Munich City guide
The capital city of the Free State of Bavaria and the third-largest city of Germany ( 1.3 million inhabitants ) lies in the center of the Bavarian plateau. It was founded on the 14th of June in the year 1158 by the Guelph Duke Heinrich den Lowen ( Henry the Lion ). Later on, Bavaria was taken over by the House of Wittelsbach. Munich then became a residency with the status of a city ( 1294 ). In 1504 Munich became the capital of the entire Duchy of Bavaria, in 1806 the capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria.
Today Munich is a center of European culture, an important industrial town, and an international center for economic affairs. Tourism accounts for more than 5 million overnight stays. The particular charm of the metropolis on the banks of the Isar – also called “the world capital with a heart” – lies in the mingling of tradition with simultaneous cosmopolitan flair.
The heart of the city seen from the air. This gives a good view of the Neue Rathaus which was built in three phases ( 1867-1903 ) by v.Hauberisser. ln, the tower of the town hall is the chiming clock with the clockwork animated figures, which is the fourth largest in Europe. Every day at 11 A.M. the figures rotate to the music of the chimes. They depict scenes from the history of Munich.
Marienplatz ( Virgin Mary Square ), Neues Rathaus ( New Town Hall ), and Frauenkirche ( Church of Our Lady )
The Pedestrian area
The Center of the Pedestrian area is the Marienplatz with the old and new Town Hall, this is connected to the Kaufingerstrasse which is followed by the Neuhauserstrasse which then reaches the Karlsplatz. There are also roads branching off which also belong to the pedestrian area, such as the Theatinerstrasse or the area around the cathedral. The pedestrian area was started in 1972 and has expanded more and more. It is where the people of Munich spend a lot of their time. There are lots of flower pots and beds, chairs to rest, and different types of playful fountains making Munich’s pedestrian area one of the most attractive in Europe. There are large department stores inviting you to come in and browse, and a whole range of restaurants and places to eat offering the original Munich specialties.
Weather permitting, the lively city atmosphere becomes even more attractive when street musicians and amateur dramatic groups perform. The photo on the left shows the Neuhauser Strasse with the Michaelskirche ( 1583-88 ). the largest church of the Renaissance period. Other things to see in the pedestrian area are the Burgers ( citizen’s hall ), the Alte Akademie ( old academy ), and the Jagdmuseum ( hunting museum ). The Viktualienmark a large and traditional food market, also forms part of the pedestrian area. It originated in the middle ages based on the community tradition, and despite today’s international pallet of goods on offer such tropical fruits. French wines, olives, and lobster, it has still maintained its typical Munich – Bavarian atmosphere. Amongst the numerous stands ( offering flowers, fruit, and vegetables, milk produce and eggs. meat and bread ), the pleasant beer garden and big, shady chestnut trees as well as the traditional Maypole, there are six fountain figures in remembrance of popular Munich comedians including Karl Valentin, Liesl Karlstadt and Weiss Ferdl.
The Frauenkirche ( Church of Our Lady )
Its true name is “Cathedral of our Lady”. The foundation stone for one of the largest gothic hall churches in southern Germany was laid by Duke Sigismund in 1468. The architect was Jorg von Halspach who died in 1488 and whose work was continued by L. Rottaler. The towers with their unusual heads, which were not built until 1525. are today the most well-known landmark of the city In 1821 the Cathedral became the cathedral church of the archbishop of Munich-Freising. Inside you can visit the bishops’ tombs, the vaults of the House of Wittelsbach, and the tomb of the last King of Bavaria, Ludwig III.
The Konigsplatz was inspired by King Ludwig I and built by Lv. Klenze. The green area is enclosed by three buildings: the Propylaea, the building with the National Antique Collection, and facing this the Glyptothek ( 1816-1830 ). The Glyptothek is the oldest German museum for sculptures and invites you to stroll through Roman portraits of emperors and private persons through a period of five centuries. One of the most famous sculptures is the “Barberini Faun” from the 3rd century B.C. Together with the National Antique Collection, this is the richest exhibition of antique art in Germany.
