MUNICH CITY GUIDE
Munich is the capital city of Bavaria, Germany. Munich is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is the third largest city in Germany. Ahead of it are Berlin and Hamburg. There are approximately 1.35 million inhabitants within Munich. The city's motto is "München Mag Dich" ("Munich Likes You"), before 2006 it was "Weltstadt mit Herz". Its native name, München, is derived from the Old German word for Mönche, which means "Monks" in English. This is the reason for the monk on the city's coat of arms. Black and gold - the colours of the Holy Roman Empire - have been the city's official colours since the time of Ludwig the Bavarian. Munich is not the only location within Bavaria known as "München", three locations exist. The one which is known as "Munich", another which is northeast of the city of Nuremberg, and also a town north of the city of Passau.
At the centre of the city is the Marienplatz - a large open square named after the Mariensäule, a Marian column in its centre - with the Old and the New Town Hall. Its tower contains the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. Three gates of the demolished medieval fortification have survived to this day - the Isartor in the east, the Sendlinger Tor in the south and the Karlstor in the west of the inner city. The Karlstor (destroyed during the Second World War and rebuilt afterwards) leads up to the Stachus, a grand square dominated by the Justizpalast (Palace of Justice) and a fountain. The Peterskirche close to Marienplatz is the oldest church of the inner city. It was first built during the Romanesque period, and was the focus of the early monastic settlement in Munich before the city's official foundation in 1158. Nearby St. Peter the Gothic hall-church Heiliggeistkirche (The Church of the Holy Spirit) was converted to baroque style from 1724 onwards and looks down upon the Viktualienmarkt, the most popular market of Munich. The Frauenkirche is the most famous building in the city centre and serves as cathedral for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. The nearby Michaelskirche is the largest renaissance church north of the Alps, while the Theatinerkirche is a basilica in Italianate high baroque which had a major influence on Southern German baroque architecture. Its dome dominates the Odeonsplatz. Other baroque churches in the inner city which are worth a detour are the Bürgersaalkirche, the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, the St. Anna Damenstiftskirche and St. Anna im Lehel, the first rococo church in Bavaria. The Asamkirche was endowed and built by the Brothers Asam, pioneering artists of the rococo period. The large Residenz palace complex (begun in 1385) on the edge of Munich's Old Town ranks among Europe's most significant museums of interior decoration. Having undergone several extensions, it contains also the treasury and the splendid rococo Cuvilliés Theatre. Next door to the Residenz the neo-classical opera, the National Theatre was erected. Among the baroque and neoclassical mansions which still exist in Munich are the Palais Porcia, the Palais Preysing, the Palais Holnstein and the Prinz-Carl-Palais. All mansions are situated close to the Residenz, same as the Alte Hof, a medieval castle and first residence of the Wittelsbach dukes in Munich.
ROYAL AVENUE & SQUARE
Four grand royal avenues of the 19th century with magnificent official buildings connect Munich's inner city with the suburbs: The neoclassical Briennerstraße, starting at Odeonsplatz on the northern fringe of the Old Town close to the Residenz, runs from east to west and opens into the impressive Königsplatz, designed with the "Doric" Propyläen, the "Ionic" Glyptothek and the "Corinthian" State Museum of Classical Art, on its back side St. Boniface's Abbey was erected. The area around Königsplatz is home to the Kunstareal, Munich's gallery and museum quarter (as described below). Ludwigstraße also begins at Odeonsplatz and runs from south to north, skirting the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, the St. Louis church, the Bavarian State Library and numerous state ministries and palaces. The southern part of the avenue was constructed in Italian renaissance style while the north is strongly influenced by Italian Romanesque architecture. The neo-Gothic Maximilianstraße starts at Max-Joseph-Platz, where the Residenz and the National Theatre are situated, and runs from west to east. The avenue is framed by neo-Gothic buildings which house, among others, the Schauspielhaus and the building of the district government of Upper Bavaria and the Museum of Ethnology. After crossing the river Isar, the avenue circles the Maximilianeum, home of the state parliament. The western portion of Maximilianstrasse is known for its designer shops, luxury boutiques, jewellery stores, and one of Munich's foremost five-star hotels, the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten. Prinzregentenstraße runs parallel to Maximilianstraße and begins at Prinz-Carl-Palais. Many museums can be found along the avenue, such as the Haus der Kunst, the Bavarian National Museum and the Schackgalerie. The avenue crosses the Isar and circles the Friedensengel monument passing the Villa Stuck and Hitler's old apartment. The Prinzregententheater is at Prinzregentenplatz further to the east.
