The Wittelsbach family, who ruled Bavaria for 700 years, built the massive Residenz (Residence) complex from 1385 onwards. It has examples of all building styles with large sections in the Renaissance and Classical styles. The interior, inevitably, also has many Baroque and Rococo rooms. The palace is one of the most important in Germany and, although severely damaged during World War II, it has been restored to its original condition. The complex houses several museums – if time is limited give preference to the Treasury.
The Best Castles in Germany
The Residenz Treasury
The Schatzkammer der Residenz (Treasury in the Residence) contains the treasures of the Wittelsbach family collected over a period of 300 years. It is spread over eight rooms and is one of the most important collections of its kind in Europe. It includes the crown (1280) of Heinrich II, a bejeweled small statue of St George Slaying the Dragon (1597), and the royal insignia produced in 1807 after Napoleon had elevated Bavaria to a kingdom.
The Residenz Museum
The enormous Residenzmuseum, Max-Joseph-Platz 3, includes about 120 rooms of the former palace. The main attraction is the wall and ceiling decoration of the many rooms, as most are without furniture. The museum also has a large porcelain and silverware collection. Highlights include the Antiquarium (1570), which is the largest secular Renaissance hall north of the Alps. It is filled with Roman and Greek busts. Also popular are the Reichen Zimmer (Rich Rooms) in Rococo that were the state rooms during the 18th century, and the Royal Apartments constructed for King Ludwig I in the mid-19th century. The museum has no English signs, making an audio guide or guidebook essential.
[ Related page: Great Castles of Germany. ]
An added bonus here is the Cuvilliés-Theater (Altes Residenztheater/Old Residence Theater), at Residenzstraße1, a magnificent Rococo theater built in 1751-1753 by Francois Cuvilliés. It has four rows of boxes using different designs and decorations. The most lavish is the Prince Elector’s box. The theater is still in frequent use.
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