Out and About Munich, Part 2

Lunch was a delightful low-key affair at a local cafe that had an excellent view of the Residenz and after having recharged ourselves, we returned to the Residenz to view the Treasury and Cuvilliés Theatre. The Treasury itself is pretty straight-forward- essentially a large vault with a very massive door- that now houses the Wittlesbach Crown Jewels and other valuable mementos to include a coin collection with some 300,000 pieces. Below are just a couple of examples:

The Wittlesbach Crown Jewels.

It was hard to get decent pictures in the Treasury due to the lighting and glass display cases so I had to lift the above two pictures off of Wikipedia.

We next visited the Cuvilliés Theatre which was a visual treat. Like much of the Residenz, it’s been completely rebuilt on a site that’s close to the original site but it follows the same plan as the original and many of the fittings to include the boxes are original, having been stored away for security during the war. Originally built in from 1751 to 1755 under the Elector Max III Joseph, it was designed by the architect François Cuvilliés the Elder (who designed a number of structures in the Residenz complex). Below are some views that we got:

The stage- This is actually a working theater.

Looking up from the ground floor. There were four levels of seating.

Looking towards the main entrance. Above the entrance is the King’s private box.

Interestingly enough, the theater is a functioning theater and performances are staged here on a regular basis. Of all the places we visited, the theater was the most compelling, helped by the fact that it was fully air conditioned. 🙂 One of the downsides of visiting museums in Europe during the warmer times of the year they have minimal ventilation and the atmosphere is warm and stifling. But in spite of the challenges, it was well worth the effort and just the scale and magnitude of the structures and their furnishings is simply amazing. Stay tuned for more! 🙂

Out And About In Munich, Part 1

First day in Munich…after an incredibly long flight due to delays caused by mechanical issues, we have finally arrived in Munich! After a good night’s rest, we then set out to get acquainted with the City.  The first stop on our list was the Munich Residenz Museum, formerly the main palace of the House of Wittlesbach, the family who ruled Bavaria from 1180 through 1918 (interestingly enough, Ludwig III, the last king of Bavaria never abdicated his throne so technically, Bavaria could have a Wittlesbach as a king again).

The Residenz Museum is a fairly large complex divided into three main areas: the Residenzmuseum, Treasury, and Cuvilliés Theatre. Just to note, much of the entire complex was severely damaged during WWII and what we view today is largely been rebuilt although many of the original fittings survived. Below are some views from our visit, beginning with the Residenz itself. First up is the grottenhof which is essentially a grotto covered with sea shells and decorated with busts of various Roman Emperors and Bavarian nobles:

This area was not in the best condition and signage was minimal so we had to draw our own conclusions, at least until we’d purchased a guidebook. Next is the Antiquarium:

Originally built from 1568-1571 by Duke Albrecht V, this was originally intended as a hall to house his various antiques (mostly Classical Greece and Rome supplemented by a lot of crude knock-offs). However, over time, the hall was expanded by Albrecht’s successors and used for various large scale social events- the hall is HUGE and could easily fit 500 or more. Our pictures don’t do justice to the sheer scale.

The Residenz was expanded over time with various additions added, creating a veritable labyrinth and it’s easy for the visitor to get overwhelmed by the sheer scale. Here’s a few more pictures of later additions:

In terms of architecture and decor, the Residenz reflects a variety of styles, heavily represented by Baroque, Louis XIV, and Neo-Classical styles. The sheer volume of furnishings, china, silver, and various objects d’art were overwhelming and there’s enough there to warrant at least two or three trips. After about two hours, we decided to take a break and go to bunch at this nice cafe that located close by…

(To be continued…)