Two large baroque palaces in Nymphenburg and Oberschleißheim are reminders of Bavaria's royal past. Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace), some 6 km north west of the city centre, is surrounded by an impressive park and is considered to be one of Europe's most beautiful royal residences. 2 km north west of Nymphenburg Palace is Schloss Blutenburg (Blutenburg Castle), an old ducal country seat with a late-Gothic palace church. Schloss Fürstenried (Fürstenried Palace), a baroque palace of similar structure to Nymphenburg but of much smaller size, was erected around the same time in the south west of Munich. The second large baroque residence is Schloss Schleißheim (Schleissheim Palace), located in the suburb of Oberschleissheim, a palace complex encompassing three separate residences: Altes Schloss Schleißheim (the old palace), Neues Schloss Schleißheim (the new palace) and Schloss Lustheim (Lustheim Palace). Most parts of the palace complex serve as museums and art galleries. Deutsches Museum's Flugwerft Schleißheim flight exhibition centre is located nearby, on the Schleißheim Special Landing Field. St Michael in Berg am Laim might be the most remarkable church out of the inner city. Most of the boroughs have parish churches which originate from the Middle Ages like the most famous church of pilgrimage in Munich St Mary in Ramersdorf. The oldest church within the city borders is Heilig Kreuz in Fröttmaning next to the Allianz-Arena, known for its Romanesque fresco. Especially in its suburbs Munich, features a wide and diverse array of modern architecture, although strict culturally sensitive height limitations for buildings have limited the construction of skyscrapers to avoid a loss of views to the distant Bavarian Alps. Most high-rise buildings are clustered at the northern edge of Munich in the skyline, like the Hypo-Haus, the Arabella High-Rise Building, the Highlight Towers, Uptown Munich, Münchner Tor and the BMW Headquarters next to the Olympic Park. Several other high-rise buildings are located near the city center and on the Siemens campus in southern Munich. A landmark of modern Munich is also the architecture of the sport stadiums.
Munich is home to several professional football teams, including 1860 Munich and Germany's most popular and successful club, FC Bayern Munich. The Munich area currently has two teams in the Bundesliga system, which comprises the two top divisions of German football. The city's hockey club is EHC Munich. Munich has also hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics and was one of the host cities for the 2006 Football World Cup which was not held in Munich's Olympic Stadium but in a new football specific stadium, the Allianz Arena.
Munich is a green city with numerous parks. The Englischer Garten, close to the city centre and covering an area of 3.7 km² (larger than Central Park in New York), is one of the world's largest urban public parks, and contains a nudist area, jogging tracks and bridle-paths. It was devised and laid out by Benjamin Thompson, Count of Rumford, an American, for both pleasure and as work area for the city's vagrants and homeless. Nowadays it is entirely a park with a Biergarten at the Chinese Pagoda. Other large green spaces are the modern Olympiapark and Westpark as well as the parks of Nymphenburg Palace (with the Botanical Garden to the north), and Schleissheim Palace. The city's oldest park is the Hofgarten, near the Residenz, and dating back to the 16th century. Most known for the largest beergarden in the town is the former royal Hirschgarten, founded in 1780 for deer which still live there. The city's zoo is the Tierpark Hellabrunn near the Flaucher Island in the Isar in the south of the city. Another notable park is Ostpark, located in Perlach-Ramersdorf area which houses the swimming area, Michaelibad, one of the largest in Munich.
