Seven museums and archaeological parks await fans of the ancient Romans and Greeks in the "Antiquity in Bavaria" network. The network also includes the Antikensammlung and the Glyptothek in Munich where we met curator Astrid Fendt.
Antiquity in Bavaria
The Romans left many exciting traces not only in the Mediterranean region, but also in southern Germany and especially in Bavaria. In the museums and archaeological parks of the "Antike in Bavaria" network visitors can experience excavation sites and archaeological finds such as coins, clay vessels and jewellery, as well as monumental buildings, sculptures, friezes and ships.
Even as a child, Dr. Astrid Fendt was always interested in history, but after school she initially completed an apprenticeship as a stonemason. In the process, her love for ancient stones grew, and she went on to study classical archaeology and art history.
Later, she spent some time working on Berlin's Museum Island and then began her work at the Königsplatz in Munich. She shared with us why she thinks her museums are so special and what tips she has for things to do in Munich and the surrounding region.
Sunlight is let in through large windows. It falls on plain brick walls and impressive vaults and on marble figures, some of which are larger than life. Dr. Astrid Fendt, curator at the Antikensammlung and the Glyptothek in Munich, loves these rooms.
"This museum is a great introduction to the world of ancient art for visitors," she says during the tour. "The special light, the big, old halls, the sculptures; I sometimes feel like I'm in Italy or Greece in the Glyptothek."
Ancient square in the heart of Munich
The two world-famous museum buildings of the Glyptothek and the Antikensammlungen on Munich's Königsplatz hint at their collections even from the outside. King Ludwig I, who was passionate about antiquity, had them built by the famous architects Leo von Klenze and Georg Friedrich Ziebland in the 19th century and their facades, with their different types of columns, are reminiscent of Greek temples.
That's why the square in the state capital doesn’t seem like it is part of Upper Bavaria, but rather like an ancient forum or a Greek agora. "Ludwig I, however, was not only the developer, he was also a passionate collector. We owe a large part of the treasures here to him," says Fendt. And to this day, the spacious, green, and open square is a popular destination for Munich residents during the day and in the evening.
During the tour, the expert tells us that Munich has even more interesting buildings inspired by antiquity. The Siegestor (Victory Gate) in Schwabing, for example, or the Monopteros in the English Garden.
We ask her which exhibits you shouldn't miss in Munich's two museums. "Oh, there are quite a few," the curator says with a laugh. "Making a choice is quite difficult," she says. "In the Antikensammlungen, where we primarily show vases, terracottas, bronzes, and jewellery, I recommend seeing the drinking bowl by the Brygos painter depicting a dancing maenad.
In the Glyptothek, which is our sculpture collection, you should see the Barberine Faun, a larger-than-life marble figure. It shows a naked young man leaning against a rock, half asleep. To me, the Faun embodies everything one associates with the pleasurable side of antiquity. "
Democracy and pleasure culture
Astrid Fendt's fascination with antiquity has grown over the years. Philosophy, democracy, trade routes, a convivial culture of enjoyment with wine and culture; Astrid Fendt explains in guided tours that Romans, Etruscans and Greeks were pioneers for much of what we love today
"I'm impressed by what masterpieces the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans were capable of at the time with their simple means. They really set standards."
But the scientist also does not conceal how arduous everyday life was for the “regular people." She has great respect for that, too. "Because you tend to forget that when you look at these great works of art."
Info on the Antikensammlung and the Glyptothek: antike-am-koenigsplatz.de
... by Astrid Fendt
City walk Munich
I recommend a stroll through Schwabing, where I live. In the Hohenzollern- and Kaiserstraße you can visit fun and fancy stores and galleries. . Afterwards, I like to walk towards the English Garden to stop by Fräulein Müller, which is a trendy hangout, for a drink.
I really like Villa Stuck which is the Art Nouveau artists' house that the sculptor Franz von Stuck had built in 1897/98. In addition to special exhibitions, you can see works by Stuck, who was a fan of antiquity. The first Friday of the month is Friday Late. Starting at 6 pm there is free admission, food and culture. It's really fun and I've been there myself.
villastuck.de (only in German)
I really like the clear Osterseen, which are located south of Lake Starnberg. You can swim there and there are several hiking tours to choose from. I always like to get something from the kiosk Seemadames
All "antiquity" museums at a glance:
- Antikensammlungen and Glyptothek,Munich
The museum buildings look reminiscent of Greek temples. On display at Königsplatz are sculptures, vases, terracottas, bronzes and jewellery.
Antikensammlungen and Glyptothek
- Archäologische Staatssammlung, Munich
Valuable treasures of antiquity in Bavaria. Until the end of the renovation works in 2022, special exhibitions are located at other locations in Munich.
- Pompejanum, Aschaffenburg
Replica of a Pompeian residence by Ludwig I. Original Roman artworks and special exhibitions can also be seen.
- Celtic-Roman Museum, Manching
The highlights are two Roman military shipsthat were found in the region. The museum also displays the largest known Celtic gold treasure.
Celtic-Roman Museum, Manching
- Roman Museum, Weißenburg
The valuable Weissenburg Roman treasure was not found until 1979. Roman Weißenburg is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes (ORL).
Roman Museum (only in German)
- Archaeological Park Cambodunum, Kempten
Guests can experience an excavation site of the Roman provincial capital. The remains of the temple district, the thermal baths and the forum with basilica can be seen.
Archaeological Park Cambodunum (only in German)
- Roman Museum/Roman Camp in the Armory, Augsburg
Exciting finds from the region. The exhibition "Roman Camp - Roman Augsburg in Boxes" in the Zeughaus.
Roman Museum/Roman Camp in the Armory (only in German)