau. The wall and the ceiling paintings by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld in the "Nibelungensäle" (Nibelungen Halls; 1827-1834) produced in the same period are the first munumental representations of the Nibelungenlied.

Additionally to the rich acumulation of furniture, paintings and sculptures, the museum contains bronze work, clocks, tapestries, porcelain and several special collections.

The Festsaalbau also houses the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities while the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts is situated in the Königsbau. One of the primary concert venues for the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is the "Herkulessaal" (Herkules Hall) in the Festsaalbau of the Residenz.

The treasury

Founded by Albert V the house jewels of the Wittelsbach are today on display in the treasury ("Schatzkammer"), ten halls in the east wing of the Königsbau. The collection is one of the most important in the world and spans 1000 years from the early Middle Ages to Classicism. On display are royal insignia, crowns, swords, goblets, goldsmith work, rock crystal, ivory work, icons and numerous other treasures like precious tableware and toiletries.Among the exhibits are for example Emperor Charles the Bald's prayer-book (ca. 860), the altar-ciborium of Emperor Arnulf of Carinthia (ca. 890), the crown of the Empress Cunigunde, reliquary of the True Cross which belonged to the Emperor Henry II, a cross which belonged to Queen Gisela (all ca. 1000), the so-called Emperor Henry crown (ca. 1270), an English Queen's crown (ca. 1370), the famous Statuette of St George (Munich, ca. 1599), the insignia and orders of the Bavarian kings, including insignia of the Emperor Charles VII (1742), the Crown of Bavaria (1804), ceremonial swords and ruby jewelry which belonged to Queen Therese. A precious set of matching dishes served the French Empress Marie Louise during her journeys. Also Non-European art and craftwork, including Chinese porcelain, ivories from Ceylon and captured Turkish daggers are shown.

The coin collection

Founded already by Albert V. the Residenz houses also the Bavarian state's coin collection. With more than 300.000 coins, medals and banknotes from the ancient world to the present time it is one of the world's leading collections.

The Court Garden

The Court Garden (Hofgarten) at the northern side opposite to the Festsaalbau was laid out under Maximilian I. In the middle of the park in French style a circular temple (1615) is crowned by a statue of Bavaria (1594 by Hubert Gerhard). The eastern Hofgarten arcades with the gate were done by Klenze, the northern wing with the former electoral gallery houses a theatre museum. The renaissance arcades in the north east of the park were integrated to the Bavarian State Chancellery in 1992. Its middle section with the dome was constructed already in 1900-1905 for the Bavarian Army Museum.



External links

* [ Residenz Munich]
* [ A Jacobite Gazetteer Munich - Residenz]

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