The church owes its existence to Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, wife of Elector Ferdinand Marias. The Electress
kept her vows as thanks for the long-hoped-for birth of a hereditary prince and had an extremely beautiful house of God built with a court church and also a monastery for the Theatine monks. The Italian A. Barelli was the architect ( 1663 ), his prototype was the mother church of the Theatine Order in Rome. The church, with its basilican design in Italian
high baroque, was the major inspiration for the later Baroque style in Southern Germany. The elaborate interior decoration is from G.N. Perti, among others.
Built and donated ( 1733-1746 ) by the brothers Asam in honor of the martyr Johan Nepomuk ( 1340-1393 ). The unusual building built by the brothers Asam is one of the greatest works of Bavarian Rococo. It is to be found, rather hidden, on the right-hand side of the Sendlinger Straße, just before the Sendlinger Tor ( old town gate ), flanked by the Asam house of the left and the presbytery on the right, right in the middle of a closed row of houses. The extravagant ornamental interior design is of particular interest. The photo on the left shows the holy trinity which is part of the most important feature of the church, the two-story-high altar.
Proudly standing in Munich’s glamour shopping boulevard, the Maximilianstraße, is a building in classicistic style – the Nationaltheater. It was built
by K.v.Fischer was a copy of the Paris Odeon and became one of the most important opera houses in Europe ( opened in 1818 ). The house was twice almost completely destroyed, the first time shortly after the opening in 1823 and the second time during the second world war in 1943. Both times the building was reconstructed in its original form. Three Greek styles are manifested in the doric entrance hall, the ionic stairway, and the Corinthia royal foyer. The photo on the left shows the auditorium with the royal box.
The elongated building standing at right angles to the Barer Straße contains a collection of paintings of worldwide reputation. The chief treasures are the early German and Flemish works, however also Italian ( e.g. L.d. Vincis “Maria and Child” ), French ( e.g. Bouchers “Marquise de Pompadour” ) and Dutch paintings such as Weyden’s “Adoration of the Magi”. The museum is a real find for all lovers of art. A large number of the paintings are from the Munich
Collection of the House of Wittelsbach. This is therefore not just a collection relating to the history of art, rather it is basically a royal collection.
This classicistic building is a copy of one in Florence and shows King Ludwig I’s preference for Italian architecture. The Feldherrnhalle was built by F.v.Gartner ( 1841/44 ) with memorials for the military leader’s Count Tilly and Prince Wrede. The figures were modeled by L. Schwanthaler and cast by F.v.Miller. The monument at the back is in remembrance of the heroic action of the Bavarian army. The architectural style of this building harmonizes exceptionally well with the Theatinerkirche, the Royal Residence, and the Ludwigstraße leading up to it. This emphasizes the southern European character of the Odeonsplatz.
There is a very special atmosphere in Munich, coming from the rippling of the many fountains. You will find them nearly everywhere when walking around, also at the Lenbachplatz. It is dominated by one of the most beautiful fountains made in the last century: the Wittelsbacher Brunnen. The city had it built upon the completion of the water supply system. A monument was thus put up to which the House of Wittelsbach made a large contribution. This fountain made by
A.v. Hildebrandt ( 1893/95 ) was most successful both in a town-planning aspect as well as regarding the sculptural qualities, and the fountain allegorizes the power and the blessing of water.
There’s a song which goes “In Munich, there’s a Hofbrauhaus, one, two and down the hatch!”. This world-famous beer-drinking house has been at the “Platzl” in the center of the old town for 400 years. Founded in 1589 as the Royal Breweries of Duke Wilhelm V. From 1830 it was the general meeting place, and the flood of beer lovers became so great that the place was forever being extended. The building, in the old Munich townhouse-style as it is today, with the festive hall, the taprooms, and the traditional drinking quarters was built in 1896/97 by Max Littmann and G. Maxon. This most popular of all beer-drinking places in the world is visited every year by four million people.
St. Peter’s, the first parish church of Munich, is one of the oldest and most respected landmarks of the city. In 1157, before the founding of the city through Heinrich den Lowen, the foundation stone for “Old Peter” was laid on “Peter’s mount”. The village settlement belonging to it with its monastery was called “Munichen” and is today the city of Munich.