The Deutsches Museum or German Museum, located on an island in the River Isar, is one of the oldest and largest science museums in the world. Three redundant exhibition buildings which are under a protection order were converted to house the Verkehrsmuseum, which houses the land transport collections of the Deutsches Museum. Deutsches Museum's Flugwerft Schleißheim flight exhibition centre is located nearby, on the Schleißheim Special Landing Field. Several non-centralised museums (many of those are public collections at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) show the expanded state collections of palaeontology, geology, mineralogy, zoology, botany and anthropology. The city has several important art galleries, most of which can be found in the Kunstareal, including the Alte Pinakothek, the Neue Pinakothek, and the Pinakothek der Moderne. Alte Pinakothek's rather monolithic structure contains a treasure trove of the works of European masters between the 14th and 18th centuries. The collection reflects the eclectic tastes of the Wittelsbachs over four centuries, and is sorted by schools over two sprawling floors. Major displays include Albrecht Dürer's Christ-like Self-Portrait, his Four Apostles, Raphael's paintings The Canigiani Holy Family and Madonna Tempi as well as Peter Paul Rubens two-storey-high Judgment Day. The gallery houses one of the world's most comprehensive Rubens collections. Before World War I, the Blaue Reiter group of artists worked in Munich. Many of their works can now be seen at the Lenbachhaus. An important collection of Greek and Roman art is held in the Glyptothek and the Staatliche Antikensammlung (State Antiquities Collection). King Ludwig I managed to acquire such famous pieces as the Medusa Rondanini, the Barberini Faun and the figures from the Temple of Aphaea on Aegina for the Glyptothek. The Kunstareal will be further augmented by the completion of the Egyptian Museum. The famous gothic Morris dancers of Erasmus Grasser are exhibited in the Munich City Museum in the old gothic arsenal building in the inner city. Another area for the arts next to the Kunstareal is the Lehel quarter between the old town and the river Isar: The State Museum of Ethnology in Maximilianstrasse is the second largest collection in Germany of artifacts and objects from outside Europe, while the Bavarian National Museum and the adjoining Bavarian State Archaeological Collection in Prinzregentenstrasse rank among Europe's major art and cultural history museums. The nearby Schackgalerie is an important gallery of German 19th century paintings. The former Dachau concentration camp is 16 kilometres outside the city.
The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, arguably the most famous beer hall worldwide, is located in the city centre. It also operates the second largest tent at the Oktoberfest, one of Munich's most famous attractions. For two weeks, the Oktoberfest, attracts millions of people visiting its beer tents ("Bierzelte") and fairground attractions. The Oktoberfest was first held on 12 October 1810 in honour of the marriage of crown prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities were closed with a horse race and in the following years the horse races were continued and later developed into what is now known as the Oktoberfest. Despite its name, most of Oktoberfest occurs in September. It always finishes on the first Sunday in October unless the German national holiday on 3 October ("Tag der deutschen Einheit" - Day of German Unity) is a Monday or Tuesday - then the Oktoberfest remains open for these days.
Munich is famous for its breweries and the Weißbier (or Weizenbier, wheat beer) is a speciality from Bavaria. Helles with its translucent gold colour is the most popular Munich beer today, although it’s not very old (only introduced in 1895). Helles and Pils have almost ousted the Munich Dark Beer (Dunkles), which gets its dark colour from burnt malt, the most popular beer in Munich within the 19th century. Starkbier is the strongest Munich beer, containing 6–9 percent alcohol. It is dark amber and has a heavy malty taste. It is available and popular during the Lenten Starkbierzeit (strong beer season), which begins on or before St. Joseph’s Day (March 19th). There are around 20 major beer gardens, with four of the most famous and popular being located in the Englischer Garten and the largest one in the Hirschgarten. Augustiner Bräu Hacker-Pschorr Hofbräu Löwenbräu Paulaner Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
Nightlife in Munich is thriving with over 6,000 licensed establishments in the city, especially in Schwabing, which is still the main quarter for students and artists. Some notable establishments are: the touristy Hofbräuhaus, one of the oldest breweries in Munich, located in the city centre near Tal; Kultfabrik and Optimolwerke, former industrial areas converted to host many different discos and pubs; Munich's gay quarter is in Isarvorstadt, surrounding the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, also known as the Glockenbachviertel.