GERMANY  |  Munich, Germany Travel Guide
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Munich's Old Town

Munich's Old Town

Karlsplatz

Approaching Munich's old town and pedestrian zone from the Munich hauptbanhof (main station), the first sights that deliver some impression of what is to follow are the monumental buildings at Karlsplatz. The square is locally known as Stachus, named after an inn that disappeared long ago. It was the busiest traffic circle in Europe before World War II and there is a huge fountain which is a popular meeting spot. The old town area is entered via the 14th-century Karlstor.

Bürgersaal

The Bürgersaal (Citizens’ Hall) at Neuhauserstraße 14 has a plain exterior but a richly decorated interior. This church was erected on a citizens’ initiative as a prayer hall in the early 18th century. The almost crypt-like lower church area has the grave of Priest Rupert Mayer, a fierce critic of the Nazis who spent many years in Dachau and died shortly after the war. He was made a saint in 1987 and the chapel has attracted a steady stream of pilgrims ever since. Artistically, the Baroque Oberkirche (Upper Church) is more interesting. It has many Rococo features, although the main decorations were not restored after World War II.

Across the road is the Augustinerbräu beer cellars – the oldest of Munich’s famous brewing houses, now home to a popular restaurant and beer garden.

Michaelskirche

Michaelskirche (St Michael’s Church), located at Neuhauserstraße 52, was one of the first and is still the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps. It was erected by Duke Wilhelm V between 1583 and 1597. The impressive three-story gabled façade shows 15 of his forebears, going back to the Agilolfingers. All are overshadowed, though, by the bronze statue of the Archangel Gabriel, a masterpiece by Hubert Gerhard (1588). The single-nave interior, with a cradle vault ceiling 20 m (66 feet) wide, is mostly white and inspired many of the Baroque churches that would soon follow in southern Germany. The crypt has the graves of 41 Wittelsbach rulers.

[ Related page: Great Cathedrals of Germany. ]

Deutsches Jagd-und-Fischereimuseum

Deutsches Jagd-und-Fischereimuseum (German Hunting & Fishing Museum), Neuhauser Straße 2, is in an impressive Gothic former church building. The church was secularized after 1803 and the museum moved in during the 1960s. The museum is popular and displays include stuffed animals, hunting weapons, and the world’s largest collection of fishing hooks. Despite the name, many items are of non- German origin.

Frauenkirche

The two 98-m (320-foot) copper onion-domed towers of the Frauenkirche are the symbols of Munich. The official name Domkirche zu Unserer Lieben Frau (Cathedral of Our Dear Lady), Frauenplatz, never really caught on. The Late Gothic church was erected in 1468-88 and has a simple red brick exterior. Inside, it is bright with mostly white walls. The church is over 100 m (330 feet) long and 41 m (132 feet) wide. Although damaged in World War II, many parts, including the towers, are original. The rose windows in the choir of the Annunciation date from 1392 and were used in an earlier church. From April to October, Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, the south tower has an elevator (i2) to a viewing platform. Do note that it is 86 steps to the elevator and that the views from St Peter are better. The church is a popular venue for concerts. 

[ Related page: Great Cathedrals of Germany. ]

Last updated December 25, 2010
Posted in   Germany  |  Munich
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