With our friend Izi the walking tour app by our side, Trevor and I ventured off for another day through beautiful Munich. Today’s tour started off in Karlsplatz. This place was apparently the busiest junction in all of Europe in the 18th century. The arched gate is called Karlstor, which translates to Karl’s Door. It is named after Karl Theodor, the Elector of Bavaria. Not sure what an Elector is or does, but it sounds important. The gate was originally built for fortification purposes in the 13th century.
As the city continued to grow in the 18th century, though, the fortifications became a bit of a nuisance, since they got in the way of expansion. Theodor ordered all the fortifications be demolished, but the gates were kept as public monuments.
Karlstor initially had three towers, but there was a gunpowder snafu in the storage room and the towers went boom boom. When they were rebuilt, they built only two and an archway.
Just to the left of Karlsplatz sat this awesome looking gallery called Gallery 5. It being Monday, however, the gallery was closed. Le sigh…
On the plus side, it being Monday, all the shops along the fancy schmancy shops along Neuhauser Strreet were also closed. No tourist jam today 🙂
You kill that demon good, angel person. That’s Saint Michael’s Church.
Welcome to Frauenkirche. That’s Our Lady’s Church in German. It’s probably the most iconic church in all of Munich. In fact, to maintain its iconic status, no building is allowed to be built taller than the cathedral in Munich. Like City Hall, a larger church was needed to accommodate Munich’s rapidly growing population.
During our walk with Max the previous day, he explained that the reason the cathedral wasn’t completely destroyed during air raids in WWII was that it served as a useful navigational reference point for pilots. However, the building did suffer significant damage nonetheless. It wasn’t fully restored until the mid-1990’s.
Towards the back of the church lies this mysterious square tile with a footprint in it. The story goes that architect Jorg von Halsbach made a deal with the Devil to help him finance the construction of the church. He was also able to build it in only twenty years. The deal was that the church would not have any windows so that God would not be able to see into the church and the Devil could have his way with the people inside. Von Halsbach built the church in such a way that when the Devil entered through the main entrance, the columns perfectly blocked his view of all the church’s windows. Once he stepped forward, though, the Devil realized he’d been tricked, and he stomped his foot in anger.
The truth, though, is that the construction of the church was funded in large part thanks to the Pope. He pronounced Munich as a pilgrim city. That meant that by using what was called the Selling of Indulgences, pilgrims were required to donate several days’ living expenses in exchange for their sins being forgiven. Given the size of this magnificent church, it’s clear that people in Munich had a lot of sins they needed forgiven.
We went back to Marienplatz to explore the New City Hall a bit further. Once inside, we found this peculiar site. Apparently Munich has several sister cities around the world. This doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is that Cincinnati is one of those sister cities. Way to go, Cincy! I wonder if Munich has any Bengals fans.
Standing inside New City Hall gave me a bit of a Harry Potter feel.
Well except for these guys…
We walked inside and found an odd art gallery. I ask myself that question about modern art all the time. The picture on the right was my favourite from a series shot by this photographer. He’s dressed all snazzy in the most random of places. I love the look on Jesus’ face.
Old King Maximilian Joseph, or King Maxi-Jo as his friends liked to call him (maybe), looks like a giant ruffles potato chip.
This Michael Jackson shrine has taken over a statue commemorating Renaissance composer, Orlando di Lassi. Fans of the King of Pop built this outside the Bayerischer Hotel, which is where he stayed while on tour in Germany.
The previous day, I’d spotted an ad featuring this particular painting promoting some exhibit at the Kunsthalle gallery. It was certainly eye-catching, so when we happened to walk past the art gallery holding the exhibit, I couldn’t not go in.
The Paris Salon was the dream of every artist during the 19th century. It was where members of the Royal Academy presented their work. However it was very difficult to get your work displayed here, as a grand jury decided what made the cut.
What I found most interesting about the exhibit was watching the accepted notion of beauty evolve over time, from a classical ideal to a more honest, modern, authentic, and flawed humanity. There is beauty in simplicity. A farmer working in a field can be just as beautiful as a Greek god.
Next stop: Hofgarten, where fancy rich important people brought other fancy rich important people to talk about fancy rich important people things.
And back to Marienplatz to take in more sights. This is the Old City Hall, with another one of those old fortification towers attached to it.
Before leaving Marienplatz, we took a closer look at the oldest church in Munich, Peterskirche. It’s locally referred to as Old Peter. The original church was built in the 11th century, but it has gone through several renovations, reconstructions, and expansions over the years.
This site was originally settled by monks, though; and apparently, that’s where Munich gets its name. The name Munich derives from the German word for monk. Unfortunately, we could not go into the church; so we had to settle for climbing to the top to get a view of the city.
Now the audio guide told us earlier that Frauenkirche was the tallest building in Munich, but this picture suggests otherwise.
From up there, I suddenly became quite aware of a thunderous drumming sound that was coming from somewhere nearby. I don’t know how Trevor and I hadn’t noticed until then, but it was suddenly the only thing I could hear. After climbing back down, we set off in search of the source of this sound and found these guys. They were drumming for the marathon runners that were running through the city.
With that mystery solved, we set to more important things: Beer. We were looking for the Hofbrauhaus to be exact. This is definitely one of the coolest pubs I’ve ever been in. The place was packed and full of awesome energy, thanks in large part to these guys.
The reason the logo for the beer features a crown is that the brewery was established by Duke Wilhelm the Fifth. Hof means royal court in German. The reason he created it was that he was getting tired of having his favourite beer shipped over all the way from Hanover.
Unfortunately, the selfish bastard only allowed people in the royal court to enjoy his beer. The public only had access to the beer once a year in the spring. In a truly beautiful move, the public demanded the right to buy the beer for themselves. Eventually, the Duke had to give in, and the brewery was turned into the Hofbrauhaus pub and restaurant.
Duke Wilhelm the Fourth established the Purity Law in 1516. It stated that only barley, hops, and water could be used to brew beer. This law is still followed to this day and is supposedly the oldest food law in the world. Wilhelm created the Purity Law because so many brewers were experimenting with ingredients to try and make the beer last longer and taste better, and people sometimes ended up getting sick or even dying.
The place really is beautiful, and it can accommodate up to 3, 500 guests in all three of its floors. The second floor is much calmer than the first, though there is live entertainment in the evenings. The third floor is used for various Bavarian performances and events.
Apparently, if you’re a local and a very loyal and frequent customer, you can actually store your own mug in your own personal locker. There’s a bit of a waiting list, though.
I had a delicious pork roast with a side of mashed potatoes. But more importantly, I had this massive beast to help me wash down my wonderful meal.
Trevor and I were going to head home with our bellies full and our hearts merry, but then I found out that there is an area in Munich with a budding street art scene, and so we ventured off to check it out. On the way, we walked along the Isar River.
And so we say auf wiedersehen to Germany…