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Monday, January 11, 2010


Herrenchiemsee is a complex of royal buildings on Herreninsel, an island in the middle of Chiemsee, Bavaria's biggest lake, 60 km south east of Munich. Together with the neighbouring island of Frauenchiemsee and the uninhabited Krautinsel it forms the municipality of Chiemsee. The Augustine Monastery Herrenchiemsee, later changed into the Old Palace or Altes Schloss, and Herrenchiemsee Palace, also known as the New Palace or Neues Schloss, are the most famous of these buildings and the largest of King Ludwig II of Bavaria's palaces.

HerrenchiemseeHerrenchiemsee Benedictine Abbey was established about 765 at the northern peak of the Herreninsel by Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria. In 969 Emperor Otto I granted to the Archbishops of Salzburg, who about 1130 re-established Herrenchiemsee as a monastery of Canons Regular living under the Augustinian rule. With approval of Pope Innocent III, Prince-Bishop Eberhard von Regensberg in 1215 made the monastery church the cathedral of a diocese in its own right.

The incomplete New Palace was designed by Christian Jank, Franz Seitz, and Georg Dollman and built between 1878 and 1885. Between 1863 and 1886 a total of 16,579,674 Marks was spent constructing Herrenchiemsee. An 1890 '20 Mark' gold coin contained 0.2304 troy ounce / 7.171 g of gold. Therefore, 16,579,674 Marks would equate to 190,998 oz of gold.

Herrenchiemsee Front PalaceHerrenchiemsee FountainLudwig only had the opportunity to live within the Palace for a few days in September 1885. After his death in the following year, all construction works discontinued and the building was opened for the public. In 1923 Crown Prince Rupprecht gave the palace to the State of Bavaria. Unlike the medieval design of Neuschwanstein Castle begun in 1869, the New Palace is, in a sense, a Neo-Baroque monument to Ludwig's adoration of King Louis XIV of France. In the great hall of mirrors of the palace the ceiling is painted with 25 tableaux showing Louis XIV at his best.

It was to have been an equivalent to the Palace of Versailles, but only the central portion was built before the king died in 1886, thereafter construction works discontinued leaving 50 of the 70 rooms of the palace incomplete. With a length of 98 m or 322 ft and 23 arches the Hall of Mirrors is bigger than the Versailles equivalent. The dining room features an elevator table and a huge chandelier of Meissen porcelain, the biggest in the world. The building also benefits from nearly two centuries of technological progress and the only running water was outside in fountains. King Ludwig's copy has more modern facilities including a central heating system and a large heated bathtub. Also, unlike Versailles, it was built on an island and is now only accessible by a small ferry thereby Herrenchiemsee always remained slightly in the shadow of Neuschwanstein.

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