Incessant rain on our second day in Munich forced us to change our plans. Initially, we hoped to spend two hours in the morning skimming the Munich Residenz Museum—a former palace of Bavarian monarchs and rulers in the heart of Munich. We had hoped to be done with a ‘highlights’ visit of the museum at lunch time, after which we could spend the rest of the day at the beautiful English Garden. But the heavy downpour kept us indoors.
Never has a backup plan work so well for us.
Instead of ‘skimming’ through the Munich Residenz, we actually took our time, listened to the audio guide, read the captions, and let our eyes feast on the spectacularly adorned rooms of the palace. We started by visiting The Treasury which had thousands of royal family jewels on display. It was an apéritif for the main act: 130 rooms all opulently decorated in varying Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo styles. Each room told a story of how the Bavarian royals lived, and each story transports you to a time of grand balls and parties hosted by the Wittelsbachs—the Kings of Bavaria.
The Munich Residenz in 20 beautiful photographs:
After The Treasury, the first room we walked into is the oldest hall is the entire palace. The antique busts and sculptures gives the room its name “Antiquarium.”
Doors covered in gold leaf trimmings enticed us to continue exploring:
We then walked through countless rooms that are opulently decorated in rich tapestries, silk walls, exquisite woodwork and funishings—in all colours you can imagine. These rooms are aptly called Reiche Zimmer meaning ‘Ornate Rooms’:
My absolute favourite is the Green Gallery which has green damask on the walls of a hallway that are covered from floor to ceiling with gilded frames and mirrors. It reminded me a lot of the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles but without the sea of people.
There are also very special rooms that serve very specific functions and are are naturally more lavishly decorated than the rest:
My favourite of all the special rooms is the ‘Porcelain Cabinet’ which is a room richly decorated in gold moulding and trimming for the sole purpose of holding miniature blue-and-white porcelain vases that a Bavarian King once thought of collecting. I wonder if I’ll ever have one for my fridge magnets?
The Munich Residenz is a palace of the royals in the city. It’s grand, without doubt, but it’s nothing compared to the castles that are found in the mountains of Bavaria. Stay tuned for this story!