Occupying a majestic position overlooking the Danube Valley of Regensburg: The Walhalla monument. This hall of fame is just ten kilometres from the gates of the UNESCO World Heritage City. It is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Regensburg and local residents, young and old.
For the people of Regensburg, the Walhalla performs the same role as the Isar in Munich: A meeting place, where people spend days and evenings, picnicking, laughing, talking and simply enjoying the views of the idyllic Danube plain. The Danube meanders gently through fertile green floodplains, while tourist steamers and working barges float by serenely. Cornfields reach to the river’s edge, alongside lush meadows and the red-brown rooftops of tiny hamlets. Overhead, an endless blue and white sky.
City temptation in an idyllic pastoral landscapeA perfect summer’s day starts with breakfast in Regensburg’s medieval alleys, continues with a dip in a lake - either the Sarchinger Weiher or the Guggenberger See - and culminates on the steps of the Walhalla with a spectacular sunset – or much later under an equally romantic starry sky.
Visitors and locals of all ages mull over the impressions of the day as they enjoy a light meal. There is chatting and laughter, a music student strums a guitar. A young woman uncorks a bottle of red wine with a satisfying “pop” - perhaps a local “Baierwein”? Back in medieval times, vines really did grow where the Walhalla was built over 180 years ago. In the smallest wine growing region of Germany, some intrepid winemakers still continue the old traditions to this day.
A place that brings people togetherWhether or not they are spurred on by the wine, locals and visitors strike up conversations on the steps of the Walhalla. Tips are exchanged and contacts made, people laugh, chat or simply sit in companionable silence. Young people bring rugs to lie on, eager hikers puff and pant after the strenuous uphill climb. This romantic backdrop is the perfect setting for couples in love. The Walhalla is a place that brings people together. Exactly what its builder, the Bavarian King Ludwig I, would have wanted.
Whether you are travelling by bike, narrow gauge railway or car: The Walhalla is just half an hour from Regensburg. The old town of Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is Germany’s only authentically preserved medieval city. With its churches, historic buildings and squares, it is far more than simply a piece of accessible history: Countless shops, cafes and inns make it a pleasant place to linger and turn every alley into a lively mix of modern urbanity and living history.
Living history – that is also what the Walhalla is all about. The architect of the Classical period, Leo von Klenze, drew his inspiration from the Parthenon, the famous temple on Athens’ Acropolis. He laid the foundation stone on 18th October 1830. Twelve years passed until his client - none other than King Ludwig I - officially opened the hall of fame.
The visitor has to climb 358 steps in order to stand in front of the giant entry portal. This leads into a wide hall, clad in elegant marble. Here you find yourself face-to-face with 130 marble busts. It is a whirlwind tour through German history, which has not yet come to an end: There is still space for four more busts.