Travel: Munich (Part II)

I apologize. At this point in my travels, the wanderlust has worn off and a sense of ennui has caught up with me. Hence, today was a lazy, hazy day. I had little motivation to cram as many events into my day as possible, therefore I slept in late, and meandered through town at a leisurely pace.

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First stop entailed a short visit to the Cuvilliés Theatre, which lies within the aforementioned Residenz Complex. It was ordered by Maximillian III Joseph outside the palace after a fire destored the previous St. George’s Hall. Construction spanned from 1751 to 1753 according to the design of François de Cuvilliés in rococo style.

If you look closely at the pictures from the Residenz Interior, you will see several rooms also exhibiting the Rococo Style. It is in this theater that Mozart’s Idomeneo premiered in 1781 and Carl Maria von Weber’s Abu Hassan in 1811. The theatre was intelligently meant to be multifunctional, and this was achieved via a floor that could be lowered or raised for ballroom festivities.

Lacking in energy, despite accomplishing little, I gave myself a reprieve by immersing myself in some casual reading and a glass of hot Chai (My favorite milky tea). Finally, summoning the impetus to move, I ventured to visit, now don’t be surprise, another palace.

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The Nymphenburg Palace was the main summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria designed in the Baroque style. The visionary was the italian architect Agostino Barelli, who was comissioned by the couple Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy in 1664. It is within these walls that King Ludwig II was born in 1845, as the great-grandon of King Max I Joseph.

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While open to the public, the building continues to be home and chancery for the current Franz, Duke of Bavaria, who is head of the house of Wittelsbach. Jacobite, who trace the line of the British Monarchy through legal heirs of James II of England, he is the legitimate heir of the Stuart claims to the throne of Great Britain.

It is interesting to note however, that despite merely having a dukedom, this claim has not been actively pursued. I can’t say that I would have done the same in his place, albeit that as a ‘commoner’ I grew up with Disney Movies and imagined a happily ever after as a princess with a prince on a white horse to rescue her.

The Coach Museum:

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The Porcelain Museum:

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What are your thoughts on Monarchy? Democracy? I’m torn. While the medieival, monarchical period of history seems romantic, I also know that the power resulted in sever abuse and neglect of the general population. This doesn’t mean, however, that certain monarchs wielded economic and political decisions for the benefit of his people, in contrast to selfish gain by exploiting his subjects.

Travel: Munich Residenz

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Leaving Vienna behind, I bypassed my original plan of Salzburg (due to limited hostel options) to southern Germany and the city of Munich. To be honest, at this point in my travels I was sufficiently exhausted of the exhausting routine of staying at one city for a few days, hopping a train, and continuing to make my away around and across Europe. However, Munich has a medley of fascinating sights, and a few of them provided my the additional motivation needed for my enthusiasm not to dwindle.

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The primary impetus involved a visit to the Residenz; On my walk through Old Town, I was able to pass through the Karlstor (one of four medieval city gates ), gape at the awe-inspiring Town Hall (a massive gothic-revival structure that dominates the square), and enjoy the machinations of the glockenspiel.

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Associated with the intricately detailed glockenspiel is a Myth. During the year of the plague, 1517, coopers are said to have danced through the streets to, “bring fresh vitality to fearful dispositions.” This dance became symbolic of the population’s perseverance  and their continued loyalty to the duke. As a result, this dance is traditionally performed every seven years, despite the current form not being defined until 1871.

Finally approaching the Residenz, one could not imagine the mysteries that lay within its walls. It is the former royal palace of the Bavarian Monarchs. The complex contains ten courtyards and encloses 130 rooms. Original builds were constructed in 1385, and financed as a sanction for the failed uprising against Stephen III and his younger brothers. Over the centuries it has been continuously developed, and after four hundred years, practically replaces the entire former city quarter. It now includes a large variety of styles such as Late-Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neo-Classicism.

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I didn’t nearly expect to get suctioned into a black hole of wonder and history, yet the Residenz is one of the few former palaces that have achieved this. Each room is both unique and a surprise, as the former rooms give few clues about the what architectural secrets it may contain. The work is intricately detailed, and provides a foundation upon which I could imagine the richness and allure of holding the Bavarian Crown. 5 hours later, I was exhausted, and had completely depleted any energy I had.


Travel: Vienna Churches

Despite my growing impatience for the medley of iconic religious frescoes, alters, chapels, and biblical interpretations, I continue to struggle with avoiding the visitation of churches. It is not hard to deny how intrinsically the tie into european culture; the strength of the populations devotions has deep roots with the development of heritage. As such, the following two are presented briefly.

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St. Steven’s Cathedral is an icon of Vienna, and dominates the shopping streets of the city center. It is  the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and the seat of the current Arch Bishop, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn. The site stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the former dating from 1147. As a symbol of the city, it has borne witness to vital moments of Austrian History. The tomb houses the Bishops, Provosts, and Ducal crypts. Furthermore, it was only spared damage from the World War II bombings, when Captain Klinkicht disregarded orders from the city commandant to leave it in just debris and ashes.

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Interesting Fact: “The composer Ludwig van Beethoven discovered the totality of his deafness when he saw birds flying out of the bell tower as a result of the bells’ tolling but could not hear the bells. ”

The roof is multicolored, and despite its exterior having been marred black by pollution overtime, significant restoration projects have helped it regain its glossy tiled and white facade.

The Interior is a rainbow of colors that interplay with each other along the Gothic/Romanesque pillars, high spanning nave, and mass of windows. It is a current art feature, and provides a creative, modern-day take on the limestone cathedral.

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I also stopped by to visit St. Peter’s Church. It lies but a few streets away, but the two couldn’t be more different. This other one reflects the Baroque style, and maintained by the priests of the Opus Dei. Despite having origins dating from the early middle ages, the current building was inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, with construction beginning in 1701. The interior golden stucco is particularly eye-catching given how solemn and dark the interior is, due to the current scaffolding that masks the exterior.

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The infamous Plague Column also lies within mere spitting distance. It was designed, and installed to fulfill a vow made by  Emperor Leopold I in 1679, when he fled the plague epidemics, saying that if it would end, a mercy column would be erected in remembrance.