New Castle Herrenchiemsee

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Neues Schloss Herrenchiemsee
Neues Schloss Herrenchiemsee

[ source: Wikipedia]

Inspired by Versailles, the Bavarian Herrenschloss am Chiemsee (Chiemsee vacation rentals | Chiemsee travel guide) was commissioned by King Ludwig II, who dreamed of building a "New Versailles" in his kingdom as the ultimate statement in favor of absolutist rule. The castle reflects Ludwig's great admiration for Louis XIV, "the Sun King," and the Bavarian king hired the architects Georg Dollmann and Julius Hoffmann to execute his vision. Like its French predecessor, the Herrenschloss am Chiemsee, or Herrenchiemsee (Herrenchiemsee vacation rentals | Herrenchiemsee travel guide), has a Great Hall of Mirrors that was meant to dazzle its visitors.

The New Castle Herrenchiemsee actually exists as a complex of structures built on the Herreninsel in the Chiemsee, the largest lake in Bavaria. The first structures on this site dated from 765 and were connected to the Herrenchiemsee Benedictine Abbey. The abbey was dissolved in 1808, and Ludwig acquired the site in 1873. He took over the few extant buildings on the site, dubbing them the "Old Castle," and lived here during the construction of the new palace.

The palace was never finished, despite the huge expenditures that went into the project. Between 1863 and 1886, an amount equivalent to approximately $125,400,000 was spent on Herrenchiemsee. Ludwig only stayed at the New Castle Herrenchiemsee for a few days in September 1885; he died one year later. After his death, all construction at the New Castle Herrenchiemsee ceased, and the building was opened for public visitation. Fifty of the seventy rooms in the palace were left incomplete. Nonetheless, the twenty that were finished are stunning. Of specific note are the State Bedchamber and the Ambassador's Staircase. The dining room features a huge chandelier made of Meissen (Meissen vacation rentals | Meissen travel guide) porcelain, the largest of its kind in the world.

New Castle Herrenchiemsee is also home to the King Ludwig II Museum. The collection features paintings and photos of Ludwig, as well as artifacts connected to his life, such as his christening gown and coronation robe. Furnishings from the king's apartment in Munich (Munich vacation rentals | Munich travel guide) are also on display, as is a large collection of arts objects made for Ludwig during his lifetime.

The visitor today can also while away some hours in the palace park, designed by Carl von Effner. It resembles a smaller Versailles park and borrows heavily from the stylistic motifs utilized in its French model. Besides functioning as a tourist attraction, the New Castle Herrenchiemsee also has several rentable spaces that can be used for banquets, exhibitions, concerts, conferences, and lectures.

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About this Article

Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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Location: Herrenchiemsee, 83209 Herrenchiemsee, Germany

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