Munich – The Cultural Heart of Germany
Munich, Germany is full of popular beer gardens, magnificent public spaces and buildings with ornate stucco facades. Tradition and modernism rub shoulders in Munich as in no other German city.
The small town charm of many Munich districts stands in great contrast with the hectic pace of big city life on the Marienplatz or along the sidewalks of Maximilian Street. Quite aside from the famed Oktoberfest held each autumn, this city on the Isar River offers visitors an abundance of architectural treasures.
During the course of the last century, Munich has become one of Germany’s most important media and business centres. Munich’s unique combination of Blackberries and lederhosen have made the city one of the most popular business and tourism destinations in Europe.
From Petersbergl to Munich. Monks settled on the Isar in the eighth century, building Tegernsee Monastery at the place they called Petersbergl. The crypt of the church of St. Peter, Munich’s oldest, dates back to the early Middle Ages. In the twelfth century Heinrich the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, founded the city of Munich around St. Peter’s. Under the command of this powerful duke, Munich became an important city. It was the official residence of the Bavarian dukes from 1255 and named the capital city of Bavaria in 1506.
A square for football celebrations. Just as Munich is the heart of Bavaria, the Marienplatz is the heart of the city, the most popular and best known of the many squares in Munich. The new city hall is on the north side of the square, with the old city hall, the Rathaus, on its eastern side. St. Peter’s is just a few meters away. The famous and beloved Bayern Munchen football team has traditionally celebrated its championship titles on the Marienplatz with thousands of enthusiastic fans.
Munich conjures up images of Oktoberfest, the Hofbrauhaus, shady beer gardens and people wearing lederhosen and dirndl. All of these images are accurate, but Munich is more than simply a bastion of Bavarian traditions. The city is one of Germany’s most important publishing and television centres, for example. Many publishing houses, radio and television stations, film production companies and music studios are headquartered in the media city of Munich. As a result, Munich is home to more actors, artists, TV producers and stars than any other German city.
Summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs. The celebrities of the past, the Bavarian dukes, princes and kings, also resided in Munich. Their legacy has left the city with a number of fascinating historical drawcards. There are so many to choose from, visitors may have a hard time deciding which of the many sights to head for first.
Nymphenburg Palace and its park should be near the top of the list. The former summer residence of the Bavarian rulers, Schloss Nymphenburg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bavaria today. Its elaborate interior furnishings, including King Ludwig I’s almost surreally ornate “Gallery of Beauties” should not be missed.
Symbol of Munich. The twin towers of Munich’s most famous symbol, the Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Lady), are 99 metres tall. Duke Sigismund laid the cornerstone of Munich’s most beloved church on 9 February 1468. Today the Frauenkirche is officially the Cathedral Church of the Archbishops of Munich and Freisling. Its towers can be seen for miles around, is in part because the city administration prohibits the construction of any building within Munich’s central ring taller than 99 metres. New construction of taller buildings further away from the centre has been permitted in the past, but is currently under review. Only the south tower of the Frauenkirche can be climbed. It offers a unique view of Munich, its surroundings, and the nearby Alps, which on clear days appear to be close enough to touch.