Munich has some cool architecture, culture, and history. The city’s name is assumed to have developed before the 1st century. When townspeople would go around to trade with other areas, people would ask them where they were from, they explained they lived by the monks, mönch in German. Overtime it slowly transitioned from Mönch to München.
I started my day with a lovely stroll through Munich and grabbed a schmalznudel at Cafe Frischhut. It’s really just fried dough.
I took a tour with InMunich and loved that the tour didn’t just focus on wars. Our guide provided a ton of information. These were really the highlights for me (I used the InMunich website to help me with the below sites. German words are way too difficult to remember).
We started in Marienplatz, the main central square named for the Virgin Mary who sits on top of a column in the middle of the plaza. The column was erected in 1638. Apparently a drunk German kid tried to climb this tower during Oktoberfest and fell into one of these cherubs (with weapons!) in the corners that are there to protect her.
The Altes Rathaus, Old Town Hall is on one side of the square but the Neues Rathaus, New Town Hall dominates the space. It’s old, Gothic design is hard to miss and it’s where the famous Glockenspiel sits. This clock tower doesn’t just chime. It’s designed to tell two stories with one set of characters on top and another set of characters at the bottom. At 11a and 12p everyday (and sometimes in the evening), the clock chimes and these characters start dancing and celebrating. First is a story of a wedding between a Bavarian Duke and Renata of Lorraine. It’s a big festivity and it even includes a joust between a Bavarian and Lothringen Knight. The Bavarian knight knocks out the other knight of course. Next is a dance that started when the Black Plague ended and still continues as tradition today.
After a little history lesson on Munich, we headed to Frauenkirche, the famous twin towered church. It was the tallest building in Munich and didn’t get bombed during WWII. The theory is that the tall steeples of the church helped the Allies find Munich so they didn’t bomb it. The other argument was that it was just luck.
This church also has a great story about the architecture who built it. The story is that the devil/demon came to the architect when he was building the church and demanded he stop adding windows. In return, the devil would give him all the money he needed to build the church and he would finish it quickly. The architect agreed. When the devil came back after he finished building it, he noticed all these windows. The architect took him to one side of the church where the devil had made his demand and from that spot, you can’t see a single window. The devil’s footprint is still there today (I was too slow to get a shot and it was covered! It’s basically a human right shoe print.) Also the devil was really some rich guy but the locals take the story very seriously (that’s why they cover it).
Viktualienmarkt – Munich’s fresh food market had so much great foods! Everything is locally sourced. I ate this cured meat sandwich thing (I can’t remember what kind of meat it was though) and it was delicious! Very fatty.
Of course we visited Hofbräuhaus the famous beer hall that has been around since 1589 and was founded by a duke. They’re known for their giant 1L liter beer glasses. This is where Hitler announced the name of the Nazi party. I came here and enjoyed a beer and pretzel before catching my flight to Florence.
We also walked by the Munich State Theatre and Opera House in the Max-Joseph-Platz. When the Opera House was built, it was supposedly well prepared in the event of a fire. However, one day, a fire actually did occur… Unfortunately it was the dead of winter and all the pipes were frozen. Guess what the next closest thing was? Beer from the Hofbräuhaus. They put the fire out with beer from the beer hall.
On the other side of the plaza is The Royal Residenz. It is where the old Bavarian monarchs used to live.
In the direction of this photo, if you walk on the left side of the Residenz, you get to the Odeonsplatz. In 1923, Hitler organized an illegal march to the Feldherrnhalle in the Odeonsplatz. This became known as the Beer Hall Putsh and it ended up with 16 Nazi members getting shot by state police at the time. When Nazis rose to power, they built their own memorial site to honor this failed coup. People were required to do the Hitler salute when they passed by this memorial. As a sign of resistance, people bypassed the area and walked in the back streets instead. In memory of their resistance, there is a memorial to the Munich Resistance movement. One of the most memorable thing our guide said was how Germany has acknowledged a lot of its past but really, it was the entire world that turned its head when the Nazi party committed their atrocities.
After the tour, I walked through the Hofgarten to the English Garden (their version of Central Park). Watched some surfers in action on a man-made wave in this park. Strolled through the park and visited the Chinesischer Turm Beer Garden inside it.