Herrenchiemsee is a complex of royal buildings on the Herreninsel, an island in the middle of the Chiemsee, Bavaria's largest lake, 60 km south east of Munich. The Augustine Monastery Herrenchiemsee, later converted into the Old Palace (Altes Schloss) and Herrenchiemsee Palace, also known as the New Palace (Neues Schloss) are the most famous of these buildings and are the biggest of Ludwig II of Bavaria's palaces.
The New Palace is, in a sense, a monument to Ludwig's adoration of Louis XIV. In the great hall of mirrors of the palace the ceiling is painted with 25 tableaux showing Louis XIV at his best. (Some texts refer to the main building as Herrenchiemsee, forgetting the other smaller buildings on the island.)
It was to have been an equivalent to the Palace of Versailles, but only the central portion was built before the king died, leaving 50 of the 70 rooms of the palace unfinished. It was never meant to be a perfectly exact replica of Versailles and in several places surpasses it. The great hall of mirrors is longer than its equivalent in Versailles, and the dining room has a huge chandelier of Meissen porcelain, the largest in the world. The building also benefits from nearly two centuries of technological progress. The original Versailles palace did not have a single toilet. The only running water was outside in the fountains. King Ludwig's "copy" has more modern facilities, with a toilet and a large heated bathtub. Also, unlike Versailles, it was built on an island and is now only accessible by a small ferry. It is because of this that Herrenchiemsee and the Neues Palais are not as accessible or as famous as Neuschwanstein castle, becoming a secondary castle in their country.
The formal gardens are filled with fountains and statues in both the classical style typical of Versailles and in the fantastic style typical of romanticism that was favored by King Ludwig. Cool maidens which look as if they have stepped out of a museum of classical antiquity are never too far from dragons, winged warriors, giant lizards and other extravagant beings which look as if they have come from one of Richard Wagner's romantic operas.
Palace of Harmony; the Herrenchiemsee Palace in Germany Was the Perfect Setting for a Unique Festival, Writes Christopher Morley
Aug 11, 2011; Byline: Christopher Morley Ludwig II, besotted with Richard Wagner's operas, was the "Mad King of Bavaria" who built several...