Munich: Nyphenburg Palace and the Olympic Village

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Munich: Nyphenburg Palace and the Olympic Village

Nymphenburg Palace  Located a few miles west of the center of Munich, this is the loveliest of the royal residences in Munich. The oldest part of the palace dates back to the 17th century. But it was during the "Age of Rococo" that its splendid facade, wings, and interior apartments were built.

The Wittelsbach family, who ruled Bavaria for much of its history, were based in Munich and used Nymphenburg as a summer retreat. Back then, it was far out of the city. The Wittelsbachs wanted to create their own Versailles right here in Bavaria.

Several satellite buildings are scattered around the spacious park behind the palace: e.g. the Amalienburg (a country mansion by itself), the Pagodenburg (that's right: a Chinese pagoda), and a Temple of Apollo.

Olympic Village  The most recent of Munich's attractions. The sports and swimming facilities used for the 1972 summer Olympics are spread a full square mile in the Oberwiesen field, some 2 miles from the city center.

During the Olympics, the main stadium held 80,000 spectators; the swimming stadium held 8,000 and the volleyball, track, hockey, and equestrian stadiums held thousands more.

"Tent City": The most interesting aspect of the village is the motif used by the designers: the idea was to create a "tent city," using aluminum and other advanced metals. The effect: a startling mixture of archaic shapes (e.g. curving "tent roofs," huge "pegs," and wire "strings" pulling the roofs tight) and space-age metals. You might call the style "instant Bedouin."

Once again, Munich has shown itself adept at the challenging art of tailoring old to new and new to old.

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