Munich Residenz – the Largest City Palace in Germany

Munich Residenz was the seat of Bavarian Dukes, Electors and Kings:

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Munich Residenz

The Munich Residenz is the largest city palace in Germany. It served as the seat of government and the residence of Bavarian dukes, electors and kings for 410 years, from 1508 to 1918.

What began as a small moated castle in 1385 at the north-eastern corner of town (the Neuveste, or new citadel), the Munich Residenz was gradually expanded by the Wittelsbach rulers over the centuries into a magnificent palace with its buildings and gardens extending further and further into the town.

Residenz Museum

The Residenz became a public museum in 1920 and is amongst the finest palace museums in Europe. It suffered extensive damage during WWII, with 23,000 square metres of roofing reduced to 50. Reconstruction work began in 1945 and the Residenz has been restored to much of its former glory. Fortunately, the curators had the foresight to remove and store away many of the furnishing, details of its architecture, and works of art and other art objects. These were gradually returned, as far as possible, to their original locations.

The Antiquarium is the oldest room of the Residenz München. This 66-metre long hall is the largest and most lavish Renaissance interior north of the Alps. Duke Albrecht V had it built (1568 – 1571) for his collection of antique sculptures and these antiquities gave the room its name “Antiquarium”.

Other star attractions at the Munich Residenz include:

  • the Cuvilliés-Theater – Built between 1751-55, this theatre is considered to be Europe’s finest surviving Rococco theatre. Elector Maximilian Joseph III had this built as his “new opera house” and was originally reserved exclusively for members of court. Many lavish opera productions were staged here, including the first performance of Mozart’s Idomeneo on January 29, 1781. The theatre is named after it architect François Cuvilliés the Elder.
  • The Nibelungensale – Features five halls with wall paintings depicting scenes from the famous German medieval epic Nibelungenlied.
  • Schatzkammer – In this room are some unusual gold and jewelry items amongst various other royal everyday objects. The main attraction is a small equestrian statue of St George.

The Residenz is open from 09:00 to 18:00 during the summer months and from 10:00 to 16:00 in winter. Tours at the Residenz are self-guided and the audio-guide provides historical information about the various rooms. You can buy tickets for the Residenz Museum, Treasury and Cuvilliés-Theater separately, but combination tickets are a little cheaper.

Classical concerts at the Residenz

Many of the great halls in the Munich Residenz are now used for functions, including classical concerts. The Residenz-Ensemble and guest soloists regularly perform great classical compositions by Vivaldi, Mozart and many others in the magnificent Cuvilliés-Theater. You can also book this concert series together with a tour of the Residenz, including the refurbished Cuvilliès Theater!

Other events include the Serenade Concert in the Royal Residenz, a tour of the complex, and a dinner at Germany’s great gourmet chef’s Schuhbeck Restaurant.  

A real treat in Munich would be to attend a concert in this opulent palace. See what’s on at the Residenz and book concert tickets online here >.

Getting there:

The Residenz is at Maximilianstraße / Residenzstraße 1 in the centre of the city and is easily reached by public transport. The following stops are close by:

–  S-Bahn (suburban railway): S1, S2, S4-8 “Marienplatz”
–  U-Bahn (underground): U3, U6 “Marienplatz” or U3-U6 “Odeonsplatz”
–  Bus 100 “Odeonsplatz”
–  Tram 19 “Nationaltheater”

Map of Munich

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