In Munich, it’s the mix that makes the message. Old meets new, past meets present and future, the modern blends harmoniously with the traditional, bits and bytes with beer, business and leisure. For the visitor, there is never any shortage of sights to see or activities to engage in. The Bavarian Metropolis with its 1.4 million inhabitants lies virtually at the centre of Europe and is easy to access, either by high-speed trains, by motorway, or through a large international airport. It also has a dense network of modern and affordable public transportation, with buses, an underground system, trams and suburban trains.
All major sights are at walking distance from each other. As for the Alps, they are at a stone’s throw and attract day-trippers all year round: in the warm season between May and September for paragliding, hiking, mountain climbing or mountain biking, and in the cold season between November and March for fun on snow and ice. Year after year, Munich takes gold in German city rankings. When asked where they would prefer to live, most Germans say Munich. The reason is simple: a magic combination of a vigorous economy and top-notch leisure time activities and outstanding cultural offerings.
Three world-class orchestras, countless concert venues and a host of festivals ensure a constant flow of music of all styles, from classical to rock and passing by medieval. The city also has a wide array of museums, notably the three Pinakothek art museums exhibiting fine arts and graphic arts from six centuries all located within walking distance.
Completing these three cultural giants is the Museum Brandhorst that features modern art. Science and technology have a worthy home in the Deutsches Museum on the Isar River, with two annexes: one in Schleissheim to the north of Munich devoted to airplanes, and one at the Theresienhöhe exhibiting all kinds of land transportation. The latest addition to the main museum is the ZNT, Center for New Technologies featuring Nano- and Biotechnologies. For a closer encounter with automobiles present and past, however,Munich-based BMW automaker opened the BMW Welt, which complements the company’s state-of-the art museum.
To find out more about Munich itself, the place to go is the City Museum (Stadtmuseum), where the permanent exhibition “Typically Munich” tells the history of the city through a host of quirky and revealing exhibits. And for an even closer encounter with history, there is the mighty Residenz. Its richly-decorated rooms tell the story of centuries of rule by the Wittelsbachs. Their first residence was the near-by Alter Hof (Old Court), where the Information Office of the Bavarian Museums has a small museum and a film documenting the rise of this, one of Europe’s longest ruling dynasties. The most famous member was no doubt Ludwig II, the “Fairytale” King. He was born in Nymphenburg Castle, which lies to the west of the city at the entrance of a large park. His most famous castle, Neuschwanstein, is nestled in the dramatic foothills of the Alps and makes for an excellent day trip. American tourists are already familiar with Ludwig’s fairy tale castle as the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland was modeled on it.
Munich people love sports. Everything is possible in the city that hosted the Olympic Games in 1972 from tennis to climbing and boudering, from golf to rafting, from jogging to rowing. Enthusiastic swimmers will find modern indoor and outdoor pools in town and crystalline lakes in the surrounding region. Spectator sports are also high on the agenda. The state-of-the-art Allianz Arena stadium, built especially for the 2006 World Cup, is home to Munich’s two rival football teams, FC Bayern, whose most famous member is Franz Beckenbauer, and the lesser known TSV 1860.
Last but not least Munich is a shopper’s paradise, with fine fashions, designer outlets, venerable department stores, antique shops and excellent bookstores. A local curiosity are the so-called Königlich Bayerischen Hoflieferanten, or Royal Bavarian Suppliers, whose products are still deemed very noble and of particularly high quality. These range from jewels and tableware, to victuals of all kind. And while on the subject of food, when it comes to eating or just taking a break, visitors will find establishments offering every type of fare imaginable and for all budgets. But typical Munich cuisine is generally enjoyed by people from all walks of life. That might be a morning veal sausage (Weisswurst) with a large pretzel and sweet mustard, a sturdy portion of knuckle (pork or veal) with a potato dumpling, or a spicy Obatzder (a cheese dip) with dark bread. The best place to enjoy such delights, most real Münichners will tell you, is at one of the city’s lively beer gardens, the ideal place to meet old friends and make new ones.
With the Allianz Arena, Herzog & de Meuron have designed a stadium construction of world-class standards. The external skin and the roofing of the stadium ring are made of thousands of diamond-shaped, air-filled cushions which, during home games, are illuminated in the colours of Munich’s two major football clubs: red for FC Bayern and blue and white for TSV 1860.
Munich is sprawling. Munich is lively. And Munich is very green. Parks, gardens and the Isar river present the perfect counterpoint to the pulsing city beat, to sightseeing and shopping. The city can look back on a long tradition of historical gardens. The park of Nymphenburg Palace was established already in the 17th century and the English Garden in the 18th century. Today the locals and their guests can enjoy their time out in public parks extending over roughly 5,680 acres
The Nymphenburg Palace, i.e. “Nymph’s Castle”, is a Baroque palace in Munich, Bavaria, southern Germany. The palace was the main summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria.The palace, together with its park, is now one of the most famous sights of Munich. The baroque facades comprise an overall width of about 700 metres. The Steinerner Saal (Stone Hall), with ceiling frescoes by Johann Baptist Zimmermann and F. Zimmermann and decorations by François de Cuvilliés, is an impressive sight.
St Michael is a Jesuit church in Munich, southern Germany, the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps. The style of the building had an enormous influence on Southern German early Baroque architecture. The church was built by William V, Duke of Bavaria between 1583 and 1597 as a spiritual center for the Counter Reformation. The foundation stone was laid in 1585. In order to realise his ambitious plans for the church and the adjoining college
Marienplatz, with the Town Hall (Rathaus) and its famous Glockenspiel, is the best place to start a shopping tour. Many of Munich’s major retail streets converge here, such as Kaufingerstrasse, Rindermarkt, Rosenstrasse, Weinstrasse, Taland Dienerstrasse. As a rule all of the stores here are open until 8pm. In the morning some shops start as early as 9am, but some open their doors a little later.
When the sun goes down over the Munich skyline, the city really comes out to play. Streets and squares come alive with residents and visitors alike, turning Munich’s cafés, bars, beer gardens, restaurants and clubs into one massive, extended living room, humming with activity. Time to explore, so let’s start at the beginning: 7 pm and a nice cold lager.
It’s perhaps a sign of the importance that Münchners place on food and drink, that they even define their geographical location by it. If you’re reading this is Munich, congratulations: You’ve already made it across the “Weisswurst Equator”! This imaginary border (the exact location of which depends on who you’re talking to) separates Bavaria’s culinary and cultural heartland from the rest of Germany.
The big city atmosphere and rural charm, art treasures, costumes and high-tech: This very special „Munich mix“ has helped the capital of Bavaria to achieve world renown. But what adds the final touch to the city’s popularity is the drink that is associated with Munich throughout the world: beer. Internationally Munich is undoubtedly the Number One beer metropolis. The Oktoberfest, a festival of Munich’s beer and one of the Bavarian capital’s trade marks
When darkness falls and the snow on the roofs of the market stalls begins to sparkle in a glowing sea of fairy lights, it is then that the atmosphere of the Munich Christkindlmarkt in the central square of Marienplatz is at its most enchanting. The 3,000 lights on the soaring Christmas tree, the market’s landmark, glitter against the romantic backdrop of the neo-gothic town hall.
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