Schloss Nymphenburg was erected originally from 1664 to 1674 as a small summer retreat west of the city for the ruling family. However, Prince Elector Max Emmanuel turned it into a lavish palace. For most of the 18th century, his successors added more features and structures, until Nymphenburg became the largest palace in Germany. The garden was developed from 1700 onwards and eventually combined formal Italian and French elements with English landscape garden areas.
The huge palace – it is a km (.6 mile) long – can be visited without a tour. It is mostly Baroque and has a splendid interior. The huge banqueting hall has rich stuccos and frescoes by Johann Baptist Zimmermann. Several royal apartments are on display, including the Geburtzimmer (Birth Room) of mad King Ludwig II. Of special note is the Schönheitengalerie (Gallery of Beauties) – a huge collection of paintings by Joseph Stieler of beautiful women that caught the roving eye of King Ludwig. Especially of note is the painting of Lola Montez, the woman who cost him his throne.
[ Related page: Great Castles of Germany. ]
The Marstallmuseum mit Museum Nymphenburger Porzellan (Carriage Museum with Porcelain Collection) is in the south wing of the palace. It includes the collection of lavish carriages owned by the Wittelsbach family. Of special interest are the coronation coaches of Karl VII (1741) and Max Joseph (early 19th century) as well as the luxurious sleigh of Ludwig II. On the second floor is the porcelain collection of 1,200 items from Rococo to Art Nouveau.
Of the structures in the garden, Amalienburg is the most interesting. Originally conceived as a simple hunting lodge, Cuvilliés created a simple exterior but a magnificent Rococo interior (1739). This pleasure pavilion served as inspiration for many others that were created all over Europe during the 18th century. It has lavish kennels for the royal hunting dogs, a hall of mirrors rotunda, and a kitchen tiled in blue and white Delft.
Three further early 18th-century structures in the garden are open to the public. The Badenburg contained the first heated swimming pool since Roman times. The Pagodenburg has an elegant French exterior but the interior is exotic Asian. It was used mainly as a teahouse. The Magdalenenklause is a folly of artificial ruins. It contains a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene.
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