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

Ian Martin-Thomas (2 years ago)
This a lovely historic building, it is in beautiful condition and nice surroundings. Worth a visit an guided tour. Allow 2hours at least. Refreshments are available
Judy Wheeler (2 years ago)
COLD inside. Dress warmly. Guide greeted us with snow boots, long down coat, scarf, hat & gloves. I wished I had dressed warmer. Out side it was beautiful, sun was shining & I carried my coat. VERY Interesting.
Ivan Radnev (2 years ago)
Ludwig Palace is incredible. The king's dream come true to see Versailles in the territory of Bavaria. The rooms are large, spacious, bright and very richly decorated. The gardens are large and beautiful. Fountains are works of art.
Attila Tényi (3 years ago)
Looks like the main front of Versailles castle. A little bit bigger than the french. Brilliant exterior and interior parts. Interesting exhibition inside. Wonderful garden around it. Big and unfinished dream of king Ludvig of Bavaria. You have to visit at least once in your life.
Karen Edwards (3 years ago)
Opulent palace modelled on Versailles. Very knowledgeable guide. Magnificent gardens. The palace was only partially completed before King Ludwig ran out of money, but what there is is sublime. Thoroughly enjoyed my time here.
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