The Neues Rathaus and its Glockenspiel on the Marienplatz
Marienplatz offers a number of enticing attractions.
square is named for a statue of the Virgin Mary in its center. The impressive Neues Rathaus
(New Town Hall - parts are 20th century) and its Glockenspiel, an
animated musical clock, is a favorite attraction. The Marienplatz is one of the most popular areas of Munich!.
Read our guide below for more details and a video of the
From the Frauen-kirche, continue back to the Kaufingerstraße and head east until you reach
Marienplatz, the most famous square in Munich. The center of the
Marienplatz is dominated by its namesake statue of the Blessed
Virgin Mary atop a granite column, surrounded by four cherubs in varying
degrees of battle with serpents.
The main attraction here, however, is the Glockenspiel or carillon
of the Neues Rathaus (the New Town Hall), which
dates from the late 19th
and early 20th century). The Glockenspiel animates daily at 11:00
and also at 12:00 and 17:00 from May through October. If this square
looks slightly familiar to those of you who have toured Brussels and
its Grand Place, the building-style of Munich's Rathaus is Neogothic,
while the Grand Place is in a similar Flanders-Gothic style..
The Glockenspiel houses two
displays of animated, almost life-sized figures. On the bottom is
the "Shäfflertanz"( Coopers’ Dance), a dance by the coopers
(barrel makers) celebrating the end of a plague
in the 16th century. On the top is a recreation of a tournament
celebrating a princely wedding, also in the 16th century. At the end
of the cycle, one of the knights will knock the other back.
When the joust is finally settled, the glockenspiel winds down.
The attractive buildings, impressive statue of Mary, and the
animated Glockenspiel attract a large number of tourists and the Marienplatz is one of the most
popular areas in Munich. Plenty of good-quality restaurants
and outdoor cafes can be found on the Marienplatz and lining
the adjacent streets. We suggest you snag a seat at one of the
outdoor cafes on Weinstraße where you
can enjoy a beer, the sun and the soak up the festive atmosphere at the Marienplatz.
If you are not in the mood for sitting, just yet, consider heading a
couple of blocks to the southeast of the Marienplatz where you will
find the Viktualienmarkt, purported to be Munich's oldest market.
With a wide range of local produce and delicacies from around the
world, this is a popular outdoor, gourmet food market. It
isn't large, but it is fun to stroll.
If you have a lot of energy, to the southeast of the Marienplatz,
but several blocks away, are the Asamhaus
and Asamkirche. The Asam Church is one of the Baroque glories of
Munich and we highly recommend a visit. We cover the
If you decide to make either of the side-trips described above,
return to the Marienplatz for more sightseeing.
When you are ready to depart the Marienplatz area, head up the Weinstraße away from
the Marienplatz for elegant shopping.
Keep an eye out
for streets entering from the left and you will soon see another
view of the twin towers adorned with onion domes atop the famous
Frauen-kirche. Continue north towards the Odeonplatz.
you reach this junction the street changes name to Theaterinerstraße.
There is quite a bit of
luxury shopping along this stretch and outdoor cafes, complete with enticing
aromas, will compete for your business. In a few minutes (unless you
stop to shop) you will be at the Odeonplatz with a choice of
the several interesting attractions, which we describe on the
page of our Munich Guide.
When you tire of touring, have a seat at one of the outdoor cafes near
the Marienplatz and enjoy a little Bavarian lager .... and maybe
some brats (try the white sausage, if you are OK with eating veal).
The photo above shows the exquisite detail of the Glockenspiel in the Neues
Rathaus on the Marienplatz.