The Bavarian dynasty of Wittelsbach

The historic Bavarian dynasty of Wittelsbach is one of the oldest royal families in Germany and provided Bavarian dukes, kings and German emperors from 1180 to 1918. 

Its founder was Otto I (ca. 1020-ca. 1072), and the last Wittelsbach king was Ludwig III of Bavaria (1913-1918). 

The Bavarian Purity Law, which was decreed by the duke of Bavaria William IV in 1516, is still the basis of the Bavarian beer culture. 

However, the most famous member of the Wittelsbach family is Ludwig II, the “fairy tale king”, whose numerous castles in the Alps still impress a lot of people today. 

The Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary Elisabeth, worldwide known as Sissi, also descends from a collateral line of the Wittelsbach family. 

The Wittelsbach family gave their official colors to Bavaria – white and blue, from their coat of arms’ lozenges. The coat of arms of the State of Bavaria also carries the symbols of the districts (Regierungsbezirke): the rake of Franconia, the 3 lions of Swabia, the golden lion of Upper-Palatinate and the blue panther of Upper Bavaria and Lower Bavaria.