Visitors to the Bavarian town of Regensburg can expect a royal welcome at St. Emmeram Palace – the residence of the Thurn and Taxis family for some two hundred years. As compensation for losing the Bavarian mail monopoly, the princes were given the former Abbey of St. Emmeram in 1812. From 1816, this was converted into a magnificent residence that is now considered one of Germany's finest example of historicist architecture – a revival of styles from the past. The Romanesque-Gothic cloister, an impressive reminder of the building's history as a Benedictine abbey, dates back to the 11th century. Other highlights include the neo-Renaissance marble staircase and a number of state rooms such as the 'yellow' and 'silver' salons. The throne room is suitably splendid with a gold and white décor, while the double-height ballroom – a medley of rococo and neo-rococo styles – recalls the pomp of ceremonies past. In the baroque library, whose ceiling fresco from 1737 is by the famous artist Cosmas Damian Asam, there are almost 120,000 volumes. From 1910 to 1935 the royal brewery served as a coach house, stables and the official residence of the royal major-domo, Also worth a visit is the royal treasury with its exquisite items of furniture, prized weaponry and fine porcelain. Regensburg itself has many other attractions, of course, including the Valhalla – the 'hall of the slain' – built between 1830 and 1842 by Leo von Klenze for King Ludwig I of Bavaria. The Hall of Liberation overlooking the nearby town of Kelheim commemorates the victorious battle fought against Napoleon during the Wars of Liberation.
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