Herrenchiemsee Castle Was Mad King Ludwig’s Versailles Of Bavaria

Herrenchiemsee Castle, or Schloss Herrenchiemsee, was one of King Ludwig’s many creations, and also where the Basic Law was drafted following World War II. This set the stage for the beginning of the Federal Republic of Germany.

About Herrenchiemsee Castle And Its History

Schloss Herrenchiemsee dates back to the year 765 when a Benedictine Abbey was constructed on the northern part of the island (Herreninsel, which is found in Lake Chiemsee) on the orders of Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria. This was just the first of Herrenchiemsee’s incarnations.

By 969, Emperor Otto I gave the land to the bishops of Salzburg. These men then converted the abbey into a monastery for the Canons Regular (a different kind of monk) who lived under the Augustinian rule of poverty and seclusion. By 1215, the abbey-turned-monastery had another change in management. Under the orders of Pope Innocent III, this one-time simple abode of monks and hermits would become the cathedral of the Bishopric of Chiemsee, a diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Catholic rule lasted until the early 1800s, when the Abbey became a secular place and the diocese was disbanded. The new, non-religious owners had little need for a cathedral. They destroyed it and put up a brewery in its place.

By 1873, the entire island was slotted for deforestation. Luckily, King Ludwig II stepped in and put a stop to any further demolition. He preserved the remaining structures as the “Old Palace” and began to construct a new one.

Sadly, Ludwig didn’t live to see the New Palace completed. A year after his death, the palace was opened up to the public. Construction stopped just after the king’s demise and many of the unfinished sections were later demolished.

Herrenchiemsee Castle Highlights And Features

State Rooms

Herrenchiemsee was to be the Bavarian Versailles. It has its own Hall of Mirrors, which is even larger than that in Louis XIV’s palace. Ludwig’s admiration of Louis is evident here as well, particularly in the ceiling paintings which are of none other than the Sun King himself.

The State Staircase is another impressive, unforgettable room in Herrenchiemsee. The State Bedroom and the Small Apartment of Ludwig are also highlights.

Castle Gardens

Much like the palace itself, the gardens were also intended to imitate and pay respect to the lovely grounds of Versailles. One of the fountains is an actual copy of the Bassin de Latone statue found at Louis’s palace. But the garden also has many of Ludwig’s own personality, with his penchant for fairy tales and the fantastic.

You’re likely to see dragons, legendary warriors and other mystical beasts as you stroll these grounds.

Ludwig Museum

The castle plays host to the Ludwig Museum. You can come and learn all about the rather tragic history of this Romantic Bavarian king. The museum holds some of the “mad” king’s portraits and documents from his collaborations with the famed German composer, Richard Wagner.

Herrenchiemsee Castle Location And Opening Hours

Herrenchiemsee is situated on the island of Herreninsel, which is surrounded by the Chiemsee in the Chiemgau region in Upper Bavaria. Herreninsel is about 60 km southeast of Munich.

If you have a navigation device, it should provide you with the option to input the name of the castle to get driving directions. You can use the Autobahn A8, take exit Bernau to continue to Prien am Chiemsee and then follow the signs.

Since the castle is found on an island, you can take a boat to get there, of course. The trains will take you to Prien am Chiemsee. From there, a special train will take you to the pier. Timetables for the boats and the special train can be found at Chiemsee Schifffahrt.

Herrenchiemsee Castle Opening Hours

The Herrenchiemsee Castle is open daily, except for the New Years, Christmas and Shrove Tuesday holidays. The hours are subject to change depending on the boats! But typically, hours run from 9:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m from April to October, and 9:40 a.m to 4:15 p.m in the winter months.

Herrenchiemsee Castle Web site: http://www.herren-chiemsee.de


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