Herrenchiemsee Palace

Chiemsee, Germany

Herrenchiemsee is a complex of royal buildings on Herreninsel, an island in the Chiemsee, Bavaria's largest lake. After being purchased by King Ludwig II of Bavaria the former Herrenchiemsee monastery was converted into a royal residence known as the Old Palace (Altes Schloss), while the king built Herrenchiemsee Palace also known as the New Palace (Neues Schloss), the largest of his palaces.

The unfinished New Palace was designed by Christian Jank, Franz Seitz, and Georg von Dollmann and built between 1878 and 1885. Ludwig only had the opportunity to stay within the Palace for a few days in September 1885. After his death by drowning at just 40 in the following year, all construction work discontinued and the building was opened for the public. In 1923 Crown Prince Rupprecht gave the palace to the State of Bavaria.

Unlike the medieval themed Neuschwanstein Castle begun in 1869, the Neo-Baroque New Palace stands as a monument to Ludwig's admiration of King Louis XIV of France. Its great hall of mirrors' ceiling is painted with 25 tableaux showing Louis XIV at his best.

The palace was shaped in a 'W' with wings flanking a central edifice. Only 16 of the 70 rooms were on the ground floor. It was to have been an equivalent to the Palace of Versailles, but only the central portion was built before the king died and construction was discontinued with 50 of the 70 rooms still incomplete. It was never intended to be a perfectly exact replica of the French royal palace and in several places even surpasses it. Like Versailles, the Hall of Mirrors has 17 arches, the Hall of Peace and the Hall of War on either side have three windows each. The window niches at Herrenchiemsee are wider than those at Versailles, making its central façade a few metres wider. The dining room features an elevator table and the world's largest Meissen porcelain chandelier. Technologically, the building also benefits from nearly two centuries of progress. While the original Versailles palace lacked toilets, water, and central heat, the New Palace has all of these, including a large heated bathtub.

Being built on an island it is only accessible by water, today via a system of small ferries. As a result, and of being unfinished, Herrenchiemsee always remained slightly in the shadow of Neuschwanstein.

The formal gardens are filled with fountains, a copy of the Versailles Bassin de Latone, and statues in both the classical style typical of Versailles and the fantastic romanticism favored by King Ludwig. Statues reminiscent of antiquity are found throughout the gardens, overwrought in the grand style of Richard Wagner's romantic operas.

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Details

Founded: 1878-1886
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany
Historical period: German Empire (Germany)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sachin Ganjare (4 months ago)
Absolutely lovely..the palace and surroundings are just fabulous.... On a sunny day nothing less than a paradise island
Prashant shenoy (4 months ago)
Nice travel over the lake , refreshing experience.make sure you book the language guide in advance. Restuarant around is very good, serves hot and tasty food.
Andrea Gigli (7 months ago)
Absolutely loved the guided tour with the professional guide Laura. Super interesting and definitely a day trip I would recommend to everyone who is staying in Munich for more that 3 days.
Jane Tattersall (7 months ago)
Very atmospheric and ostentatious building set on a wooded island with formal gardens close to the Palace. The visit is enhanced by the boat trip from the mainland. Unfortunately although we were told our tour would be in English, it was in German so I understood little of the content.
Lisa Davis (9 months ago)
Couldn't see the inside without the jab -- and none of the fountains were running, though the grounds were certainly lovely and the building, itself, quite as impressive as expected. All things considered, about 3/5ths the enjoyment sounds right.
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