The original structure of the building is gothic. The present external architecture was not until after the Renaissance. It is possible to go up the tower, which is unmistakable with its two clocks positioned one above the other. From the top of the tower, there is a magnificent view across the city.
The Royal Residence
Its date of origin goes back to 1385 when the House of Wittelsbach left their old residence the “Alten Hot” due to the burgher uprising and erected the “Neuveste” at the northeast corner of the city walls. With its gardens and courtyards, the Royal residence is the largest closed complex in Munich. It comprises three main sections: the Maximilian Residence, the Royal Buildings, and the Banqueting Hall. In addition to the Royal Residence itself, you can visit the Treasury of the Residence, the coin collection, the collection of Egyptian art, and the Residence Museum. The photo on the right shows one of the courtyards: the Brunnenhof.
German Museum, Munich ( Deutsches Museum )
With its unique collections, the museum is situated on one of the islands in the Isar and has an exhibition area covering 40,000 m2. It is the most significant technical-scientific museum in the world. In this museum, you can feel the spirit of invention and it accompanies man’s development from mineral resources and the extraction thereof ( e.g. replica of a mine with original large machines ) up to space history which is centered around the Zeiss Planetarium.
The museum is great fun for old and young with its popular demonstration equipment which you can operate yourself. Here fun is combined with a high didactical value.
Olympiapark was constructed for the XXth Olympic Games in 1972 and is a much-used sport and recreation area. The original roof is from Prof. Behnisch who also designed the Olympic Park. The roof is the largest and most expensive roof in the world ( the surface covers 75,000 sq. meters ). One of the enclosures under the roof is the Olympic Hall which is used at night for various functions. From the Olympic Tower ( 290 meters ), with its inviting rotating restaurant, you can have a fantastic view when the weather is good, extending over the city to the Alps. This gives quite a different look to Munich and is a sight to be remembered.
Munich City History
- 500 B.C. Immigration of the Celts.
- 15 B.C. The Romans conquer the Alpine foothills.
- 526 A.D. After a brief rule by the Ostrogoths, settlement by the Bavarians begins.
- 1156 Henry the Lion becomes Duke of Bavaria.
- 1157 Henry destroys the bridge over the Isar River at Oberfohringen belonging to the Bishop of Freising, in order to route the important salt transport over his own bridge at “Munichen” and to collect the bridge toll.
- 1158 The tour de force is submitted to the emperor. In the “Augsburg Decision “, Friedrich Barbarossa transfers the market and coinage rights to the Munichen settlement, on the condition, however, that from then on a third of the revenue from the toll and the coinage must be given to the bishop.
- 1255 The Wittelsbach family, which has ruled since 1180, transfers its court to Munich.
- 1271 The city, which has grown considerably, receives a second parish church, the later Church of Our Lady.
- 1328 Ludwig the Bavarian becomes Roman Emperor. Munich becomes the intellectual center of the country.
- 1337 With the completion of the Isar Gate, the construction work on the new fortification reaches its end.
- 1505 Munich becomes the residence city of the entire Bavarian Duchy.
- 1632 King Gustavs Adolphus of Sweden occupies Munich.
- 1638 Dedication of the Virgin Mary Column.
- 1705 Peasant’s battle at Sendlingen.
- 1791 Munich’s privilege as the fortified city is revoked by Elector Karl Theodor.
- 1805 Napoleon moves into Munich as an ally.
- 1806 Proclamation of the Kingdom of Bavaria.
- 1825 King Ludwig I ascends the Bavarian throne. With the erection of many important buildings and the construction of broad streets with wide squares, he becomes the creator of the new Munich.
- 1886 Following the tragic death of King Ludwig II, the fairytale king, Luitpold takes over the reins of government as Prince Regent.
- 1918 World War I brings the Bavarian kingdom to an end. The last king, Ludwig III, flees but does not abdicate.
- 1923 Hitler coup d’etat.
- 1940 The devastating aerial bombardments of World II begin.
- 1957 Munich becomes a million city.
- 1972 The XXth Olympic Summer Games are held in Munich.
- 1980 Pope John Paul II pays a visit to Munich.
- 1988 On October 3rd Franz Josef Straus – the well-known Minister-President of Bavaria for many years – died. He was succeeded by Max Streib.