If you have been to the Oktoberfest in Munich Germany, you will have come across the mighty Lady Bavaria Statue.
Learn about this intriguing, not to miss Bavaria monument and plan your visit.
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🗽 What is the Bavaria Statue?
The Bavaria statue is a bronze cast statue depicting lady Bavaria. It was commissioned by the Bavarian king Ludwig 1. In German, it is known as die Bavaria (the lady Bavaria).
Designed by the famous Munich artists Leo von Klenze and Ludwig Schwanthaler, it was cast in several batches between 1844 and 1850 and erected as a complete piece in the same year.
The statue shall represent Bavaria as a proud monumental lady, as it towers above the Theresienwiese, the venue of the world renowned yearly Oktoberfest.
Behind the statue and part of the complex with the Bavaria park, stands the neoclassical hall of fame, which is better known as the Ruhmeshalle in German.
In the hall of fame, you will find the busts of important Bavarians, similar as at the Walhalla monument near Regensburg, which was also built by Ludwig I of the house of Wittelsbach.
Both the Bavaria statue and the adjoining hall of fame, can be accessed for visitations.
📕 Fun Facts
The Bavaria statue has been stirring emotions for over a century, and it’s a special monument for many good reasons. Here are some of the most interesting facts:
Lady Bavaria stands at 60 feet (ca. 18 meters) tall on a stone platform, and in total, it’s about 135 feet (ca. 41 meters) tall and it weighs about 87 tons.
Incidentally, the patriotic monument depicts the eternal glory of Bavaria and the sword in her hand represents the state’s fortitude and the strong defensive capabilities of Bavaria.
She is holding an oak wreath in her left-hand high above her head. It’s the strongest symbol and shall represent a gift of honor for all those great Bavarians in the hall of fame. The oak tree has a special place in the heart of the Bavarian people.
A huge lion crouches by her right side. The lion has been the symbol of Bavaria since medieval times. It first appeared on ruling house banners, and in the 19th century the lion appeared increasingly in the form of statues such as at the Feldherrnhalle at the Odeonsplatz, opposite the palace Residenz in Munich.
She is depicted wearing a bear fur and a robe. The bear fur is considered controversial by some and the aspect came to light over the ages as some have called it inappropriate.
The colossal statue has been considered a technical masterpiece, as it was the first colossal statue entirely cast bronze since the antiquity.
King Ludwig I financed the statue, the adjoining hall of fame and many other monuments entirely as private projects. Already as a crown prince, he had worked on an idea of creating a vast monumental statue and hall of fame. He organized a competition to pick his artists.
Leo von Klenze and Ludwig Schwanthaler tweaked on the design over the course of a couple of years. The idea was to depict an antique greek-like woman, but eventually, it gained more on Germanist vibes. Leo von Klenze was a follower of the classical antiquity, while Ludwig Schwanthaler rode on the Romanticism wave.
The statue pieces were entirely cast by Ferdinand von Miller in Munich, who received the knight’s title for his work. His uncle had initially received the title of master caster, but he passed away right before the project was started.
A full-size copy of its hand is part of the metallurgy collection in the Deutsches Museum. The hand was recreated in 1907 by the son of Ferdinand Miller, Oskar von Miller. He founded the Deutsches Museum, which is now known as the world’s largest technical museum.
The head of the statue was first cast with reused bronze Turkish canons. Ludwig’s second son, Otto von Wittelbach, was king of Greece at the time and the canons were the recycled leftovers from the Navarino naval Greek freedom battle against Türkiye.
Lady Bavaria may have been the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty, standing in New York. It was a gift of friendship of the French in the old world to the Americans.
Over a million Euros was spent by the city of Munich on restoring the statue in 2002. It got extensively damaged over the last 100 years by harsh weather conditions, and it was in dire need of repairs.
The hall of fame and the Bavaria statue are not the only monuments from Munich’s most generous patron, king Ludwig I. You will find more neoclassical buildings commissioned by Ludwig I around the Königsplatz, such as the Propyläen gate, the Glyphotek museum and the Staatliche Antikensammlungen museum.
