About ten minutes from my office, in the hills of Donaustauf overlooking the Donau (Danube) river, is a monument called Walhalla. (In German, this is pronounced just like Valhalla in English.) Walhalla is modeled after the Parthenon in Athens. It was built in the 1800s by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. (Well, it was built by people who built things on the orders of King Ludwig I, but I think he still gets credit.)
Whereas the Valhalla of legend is the home to deceased warriors only, this Walhalla also has busts of royalty, musicians, artists, scientists, and philosophers. Here’s a short list of people memorialized in Walhalla that you might have heard of:
- Ludwig van Beethoven
- Nicolaus Copernicus
- Johannes Kepler
- Albrecht Dürer
- Georg Friedrich Händl
- Richard Wagner
- Johann Sebastian Bach
- Albert Einstein
…and that’s just eight of the nearly two hundred plaques and busts within the main hall.
Best of all, though, is the view. Walhalla has an amazing perch. This is a place where amazing photographs can be taken. I’m told that in the warmer months, it’s not uncommon to find people sitting on the steps, having picnics, and generally enjoying the hell out of overlooking the Donau. I took a few pictures on a recent visit there, and despite the small amounts of restorative construction going on, it’s still amazing. I look forward to going back there after we’re in proper springtime and there’s more sunlight and greenery. Here’s a brief look at the place.