Destination Germany: King Ludwig's Befreiungshalle

This week we are going to take a look at a really cool monument that is located in the southwest of the country. We are traveling down to the state of Bavaria to the city of Kelheim. Overlooking the entire city is a mountain called Michelsberg. And at the very top of this mountain is a grand memorial monument called Befreiungshalle.

It was built by King Ludwig I of Bavaria way back in the 1800s to commemorate the victories against Napoleon during the wars of Liberation. Those took place during the beginning of the century and in 1842, King Ludwig had started the construction of the memorial and it was finished nearly 20 years later in 1863.

Click to expand. Michael Heichler / Flickr

The Halle is a huge circular building that sits at the top of a mountain that you can see from a long way off.

There are three main tiers to this golden yellow building with the largest at bottom getting a little narrower as it gets taller. At the top of the first tier are a ring of human statues that represent each of the German regions that were involved in the battles against Napoleon. The second tier is decorated with impressive columns and the third is topped with statues of German warriors.

Both the second and third tiers have balconies that visitors can look out and down the mountain across the Bavarian lands.

The interior of the memorial looks exceedingly marvellous. You might first notice the beautiful marble floor and its artistic pattern that covers the entire bottom of the building in one large domed room. In the center is an inscription on the ground indicating that these wars and their participants will never be forgotten.There is a round oculus in the ceiling that gives natural light to the entire room.

A ring around the inner room has plaques with inscriptions of each battle that took place. Joining these are 34 angels, each seven meters tall, holding hands to form a circle.  

You can take about an hour and a half to hike up there from the bottom of the mountain or you can take the Ludwig railway for a fee.

While there are no regularly guided tours, if you are thinking about going with a group you can call ahead and arrange one.

So if you are in central Bavaria I would highly recommend you go to the city of Kelheim to check out the Befreiungshalle!