Herrenchiemsee is a complex of royal buildings on Herreninsel
, an island in the Chiemsee
, Bavaria's largest lake, 60 km south east of Munich
. Together with the neighbouring island of Frauenchiemsee and the uninhabited Krautinsel it forms the municipality of Chiemsee.
After being purchased by King Ludwig II of Bavaria the former Herrenchiemsee monastery was converted into a royal residence known as the Old Palace (Altes Schloss), while the king built Herrenchiemsee Palace also known as the New Palace (Neues Schloss), the largest of his palaces.
The unfinished New Palace was designed by Christian Jank, Franz Seitz, and Georg von Dollmann and built between 1878 and 1885.The palace was shaped in an 'U' with wings flanking a central edifice. Only 16 of the 70 rooms were on the ground floor.It was to have been an equivalent to the Palace of Versailles, but only the central portion was built before the king died and construction was discontinued with 50 of the 70 rooms still incomplete. It was never intended to be a perfectly exact replica of the French royal palace and in several places even surpasses it. Like Versailles, the Hall of Mirrors has 17 arches, the Hall of Peace and the Hall of War on either side have three windows each.
The window niches at Herrenchiemsee are wider than those at Versailles, making its central facade a few metres wider. The dining room features an elevator table and the World
's largest Meissen porcelain chandelier. Technologically, the building also benefits from nearly two centuries of progress. While the original Versailles palace lacked toilets, water, and central heat, the New Palace has all of these, including a large heated bathtub.
Being built on an island it is only accessible by water, today via a system of small ferries. As a result, and of being unfinished, Herrenchiemsee always remained slightly in the shadow of Neuschwanstein.
The formal gardens are filled with fountains, a copy of the Versailles Bassin de Latone, and statues in both the classical style typical of Versailles and the fantastic romanticism favored by King Ludwig. Statues reminiscent of antiquity are found throughout the gardens, overwrought in the grand style of Richard Wagner's romantic operas.