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Donaustauf bei Regensburg
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ABOVE: Busts of famous Germans, Swiss, and Austrians line the walls of Walhalla. INSET BELOW: A general view of Walhalla's statuary hall.

Inside Germany's Temple of Fame

photoAs you step through the entrance on the Danube side of Walhalla, you'll encounter a ticket booth. Beyond that is a large hall lined with marble and statuary. Lining the walls are some 130 busts of famous people from the German-speaking world plus 64 tablets that honor unknown people who made notable contributions to German art, architecture, and history. (See list of names.)

Ludwig I himself chose the first group of 150 notables and unknowns to be honored with busts or plaques; more have been added over the last century and a half, ranging from household names like Johannes Brahms and Albert Einstein to Sophie Scholl, a Munich student and resistance leader who was executed by the Nazis in 1943.

To be eligible for induction into Walhalla, a candidate must have been dead for at least 20 years, a native speaker of German, and a person who has made a significant contribution to society. Nominations are reviewed by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.

  • Tip: If you aren't fascinated by German historical figures, don't feel guilty about enjoying the view from Walhalla's terrace and just taking a peek inside the building.)

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