When you look for “places to visit in Munich” in Google, one of the first places that you will be advised to visit is Munich Residence. And it definitely should be in your top list. Why? Let’s find it out together!
When I was in Munich, I was planning to visit Residence as much as some other fine attractions. I was told that it is huge (it could also be seen from the size of the building) and it will need time to visit all the places inside. You better start your tour inside from early morning, thus you can see all its rooms, museum, treasury and another adjacent buildings.
The Munich Residence has 10 courtyards which are open to public. Here are shown 2 of them. The first is the Royal Palace Courtyard (Königsbauhof), which is bounded in the east by the Green Gallery. You will see the statue of Neptune in front of the entrance to the building and some of sea-life creature statues around.
The other one is the Fountain Courtyard (Brunnenhof). There is a fountain in the center with a bronze statue of Duke Otto I, the first duke of Bavaria from the Wittelsbach family. But let’s get in and see what we have inside!
On this day I was walking around with my friend, it was around 4-5pm, we decided to check whether the entrance is still open for visitors or no. And so it was. And as we already had our Bavarian Castle Pass, we didn’t need to buy tickets every time, as with this Pass we could visit around 45 castles and palaces for free as much as we want. We just took our free tickets from the ticket desk and were advised to take the door on the left, as at this time only part of the Residence was accessible. And it was not that bad as we thought. As it was almost end of the day, there were less people inside and much better to enjoy the marvelous Museum without visitors, just like in pictures on Instagram…
Admission charges (regular fees):
If you plan to visit Residence Museum only, it will cost you 9 eur, the same is for the Treasury only – 9 eur.
For a visit of only Cuvilliés Theatre you’ll need to pay 5 eur. But you can also buy combo tickets for 2 or 3 sights to visit. Here are their prices as well:
Combination ticket Residence Museum with Treasury – 14 eur
Combination ticket Residence Museum with Treasury and Cuvilliés Theatre – 17 eur
You can still buy your Bavarian Castle Pass from the ticket desk here and visit more palaces and castles for free!
Here in this Hall of Antiquities (Antiquarium) everything was perfect: all the walls and ceiling was covered with frescoes and it has the antique collection of Duke Albert V. This is the largest Renaissance hall north of the Alps and the oldest room in Munich Residence, which also housed the Ducal Library until 1581.
But seems not all rooms were decorated in this way. The hall we saw after was made in totally different way. It was all covered with shells, just like in Magdalenenklause in Nymphenburg. Maybe it was kind of modern at that time? Who knows? 🙂
As on the first day we had only a bit more than 1 hour to be inside the Residence, I had to come back here again another day, and this time in a morning, to have full day ahead, so I could visit all its rooms without rush. Again my Bavarian Castle Pass helped me to get my free ticket and an audio-guide and start the tour. This time the tour started from another entrance, which was going into the Treasury. It had a big exhibition of jewels, rock crystal objects, crowns, swards, ivory works and much more treasures collected by the rulers of Bavaria. 10 halls are used to show the jewels of the Wittelsbach dynasty.
The collection of the Royal Palace shows treasures of four centuries. To show all this beauty over 20 exhibition rooms was used which occupy a total of four floors! Here you can see porcelain collection from 18-19th centuries, precious collection of miniatures, princely tables, rich collections of the silver chamber, etc. Here you can see long tables with well designed and served tableware, fantastic examples of tiny and well designed porcelain decorations. In the Residence rooms you can also see fragile treasures from the other side of the world – examples of East Asian collection (over 500 pieces).
But the Residence museum is not only those collections showing. As this is the former royal palace of the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavaria, it displays also around 130 royal rooms. Now I’m going to show you only small part of them, but believe me, each of those rooms has it’s history and importance to the largest city palace in whole Germany!
The Black Hall, which name derives from the four black scagliola portals. The illusionistic architectural paintings on the ceiling were destroyed during WWII but were reconstructed to the original design.
King Ludwig I’s Throne Room entirely sheathed in gold was designed in neoclassical style. It was in this room where he conducted audiences.
