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Nymphenburg Palace

The Nymphenburg Palace (German: Schloss Nymphenburg), i.e. “Nymph’s Castle”, is a Baroque palace in Munich, Bavaria, southern Germany. The palace was the main summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria.

The palace, together with its park, is now one of the most famous sights of Munich. The baroque facades comprise an overall width of about 700 metres. The Steinerner Saal (Stone Hall), with ceiling frescoes by Johann Baptist Zimmermann and F. Zimmermann and decorations by François de Cuvilliés, is an impressive sight. Acting as a grand hall, it occupies over three floors of the central pavilion of the palace. Some rooms still show their original baroque decoration while others were later redesigned in rococo or neoclassical style. The former small dining room in the south pavilion today houses theGallery of Beauties of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. This pavilion houses also the birthroom of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The court stables contain one of the most important museums of ancient carriages (Marstallmuseum). They also played a part in historical events – the Paris Coronation Coach for example was used for the coronation of Emperor Charles VII in 1742. Among the main attractions of the museum are the magnificent carriages and sleighs of King Ludwig II. The first floor of the former court stables houses a collection of Nymphenburg porcelain, the factory which, also located in the palace complex, was founded by Maximilian III Joseph. It’s handcrafted products are of legendary kind and quality, nowadays said to be comparable to Augarten and Sevres only.

Park and Gardens

The 200-hectare (490-acre) park, once an Italian garden (1671), which was enlarged and rearranged in French style by Dominique Girard, a pupil of Le Notre, was finally redone in the English manner during the early 19th century by Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell, on behalf of prince-elector Charles Theodore. von Sckell was also the creator of the English Garden in Munich. He preserved the main elements of the Baroque garden (such as the grand parterre). The park is bisected by a long canal along the principle axis which leads from the palace to the marble cascade (decorated with stone figures of Greek gods) in the west. The garden wall (1730-1735) saves several Ha-ha effects.

Two lakes are situated on both sides of the canal. The “Dörfchen” was created under Maximilian III Joseph as Petit hameau. The “Salettl” (1799), a cottage with its little garden nearby close to the former menagerie served as attraction for the children of Maximilian IV Joseph. The fountains in front of the palace and in the garden parterre continue to be operated by the water powered Pumping Stations built between 1803 and 1808. Within the park, a number of pavilions were built:

  • the Pagodenburg (1716–1719) – an octagonal, two story pavilion with Delft tile decoration downstairs and Chinoiserie upstairs. It was built by Joseph Effner.
  • the Badenburg (1719–1721) – a Baroque pavilion also by Joseph Effner. It contains a grand banqueting hall and a very large tiled bath. Some rooms are decorated with various Chinese wallpapers.
  • the Magdalenenklause – a faux ruin for retreat and meditation, erected between 1725 and 1728.
  • the Amalienburg – a Rococo hunting lodge constructed in 1734-1739 by François de Cuvilliés for Charles VII and his wife, Maria Amalia, including a hall of mirrors and a kennel room for the hunting dogs. The building with its decoration is a definite masterpiece on the climax of European rococo.
  • the Apollotemple – a neoclassical temple by Leo von Klenze, erected in 1862-1865

A passage close to the old arboretum in the north of the Grand Parterre leads to the large Botanical Garden of Munich.

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