Residenz ★★

Ahnengalerie (Ancestor's Gallery) at the Residenz, Munich
Ahnengalerie (Ancestor's Gallery) at the Residenz, Munich. (Photo by Jelly)

The Munich palace of Bavaria's erstwhile royal family is now a museum showcasing the most extravagant Renaissance and baroque art and furnishings money could buy

The Wittelsbach

King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria (ruled 1799–1825)
King Maximilian I Joseph Wittelsbach of Bavaria (ruled 1799–1825).

The Wittelsbach was a medieval merchant family that rose to control Bavaria in 1180. From 1316 to 1346, Wittelsbach Duke Ludwig IV even served as Holy Roman Emperor.

Variously dubbed as counts, dukes, princes, and eventually kings, they didn't relinquish power until revolutionaries came banging at the Residenz front door in 1918—making them, by a long shot, Europe's longest-lasting dynasty.

The official residence of Bavarian royalty is a rambling palace of palatial rooms and elegant courtyards whose long architectural history (started in 1385 and constantly upgraded and expanded right up until World War I) befits the lengthy political legacy of the Wittelsbach family (see box below).

The parts of the palace to concern yourself with are the Residenz Museum, the Treasure House, and the Cuvilliés Theater.

To see it all in detail would take most of the day, but you can drink in the best of this ornate splendor in just a couple of hours.

The Residenz Museum

Highlights of the Residenz Museum—120 rooms of Wittlesbach history and furnishings—include the Ancestor's Gallery (1728 to 1730), a royal photo album of oil portraits set into the gilded stucco walls of a long hallway; and the huge Renaissance Hall of Antiquities, covered with 16th- and 17th-century frescoes.

Don't miss Maximilian I's Reiche Kappelle, a closet-sized chapel dripping with marble inlay, gilding, and ivory carvings.

The Treasury

The Bavarian crown jewels, some dating back to AD 1000, are kept in the Schatzkammer (Treasure House).

St. George Slaying the Dragon in the Schatzkammer of the Residenz, Munich
St. George Slaying the Dragon in the Schatzkammer of the Residenz, Munich. (Photo by Matthias Kabel)
Perhaps its greatest treasure, though, is the insanely elaborate gold St. George Slaying the Dragon (1590).

It's a wonder that the saint—encumbered by so many diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and other gems—ever managed to slay the emerald beast.

The fountain

The fountain in the Court Garden only operates from 10am to 2pm (and only April to October), so visit in the late morning for the full effect.

Also take a moment to examine the fountain's original 16th century machinery, which has been restored and once again runs the fountain.

The theater

Though part of the same complex, to get to the flamboyantly rococo Cuvilliés Theater you have to exit the Residenz and walk around the corner to re-enter at Residenzstrasse 1.

Tips & Links

Residenz details

Max Joseph Platz 3

Tel. +49-(0)89/290-671


Apr–mid-Oct: Daily 9am–6pm
Mid-Oct–Mar: Daily 10am–5pm


Museum: €7
Treasury: €7
Cuvilliés-Theatre: €3.50
Combined Museum + Treasury: €11
Combined (all three): €13


U-Bahn: Odeonsplatz (U3, U4, U5, U6)
Tram: 17
Bus: 100
» Munich City Hop-on Hop-off Tour


How long does the Residenz take?

Planning your time: Give the Residenz complex two hours, minimum, though you could spend four to five.

One note: visit in the late morning for the full effect. Why? because the fountain in the Court Garden stops running at 2pm, and the Cuvilliés Theater doesn't open until 2pm most of the year—though it is open morning in summer. This way, your visit will overlap the odd, staggared opening hours and you can see it all.

Last entry is 1 hour before closing.

» Suggested Munich itineraries

Save on Sundays

On Sunday, admission is just €1 (instead of €7).

Cumulative ticket

There's no reason to spend €7 for entry each museum plus another €3.50 for the theater when you can get a single combined ticket to all three for €13.

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in September 2013.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.