🧭 How to visit the Bavaria Statue?
The Theresienwiese, lovingly called the Wiesn (meadows translated) in Bavarian German (Boarisch), is a massive event area. The statue is overlooking the Wiesn, and therefore you can access the stairway up to the statue platform freely.
The colossal building of the hall of fame can be visited only in the summer months. Walk through the wide corridors and immerse yourself in the history of Bavaria. The winds of time will definitely enthrall you from there.
The secret of the statue is an internal circular staircase, which can be visited. Walk up to the top and through small windows you get a unique view of the Theresienwiese.
To see the hall of fame and the staircase will cost you €5 per person. Get some comfortable shows to climb the 130 steps up to the head.
Avoid visiting in the heat because it can get claustrophobic hot in there. Furthermore, during the Frühlingsfest celebrations (spring festival) and Oktoberfest it can get busy, BUT the view is all the more exciting with the tents and rides on the Wiesn.
The statue and hall of fame can be visited from 1st April to 16th October in 2023. Visits are closed after that during the winter months and restart again in April 2024, so you won’t be able to go up there if you are coming for the Tollwood winter festival.
🚈 Getting There
I strongly recommend taking public transportation in Munich to get from A to B because the network is great and affordable. Especially since Munich invested in the extensive S-Bahn network for the 1972 Olympic Games.
The municipality is trying to reduce private car traffic in the city, and therefore you will need a green emission sticker because the inner city is a low emission zone.
Besides, car parking is expensive in Munich and underground parking isn’t that common near the Theresienwiese.
Take the Subway (aka Metro, Tube, U-Bahn). Here are the stations and lines:
- Schwanthalerhöhe Station – Closest to the Bavaria statue, in fact, the station is right behind the hall of fame. It’s a 5-minute walk to the statue. Take the U4 or U5 metro line to get there.
- Theresienwiese Station – A station before the Schwanthalerhöhe if you are coming from the old town. This station is associated with the direct access to the fair ground entr. That means to get to the Oktoberfest, winter Tollwood fair and the spring fair. A walk from here to the statue takes about 15 minutes.
- Poccistrasse Station – Take the U3 or U6 and walk for about 12 minutes from Poccistrasse to the statue. We preferred using this station during major festivity days because the metro line to the Schwanthalerhöhe and Theresienwiese tends to be busier.
🏰 More attractions nearby
You will find a few interesting tourist and cultural sites nearby to visit. Collect more ideas and discover the city from the vast list of Munich attractions.
- Bavaria Park – Part of the Bavaria complex, this green spot behind the hall of fame invites relaxing.
- Deutsche Verkehrszentrum Museum – A comprehensive transportation museum collection, which is part of the Deutsches Museum. Located adjoining the Wiesn between the Bavaria park and the Schwanthalerhöhe metro station.
- Endless Staircase – The architectural sculpture in the shape of a double helix.
Can I buy a replica of the Bavaria statue?
Surprisingly, the area around the Bavaria statue is not a tourist trap as you might have come across anywhere else (think Eiffel Tower in Paris). Therefore, you won’t find anyone trying to sell you an overpriced, cheaply made mini replica of the statue. However, you might come across a replica to buy at one of the major museums in Munich such as the Deutsches Museum, the Munich Museum or the Bavarian national museum.
What are some other famous statues in Munich?
The Juliet Capulet Statue near the Marienplatz and next to the toy museum is a popular statue in Munich. People like to rub her exposed breasts for good luck (I know…). Then there is the Orlando-di-Lasso-Statue, who was a 16th century composer, and his statue was turned into an unofficial Michael Jackson tribute, with posters of Michael’s life, including candles and flowers.
What is the symbol of Bavaria?
The coat of arms consists of white and blue rhombuses and the lion is the symbol of Bavaria. The lady Bavaria is the personification of the free state of Bavaria.