Dachau Palace - History and Facts | History Hit

Dachau Palace

Dachau, Bavaria, Germany

Sitting on a hill overlooking the River Amper, the original 12th century castle on the site built for the Counts of Dachau was demolished in 1403. It made way for a four-winged Renaissance-style palace for the rulers of Bavaria built between 1546 and 1577

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About Dachau Palace

Overlooking the River Amper, the original 12th century castle built by the House of Wittenbach for the Counts of Dachau was demolished in 1403. Just under a century and a half later in 1546, a thirty-year construction project started on the new Dachau Palace.

History of Dachau Palace

A spectacular four-winged Renaissance-style palace emerged during the reigns of Wilhelm IV and Albrecht V and was designed by Munich court architects Heinrich Schöttl and Wilhelm Egkl for the rulers of Bavaria.

During renovations in the mid-1560s, Duke Albrecht commissioned a series of intricate tapestries chronicling the deeds of Hercules from Belgian artist Michel de Bos. They were subsequently transferred to the Munich Residence to make way for a gallery of portraits of Bavaria’s ruling elite and their families, however he undoubted star attraction at Dachau Palace is the spectacular wooden coffered Renaissance ceiling in the Banqueting Hall.

Saved from later demolition (as was Hans Thonauer’s grisaille painting), it was created by Munich-based woodcarver Hans Wisreutter and it remains one of the most impressive in all of southern Germany. It was transferred to the Bavarian National Museum in the 1860s but returned to Dachau in 1977.

Maximillian II Emanuel commissioned Joseph Effner to create a Baroque redesign in 1715 and then between 1806 and 1809, King Maximillian I ordered the demolition of three wings that had been badly damaged during the Napoleonic Wars because he couldn’t afford to rebuild them. Today, only the south-west wing is extant.

The stunning Renaissance gardens were created in the late 1570s based on plans by painter-architect Friedrich Sustris. They were designed with walls and flower beds in geometrical order but were replaced in 1715 by Effner during his Baroque redesign with large broderie beds, topiary boxes and floral borders. Subsequent 18th century additions included a forest, play equipment and fruit trees.

Dachau Palace today

The vistas from the top of the hill – schlossberg – are spectacular, looking down on the city of Munich and out over the Bavarian Alps and today, visitors can take a self-guided tour of the palace and the grounds, including the Bee Garden.

The palace is open year round (closed Mondays), with slightly shorter hours during the winter. There’s a cafe and restaurant on site: the magnificent Renaissance-ceilinged ballroom is often used for large events – check whether anything’s on before you visit.

Getting to Dachau Palace

The palace is in the centre of town, and easily accessible. There’s a car park close by if you’re driving – it’s about 40 minutes each way from Munich. Dachau’s main train station is a 15 minute walk away.