On a guided tour of the Munich “Ruhmeshalle” (Hall of Fame) and Bavaria monument, DAAD scholars and a DAAD-Freundeskreis member dived deep into King Ludwig I’s efforts to unify Bavaria.

The classicist Ruhmeshalle and Bavaria statue are among Munich’s most important monuments. They were  erected at the same time, 1843 -1853. The Ruhmeshalle was conceived as a pantheon for celebrated Bavarians from all ‚tribes,’ from the fields of politics, science and the arts. The adjacent huge statue symbolizes the Bavarian tradition and the efforts that King Ludwig I made to unify the people of Bavaria when it had become a kingdom, thanks to Napoleon, and needed to define its political and cultural identity.

We first had a guided tour of the Ruhmeshalle, where we learned about the history and politics of King Ludwig’s reign and all the people whom he had immortalized here.  Then everyone had the chance to climb up inside the statue and appreciate the wonder of sculpture and architecture from within, while also getting an incredible view of Munich as a bonus. The Bavaria is the first colossal sand-cast bronze monument (18.52 m) made since antiquity, and through her eyes we looked down on the Theresienwiese, where the Oktoberfest takes place, towards the city center.

The ensemble Bavaria/Ruhmeshalle – like the Walhalla (by the Danube near Regensburg which we will visit in the summer) and Befreiungshalle (near Kelheim ), which were also built by King Ludwig I, unifies art and politics in a  unique way. King Ludwig’s heritage is of great importance to Munich: The city owes him the Oktoberfest, the Königsplatz ensemble, Feldherrnhalle, Siegestor, Ludwigsstraße including the LMU buildings, Ludwigskirche and Staatsbibliothek, as well as the Alte Pinakothek.

Mark Hovsepyan, RG Munich