Munich the Capital of the Bavarian state in Germany is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Europe. This magnificent city founded in 1158 has a rich and varied history.The city lies next to the river Isar and it was here that a bridge was built next to a Benedictine monastery that gives meaning to the city’s name, Munich meaning “monk”. It was in 1175 that the city was finally given city status and was fortified.
Throughout its past there have been many rulers and dynasties that have left their mark on the city as well as much unrest and revolution, especially during the 1930s when Hitler and the Nazi party were rising and the subsequent damage that was done to the city during WW2. After the war, the city was virtually rebuilt.
This turbulent past though has not suppressed the city in any way and Munich is now Germany’s third largest city and is the wealthiest city in Germany with an economy that is constantly growing.
Now seen as one of Europe’s most prestigious cities, it is also considered to be a masterpiece in architecture as well as having many museums of science, art, history, culture and sport . Seen as the unofficial second Capital in the country, Munich is a major center for Art, Finance, Technology, Culture, Business and Tourism.
The city has a very high standard of living and is one of the most popular places to live in Germany though it also comes at a price as it is the most expensive place to live. As well as the rich culture and history that has famed the city, every year sees the Oktoberfest celebration that draws in many visitors which all in all make this one of the most popular destinations within Europe and a must see hot spot.
Whatever captures your interest, you will be sure to find it in the city as there are many visitor attractions and places of interest that, no matter how long your stay is, you will find that you will have more than enough to occupy your time.
Munich is a very walkable city and a great place to see some world-class sites in architecture and culture with some first-rate galleries, churches museums and even an Olympic park and at the end of a day full of sight seeing its a great place to kick back and have a fabulous night out.
Five Top Attractions
The Frauenkirche is viewed as a landmark in Munich and has often been considered to be a symbol of the Bavarian Capital. Also known as the Church of Our Dear Lady, it was built between 1468 and 1488.
It suffered considerable damage during the war and was virtually destroyed and had to be rebulit in 1953. The highlight of the building is the two towers that stand at an impressive 1065 feet and a climb to the top of the south tower which is open to visitors will offer you some very impressive views over the city.
The towers are so big that they dominate the skyline and are even more visible because of the local limits that have been put in place on building heights.Although the outside is an impressive sight, the interior of the church is surprisingly spartan. The cenotaph of Ludwig the Bavarian is worth noting as well as various plagues to several popes which reside inside but it is the sheer size and noteworthy views from the towers that make this such an impressive sight to visitors.
Certainly a top visitor pick when visiting Munich is the Residenz Museum. This was the home to Bavaria’s Wittelsbach rulers, who resided here from 1508 until World War 1. It is the number one tourist attraction in Munich and is certainly one that you don’t want to miss.
You will need to set some time aside to see as much as possible as the museum has a lot of treasures of the past residents and trappings of the opulent lifestyles that they had. There are some 90 rooms open to the public so a lot of does need to be squeezed in if you have only a short time here but there are some places not to be missed such as the Antiquarium, a famous barrel-vaulted hall that is covered in frescos and seen as probably one of Europe’s finest Renaissance interiors.
The Residenz Museum holds an enormous antique and art collection as well as many noteworthy frescos. The beauty and extravagance of the Residenz is quite breathtaking and what is more incredible is to think that this stunning building had to be almost totally reconstructed after WW2 as only 50sq meters of the roof remained after the war so the pain staking reconstruction that has taken place since then is absolutely amazing.
For anyone looking for a more open air attraction then a trip to the Englischer Garden is an absolute must. This huge park which seems to sprawl for miles and is 417 hectares in size rivals some of the biggest parks anywhere even ones such as Central Park in New York.
This is a place where locals to Munich and visitors will all mingle together and is a wonderful place to have a breather from the busy city and enjoy some peace and tranquility.It was designed in 1789 by an American, Benjamin Thompson who worked for the Bavarian government. The design incorporates a pond, walk ways, meadows and even a beer garden, the Chinesischer Turm which is the oldest one in Munich, where you can sit and while away the time whilst listening to street muscicians playing and watching Munich life pass you by.
As well as natural beauty, the park also has a number of structural wonders such as the Monopteros, a small Greek temple and the Japanisches Teehaus, which was built for the Munich Olympics and sits on one of the three small islands and where you can see a traditional Japanese tea ceremony taking place.
The site of the former rulers of Bavaria’s Summer residence, Schloss Nymphenburg or Castle of the Nymphes, is a sprawling palace and lavish gardens that were begun in 1664 and were commissioned by Ferdinand Maria and Henrietta Adelaide Savoy after the birth of their son.
The palace has been expanded over the years into the magnificent sight that you see today. The Palace and Park are now one of the most famous sites in Munich.
A self guided tour will start you at the Schönheitengalerie or the Gallery of Beauties, the highlight of the tour, which is the most famous room in Schloss Nymphenburg. This gallery showcases paintings of 36 of the most beautiful women of nobility in Munich between 1827 and 1850.
As well as this famous gallery you will also be able to see the bed on which Ludwig II was born and the Marstallmuseum,which displays Royal coaches and riding gear. Ludwig II famous rococo sleigh is also a feature in these buildings.
Outside the sprawling grand, English style park is a good place to view the many water features such as the large lake and canal and a wonderful place to stroll around and imagine life as it was fort eh Bavarian rulers so many years ago.
To the North of the city you will find Olympiapark, which was built in 1972 for the Summer Olympics. For anyone who has visited other Olympic parks you will be amazed at the small-scale of this one and it is quite hard to imagine the Olympics being held in such a small venue.
Now used all year round for visitors who want to go ice skating and swimming for concerts and festivals, the complex draws people in from all over. The history of the Olympics of that year is also a reason many people visit the Park .
You will get amazing views of Munich from the Park and it is a place to go for any football fans as it was here that the German football team won the FIFA World Cup in 1974.
Munich- Final words
This stunning Bavarian city is a place to visit and wonder on so many levels, from its dark days of history to its stunning architecture and breathtaking natural backdrop of the Alps. Munich has so much to offer its visitors that you will no doubt long for a return visit.
There is so much to see and do that squeezing everything in may be tricky but it is also a city that can be visited at different times of the year and still surprise and delight its guests each and every time always seeming to offer something new to discover and experience.