We stayed a night in Munich on the way from Strasbourg to Salzburg. Having just arrived from France, the change is immediately obvious. From the perspective of an American tourist, the city is big, modern, bearing more resemblance to American city. The people are casual in attire and manners, down-to-earth, and more familiar to Americans. In fact, a lot of them were probably Americans, as I heard and saw more Yankees here than in any other city on the trip.
The Church of Our Lady with its distinctive onion-domed towers is probably the most recognizable Munich landmark. Sadly, like most of the rest of the city, it was destroyed during WWII and was completely rebuilt. Well, almost completely. Much of the ornamentation was not restored to the original form. The few exterior stone panels that were not destroyed are hung on the exterior wall. One can only marvel at how beautiful the church must have look in its original glory.
The red roofs of the Old Town are very striking when seen from above and provides a stark contrast to the modern city in the distance. You can climb a few towers, but I decided that Alter Peter would be the best choice because it offers a splendid view of the Neues Rathaus and the Frauenkirche. Looking Northwest, the spires of the Altes Rathaus can be seen in the foreground.
Namesake of the square in front of the Neues Rathaus.
St. Michael’s church
The splendid domed interior of St. Michael’s Church on Neuhauserstrasse. Surprisingly, contrary to the hustle and bustle outside, the churches were virtually deserted. Good news for photographers :)
St. Peter’s church has a wonderfully ornate interior, one of my favorites anywhere.
Another look at Alter Peter including the gorgeous ceiling mural. The interior looks new, as it would since the church was rebuilt, but this doesn’t detract from the experience. I wish I had visited the rococo-style Asamkirche as well. It was on my list, but we just ran out of time.
The rather sparsely appointed interior of the 500-year-old Frauenkirche. It was designed to be a Gothic structure, though the Renaissance towers were added much later. Only the towers survived WWII, the rest of the church having been rebuilt afterwards. I much prefer the more ornate interior of the Alter Peter.
Prague may be the city of 100 spires, but Munich would also be worthy of such distinction. The pointy Old Town Hall is another structure that was destroyed completely, then rebuilt.
Neuhauserstrasse and Kaufingerstrasse form one continuous strip leading from Karlsplatz through the center of the Old Town. The streets have been turned into a gigantic pedestrian zone. Even in June, it’s packed with locals and tourists alike. One can only imagine what it must be like during the real festivals. The vast square in front of the Neues Rathaus is the center of activities. While we were there, a stage was set up for an outdoor concert/talent show complete with opera and mainstream pop. Needless to say it was packed elbow to elbow (sometimes elbow to chest as Germans are very tall ;)
The superbly neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus looms over the square. On its facade is the famous Glockenspiel.
Unfortunately we didn’t have much time so we confined our tour of Munich to this area. Like every other place we visited on this trip, we’ll have to return another time..
Neues Rathaus spire
I love all things Gothic, so here’s a closer look at the splendid spire of the Neues Rathaus.
Last visit: 2003 Pros: Festive, great pedestrian zone Cons: Most were rebuilt, not original In a nutshell: Would love to be back during Oktoberfest