The next day started out with a welcoming sunny weather with blue sky while we made our way to Residenz. Hence, it made the stroll from Karlsplatz (Stachus) to Marienplatz a pleasant one. And since we are walking down the same street as per yesterday, we stopped by at places which we have not visited. That would be St. Michael’s Church (Michaelskirche) and St. Mary’s Square (Marienplatz).
St. Michael’s Church in Munich
St. Michael’s Church (Michaelskirche) was badly damaged during the World War II and has since been restored to its original form. Dedicated to Archangel Michael, it has an impressive high altar which shows a vivid painting of St. Michael fighting against the evil. It’s also where the tomb of ‘Mad’ King Ludwig II is kept.
Standing right at the centre of St. Mary’s Square (Marienplatz) is the column of St. Mary (Mariensäule). The column in the heart of the city was erected to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation during the Thirty Years’ War. In addition, the two other prominent buildings would be the good-looking Gothic Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus). And the Neo-Gothic styled New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus).
Like most places in Munich, Residenz (palace) was severely damage due to World War II. Therefore, significant works had taken place to reconstruct it. The city castle has served as the seat of government and residence of Emperors and Bavarian dukes. It has since been converted into a museum to showcase a glimpse of the Royalties’ lifestyle. In fact, it’s one of the largest city castles in Europe. With 10 courtyards surrounded by a complex of palaces and a grand total of 130 rooms!
First of all, we went inside to see the Treasury (Schatzkammer). And my, the room showcases an impressive array of collections. Almost everything from crowns, tiaras, jewels to weapons look extraordinary. Whatever displayed in here is a definite sign of how wealthy the German Royalties are.
Shell Grotto courtyard
The next thing which left me shell-shocked (pun intended…) was the Grotto courtyard. The Shell Grotto is covered with fresh water shells and the thought of using that as the main materials for a design like this is amazing. Yet, what’s incredible was the story in rebuilding a complete replica to replace the original one, since it did not survive the Allied bombings.
The people had no money to rebuild the Grotto as a result of the war. So instead, fresh water shells were gathered and painstaking reconstructed based on photographs taken by the Nazis. This is brilliant stuff.
Antiquarium and the lavish rooms
For me, Antiquarium room is probably the main highlight of my visit. Royal banquets used to be held in this large and impressive room with ceiling decorated with vivid paintings. I can almost imagine how nice it would be to enjoy a meal here…and no, you cannot bring any food into the museum area.
The Residenz is so massive that it’s rather easy to wander into yet another room of priceless collection.
And here’s the Emperor’s Hall which is occasionally being used by the Bavarian government to hosts events.
And there are many more nicely decorated rooms…
The Court Chapel which is reserved for members of the court.
There’s also a small private Chapel for Duke Maximilian I which has a gorgeous looking ceiling and walls.
Finally, I visited the Cuvilliés Theatre which provided entertainment for the members of the court in the past. The rebuilt version today still looks plush and inviting fit for the Royals. Let the show begins!