Looking for a slice of Greece in Germany? Look no further than the stunning Walhalla.

Named after the warrior’s paradise of Germanic mythology, Valhalla, you’ll feel like a warrior yourself if you join AmaWaterways for one of our active adventures: a bike ride through the Regensburg countryside towards the neo-classical marble temple inspired by Athens’ Parthenon on the Acropolis.

But the Walhalla celebrates the heritage of Bavaria. Representing 2,000 years of history, 130 busts and 65 plaques line the interior and honour German-speaking writers, clerics, scientists, warriors and other men and women. Interestingly for his time, Ludwig I specifically designed this to honour members of both sexes, making them eligible to be elected for this high honour. Since the completion of the memorial in 1847, plaques and busts have continued to be erected in honor of German-speaking luminaries throughout both modern and classical history.

Nestled high above the Danube, the Walhalla is the brainchild of the Bavarian King Ludwig I (a forefather of the legendary “Swan King” or “Mad King” Ludwig II, known for Neuschwanstein Castle among others). Ludwig I, who reigned between 1825-1848, built the Walhalla for much the same reason his grandson built his fanciful castles: to remind Bavarians of their greatness. In the case of Walhalla, Bavaria was coming off what many perceived as a humiliating defeat by Napoleon and his soldiers in 1807. Granted, if you’re going to lose, losing to Napoleon who bested most of Europe seems like it might not be the most embarrassing loss ever… But no matter, Ludwig wanted to bolster pride in his homeland.

To that end, Ludwig brought in Court architect Leo von Klenze to design the Walhalla. The original honourees include the legendary printer Johannes Gutenberg, mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, Holy Roman Empress (and German Queen) Maria Theresa, composer Ludwig van Beethoven, painter Jan van Eyck, poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and of course, Ludwig I himself as he couldn’t help but include him in such an honourary party.

Later additions include Martin Luther and composers Richard Strauss and Johann Sebastian Bach. Since the end of World War II, many additions to the Walhalla represent those who were against Hitler and National Socialist regimes of the 30s – such as German-born Jewish mathematician Albert Einstein and the political activist Sophie Scholl who was murdered in 1943.

Of course, part of the excitement of riding with us to the Walhalla lies in the scenic ride along the way. The bike path is popular among locals and tourists alike because of the Danube Valley’s breathtaking views. Enjoy taking in both the Danube’s beauty from the hills above and the iconic sight of the Walhalla, sometimes referred to as Germany’s Hall of Fame.

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