Crowds gather on Marienplatz at 11am, noon and 5pm each day in summer to watch 32 figures up on the clock dance and joust scenes from the city’s history while bells chime.
Stuart Foster gives us a thorough run through of the best restaraunts, architecture, shops, local traditions, efficient travel tips and much more:
Much of central Munich is pedestrianized and is a pleasant place to explore on foot. Kaufingerstrasse – the broad, popular shopping street in the centre of the city – runs from Karlstor, once the site of a medieval city gate, towards Marienplatz, the heart of the city and site of the ornate Gothic-style façade of the Neues Rathaus (the ‘new city hall’).
Some of Munich’s most stylish shops are located less than two minutes walk from the square, whose golden column depicting the Virgin Mary marks the zero point from which distances in the city are measured. The upscale Ludwig Beck department store abuts the square. The elegant Fuenf Hoefe, meaning the ‘five courtyards,’ was designed by the architects Herzog and de Meuron and hosts stores such as Emporio Armani, Massimo Dutti and Patrizia Pepe in addition to restaurants, cafes and the Kunsthalle art gallery.
Art & Architecture
If you’re an art lover then it makes sense to take the brief tram ride towards the city’s Maxvorstadt district, the site of the Kunstareal or ‘art district’. This is the home of galleries (www.pinakothek.de) hosting artworks ranging from classical sculptures in the Glyptotech, through old masters in the Alte Pinakotech gallery, works by Cézanne and van Goghs in the Neue Pinakotech, to contemporary classics by Beuys in the Pinakotech der Moderne and Cy Twombly in the neighboring Brandhorst Museum, a building notable for its colorful façade consisting of ceramic rods.
In the city center, the Residenz Museum (www.residenz-muenchen.de), on the site of the palace long used by Bavaria’s reigning Wittelsbach family, is widely regarded as one of Europe’s finest. It hosts one of the world’s leading porcelain collections plus artifacts throwing light onto courtly life during medieval times.
They also take pride in banter about Munich being Germany’s biggest village; a reference to easy-going pace of life in this city of 1.3 million people, of whom many still make time to chat with their neighbors.
One of best and most accessible places for visitors to appreciate this tradition is in the Hofbraeuhaus (www.hofbraeuhaus.de), by the cobbled square known as Platzl, meaning the ‘little square’ in the centre of the city. The Bavarian Duke Maximilian I opened a tavern here in 1598. The vaulted ceiling is colorfully painted with traditional scenes and the blue and white diamonds of the Bavarian flag.
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