King’s reception room & Ministerial Council Chamber, where King Ludwig I held working meetings and conferences with his ministers.
Electress’s Audience Chamber, which contained only a canopy, a throne and two commodes. A cute simple room which had 2 big paintings more like gently made carpets hanging on walls and few portraits.
This is Queen Therese’s Salon, which was used for social occasions. Nice bright room with a sofa and some chairs, beautiful chandelier and simple wall decorations.
Here is also Queen Therese’s library, which is the last room in her apartment. Seems the turquoise was queens favorite color, as you can see, all mentioned rooms are decorated with this palette.
Here is one of the most beautiful rooms in Residence – Ancestral Gallery which has its adjacent Porcelain Cabinet. Here over 100 portraits of members of the Wittelsbach family are let into the carved gilt panelling of the gallery. The adjacent richly decorated room was originally the electoral treasury but today it is used for a selection of the Residence Museum’s internationally important porcelain collection.
Another huge room, the Imperial Hall was built under Maximilian I was the largest and most important room in the Residence for festivities ceremonies. The cycle of paintings in the frieze above shows episodes from ancient history and the Bible. The wall is decorated with reproductions of 3 pictures symbolizing sovereignty, wisdom and fame.
The magnificently appointed suite of rooms called the Ornate Rooms was the official apartment of Elector Karl Albrecht used exclusively for diplomatic engagements and court ceremonies. The side and splendor of these rooms was intended to reflect the Elector’s claim to emperor status. Today these rooms are considered to be one of the most important interiors of the South German Rococo.
The Green Gallery was a venue for court celebrations to which the Elector regularly invited selected members of court. It takes its name from the wall covering green silk damask. The Gallery was built as a tract to the complex of the Ornate Rooms. The room was also a picture and mirror gallery. It contains over 70 paintings.
Here is one of those Green rooms there are some books available with paintings printings and their description & history. You are free to take any of them, have a sit and check them one by one.
And finally, why not to take a selfie on one of those tall mirrors available here, where who knows how many kings and queens were looking at themselves?
Another adjacent building to Residence is The Cuvilliés Theater, also known as the Old Residence Theater. Cuvilliés Theater is built in Rococo style and is named after its architect, François Cuvilliés the Elder who was also an architect for most of the rooms in Residence. It was originally reserved exclusively for members of court. In the large theater space, that is decorated in red and gold, you can easily recognize the Electoral loge which is right opposite the stage. It is supported by two figures of Atlas, which form the entrance. You can reach the theater from the Fountain Court.
You may easily reach the Residence from metro stations “Marienplatz” or “Odeonsplatz”.
The Residence and Treasury are open daily from 9 am-6 pm (or from 10 am-5 pm in winter season). But if you want to visit Cuvilliés Theatre as well, plan to be here after 2pm. Consider to spend here at the palace complex at least 3-4 hours.
This enormous palace complex marvels me with its beautiful architecture, well decorated rooms designed in Renaissance, early Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles, well preserved treasures and stucco works. But it had a surprise for me as well. When I was checking one of its rooms, which contained historical details displayed on special desks, the man, who was watching after the room came to me and started to talk. He said something in German.. I think from my face he understood that I didn’t understand a word.. I asked – English? But he was like… – no, no English.. Russian? Hayeren (means – Armenian)? I made big eyes and said – Ayo (“yes” in Armenian). And then he smiled and with a happy face, gave me his hand and said – Barev dzez (“hello” in Armenian). We started to talk about him, about me, my trip and everything. It turned out that this gentleman was Armenian, living here in Germany for more than 20 years and working here in Residence. He was a poet, a painter (had his own exposition in Munich a month ago!) and one of the founders of old Vernissage gallery in Yerevan. What a wonderful person! Happy I met him 🙂
It’s always nice to visit new places, meet new people, who can even for some minutes make you smile, learn some history, admire with marvelous architecture and see how people used to live centuries ago. Never miss your chance to get in touch with anything old that is new to you!
See you soon somewhere else 😉