Park Palaces at Nymphenburg
The park palaces in Nymphenburg Park are small summer residences that are also well worth a visit. The Badenburg Palace on a large lake in the southern part of the park and the Pagodenburg Palace on a smaller lake in the northern part of the park are both architectural gems. The Amalienburg Palace is larger and, with its splendidly decorated hall of mirrors, more lavish. The Hunting Lodge is located near the main palace. Also worth a visit is the Magdalenenklause, a hermitage built as a ruin.
The Amalienburg is one of the most sumptuous creations in European rococo and at Nymphenburg Palace it served as a summer palace and hunting lodge. The Large Salon or Hall of Mirrors forms the centre of the tiny palace. The Blue Cabinet and Bedroom adjoin to the south; and the Hunting Room and Pheasant Room to the north. The Dressing Room, Dog and Gun Rooms, Retirade and Kitchen are located in the small wing. The richness of the decoration increases towards the middle, reaching a climax in the Hall of Mirrors, a circular room with a flat dome. The Amalienburg is just 5 minute's walk from the hotel!
The Badenburg is situated at the south-east end of the similarly named lake in Nymphenburg Park, about 10 minute's walk from the hotel. The Badenburg represented pure luxury in its time. The building, created by Joseph Effner between 1719 and 1721, is regarded as the first heated indoor swimming pool in modern times that was designed purely for royal bathing. The large banquet hall on the main floor, with its pretty stucco work, hard marble floor and a
large vaulted ceiling fresco, is equally spectacular.
The Elector Max Emanuel had the Pagodenburg built on the north side of the main canal as a tea pavilion. The ground floor comprises just one room with a rather oriental décor in blue and white; pretty figurative ceiling paintings and colourful Dutch tiles on the walls. The upper floor is decorated in an far-eastern style with colourfully exotic ornamentation on black paint work. The very small and ingeniously decorated rooms make the Pagodenburg a highlight and one of the finest examples of Chinese fashion in 18-century Europe.
Cracks in the walls and only partially plastered - that is what the Elector Max Emanuel, who commissioned the building, actually intended. The Magdalenenklause in Nymphenburg Park represents one of the first purpose built ruins in European landscape gardening. The interior of the hermitage is laid out as a fantasy grotto with shells, colourful stones and volcanic tuff. But a skull, together with a statue of St Mary Magdalene, reminds us of human mortality. Christians still make a pilgrimage to the palace ruin on 22 July, for the annual Feast of St Mary Magdalene. Visiting the hermitage is considered to have healing effects: Baroness von Pechmann, who was born blind, regained her sight from the holy water that collects in a pool inside the hermitage.