Along the Kaufingerstraße
Interior of St. Michael's Church in Munich
The bronze Boar, outside the Hunting and Fishing Museum.
Frontal view of the twin towers at the Frauen-kirche.
Tomb of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor, in the Frauen-Kirche
Munich’s name is derived from a band of
monks who settled the area around thirteen-hundred years ago. The
settlement (“Zu den Munchen") officially became a town in the 12th
century and was ruled by the Wittelsbach family (electors, dukes and
eventually kings) until 1918, a period of nearly 800 years. Be sure
to tour their palace, the Residenz, which we describe below.
Throughout its history, Munich was often at the forefront of German
politics, although its role as the birthplace of the 3rd Reich and
the rise of the Nazi movement is not one that is celebrated.
is Munich's world-famous beer-drinking festival.
The fun runs for several weeks
in late September and early October. The celebration is held at Theresienwiesen
(southwest of the Hauptbanhof) underneath tents capable of
accommodating thousands of revelers.
Facts you should
know about Oktoberfest -
Oktoberfest starts in mid-September and usually ends in early
Oktoberfest is now held earlier in the year than the original
festival to take advantage of the weather. However, it can be cool and
rainy in Munich in late September/early October. so be sure to
bring rain gear to keep dry on your way to and from the festival.
Oktoberfest celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2010 with its 176th Oktoberfest, as the festival was not
held every year since the founding of the event. The
Weisn started in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig
who became King Ludwig I (not the castle builder). Oktoberfest
is a popular event and you will encounter huge, friendly
crowds at the fairgrounds and around the city. Hotels are hard to find in Munich during
this period, unless you have reserved far in advance.
Entrance to the
fairgrounds is free, but if you want a good seat, be sure to arrive
early. Many head to the Theresienwiesen (called die Wiesen) before the
(think beer pavilions) open, in order to ensure the best seats.
Others reserve space in advance at their favorite tent.
Oktoberfest is sold by the Maß, a one-liter tankard. While entrance to the event is free,
Maß will cost you approximately €9. The price appears to increase in price by about .50 € a year.
For detailed information see the official site for Oktoberfest see
the official website. In 2013, Oktoberfest is set for
September 21 through October 6.
Best Places to Visit – Old Town
If you want to walk Munich’s Old Town, consider the path described
The Hauptbahnhof (central train station)
is a meeting point for the
transportation network and a central point in the traveler’s Munich.
Start your tour here or at the next stop east (Karlplatz). Find your
way to the surface at Neuhauser straße and proceed to the east (away
from the Hauptbahnhof) along this pedestrian-only cobblestone
The Old Town begins at the Karlstor
, site of a historic gateway to the “Old” Town . Neuhauserstraße, the
first street-segment ahead leads directly to Kaufingerstraße. Both
streets are renowned for shopping, although Bavarian food and beer
are in ample supply along these scenic lanes. If you are lucky
enough to visit in summer or autumn, the buildings will be adorned with some
stunning displays of geraniums.
The first highlight of walking Neuhauserstraße is the
Bürgersaal Kirche at number 48. Dating form the late 18th
century, the building includes both an upper an lower church.
The stations of the cross in the lower church are very impressive.
The upper church is more formal and the frescos and statues are
A couple of blocks down, on your left, at Ettstraße you will encounter
the notable Saint
which features and attractive and balanced interior. Although Saint Michael's has an
modest entrance, hiding behind it is an enormous barrel-vaulted
knave reputed to be the second largest in the world, after Saint Peter's in Rome. (The barrel vaulting was originally
larger, but destroyed when the tower of the church collapsed in the
late 16th century.) The Crypt of St. Michael's-kirche
holds the remains of many famous Bavarians, most notably, those of
Ludwig II, the Bavarian king known for his Neuschwanstein Castle near Fussen,
as well as string of other unique palaces.
Across the street you will find the
, Munich's oldest brewery (established in the late 13th
century). although it was relocated in this location in the 18th
century. The Restaurant Augustiner is a good place for some
fine beer and hearty Bavarian food.
Further to the east, at Augustinerstraße, you will find the
Deutsches Jagd-Und Fischereimuseum
- just look for the large bronze boar and catfish on the side of the
street. In case you had not guessed, this is the German
Hunting and Fishing Museum. (By the way, if you do not read German,
use the Google Translate function to convert the website text).
The building is the former Augustinian Church (14th century with
later additions, including some notable Baroque features). If
you are interested in hunting and fishing you fill find the displays
fascinating, but children may be uncomfortable with some of the
Continue down Augustinerstraße to explore the Frauen-kirche
Munich’s impressive Cathedral that dates from the 15th century. The
Frauen-kirche is really a bruiser. Its brick walls and bell towers
reach for the sky (over 325 ft.) and their lack of any buttresses or
external supports give the feeling of majesty and a sharp, almost
disorienting ascent as one looks towards the top of this imposing
church. The Frauen-kirche was badly damaged in World War II and the
restoration effort was completed only in the mid-1990s.
Although the church’s signature twin onion-domed, brick towers
(complete with clocks) provide instant identification, they were not
part of the original design. It appears that they were a happy
accident of history, as the town could not afford to build the
original design. The rest of
the Frauen-kirche, however, is as understated as the church’s plain brick
exterior. The interior is stark white and sparsely
The church houses the crypts of many member of the Wittelsbach family who played an important role in German history
for over 800 years. The crypt is behind and underneath the altar. Louis IV,
who was Holy Roman Emperor, apparently rated better accommodations
than the other Wittelsbachs and is buried in an impressive, ornate tomb just
behind the gates and to the right after you enter the
The Frauen-kirche has many notable treasures, but the sculptures of
the apostles and prophets by Erasmus Grasser, dating from the early
16th century are especially notable. The Church's altar by
Ignaz Günther is one of his most famous works, while Jan Polack's
painting The Protecting Cloak (in a chapel behind the main altar) is
regarded as a masterpiece by many.
Many visitors to the Frauen-kirche are attracted by the “Devil’s Footprint”
which can be seen “burned” into the floor in front of the first
wrought iron gate that
separates the entry from the church proper. There is a
fuzzy-appearing black footprint (somewhat small) with a distinct
claw at the heel. The “fabled footprint” (shown below) has an
interesting story. It goes like this:
The devil did not want yet another church built in
Munich. He endeavored to convince the builder to make the
church so dark and gloomy on the inside while hiding his hope that
doing so would result in no one visiting the church He
checked on the builder’s progress from the entry to the church where the
footprint can now be seen. From that specific point, the church's
columns obscure all windows (at the time, there was a large artwork
that blocked the windows behind the altar) and the Devil thought the
church was so unappealing, that no one would visit. Of course, the
devil had been mislead by his arrogance and the wit of the builder.
When he found out that he had been tricked, he returned and stomped
his foot in anger making the impression in the floor. In addition, he
turned himself into a gale-force wind and tried to blow the church
down. Although unsuccessful, to this day, wind seems always to
be swirling around the towers of the Frauen-kirche.
If you are visiting on a day with clear skies, you might consider
climbing the stairs (fee) to the Church's observation tower for an
impressive view of Munich with the Alps in the background.
Continue to the next page in our
Munich Guide to read
about the famous
Explore the Magnificent
Or the Art Quarter and the Nymphenburg Palace
Or return to
Places to Visit in Germany - Page 1
If you need information about another travel destination, try
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.