Happy Palaces Day!
Today’s featured palace is not a tourist destination and can only be admired from the exterior by castle-visitors. One of its former inhabitants was the Pope Emeritus Benedikt XVI!
Schloss Fürstenried in Greater Munich began as a hunting lodge (Jagdschloss) and pleasure palace (Lustschloss) for Elector (Kurfürst) Maximillian II Emanuel (of Bavaria). It was built between 1715-17 by Chief Court Architect Joseph Effner, who was responsible for the construction and expansion of many of the royal residences, including Schloss Dachau, Schloss Nymphenburg, and Schloss Schleissheim. Ten years after its completion, the Baroque palace was gifted to Max II Emanuel’s daughter-in-law, Electress Maria Amalia of Austria, for giving birth to the future Maximilian III Joseph. After Maria Amalia’s husband’s death, she spent most of her time in this palace. Eventually, her daughter-in-law, Electress Maria Anna of Saxony, also spent her widowhood at Fürstenried from 1777-97.
Unfortunately, the palace was burnt by the French army in the late 1790’s. During the beginning of the 19th Century, all precious furniture and objects were removed and the castle sat empty for years. During the 19th Century, the palace served as the first schoolhouse for Forstenried and Grossharden (1805-24), military barracks (1820-40’s), and a military hospital (1860-70’s).
In 1883, Fürstenried became the final home of the mentally ill Prince (and later King) Otto of Bavaria (younger brother of Ludwig II). It was chosen for its quiet rural location and [the first floor] was renovated to suit the needs of the prince. After the death of Ludwig II in 1886, King Otto continued to live in the palace until his death in 1916.
Aside from serving as a military hospital again during WWII, Fürstenried has been a Catholic retreat since 1925. It temporarily served as an accommodation for the Ludwig Maximilian University’s Theological Faculty and the Ducal Georgianum in the late 1940’s. This is where the former Pope Benedikt XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) stayed as a student of the Georgianum.
Today Schloss Fürstenried is officially the [Spiritual Retreat] of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising (Exerzitienhaus der Erzdiözese München und Freising). It was modernised in the 1970’s and sadly, only the wall frieze of the blue “Hunting Salon” (Jagdzimmer) on second floor of the three-storey building has been preserved. From the photos from their website, the Banquet Hall (Festsaal) looks pretty elegant.
Whilst entering the palace as a tourist is not possible, you can wander around the garden.
Directions to Schloss Fürstenreid:
- Option 1: Take the U3 Fürstenried West to its final stop and then take Bus 56 Schloss Blutenburg to Tischlerstraße (2 stops). It’s a five-minute walk from the bus stop. If you don’t want to take the bus, it’s a 16-minute walk.
- Option 2: Take the U6 Klinikum Großhadern to Großhadern and then take Bus 56 Fürstenried West to Bellinzonastraße. It’s a seven-minute walk from the stop.