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Referred to as one of the four royal avenues of the city, the street is the brain child of Maximilian II, King of Bavaria. Construction of the street began in 1850. On a trip to Munich, a walk down this avenue of glitter and glamour is a must. Along the Maximilianstraße, you will find stores of some of the biggest names in fashion as well as the city's upscale cafes and eateries. Some of the designer labels you can find here include Chanel, Gucci and Versace.
In 1385 the ruling Wittelsbach family decided to build a new palace since the Alter Hof had become too small for their needs. Today, the former Royal Palace of Wittelsbach is one of the most extensive and recognizable landmarks of Munich. The main building was the first part of the royal residence to be erected. The palace grounds are a treasure chest of historic landmarks including numerous grottoes, courtyards, fountains, a medicine room, chapel and the delightful Wittelsbach fountain built by Duke Otto between 1611 and 1623. The Residenz houses the Crown Jewels, the State Collection of Egyptian Art, the late-baroque Residenz Theatre and the classicist Herkulessaal, a concert hall with amazing acoustics. A magnificent reminder of Germany's past, the Residenz is a spectacular peek into the royal family's lifestyle and cultural influence on the city.
Built according to plans drawn up by Friedrich von Gärtner during 1841-44, the Feldherrenhalle (Field Marshall's Hall) was commissioned by King Ludwig I, who demanded that it be modeled on Florence's Loggia dei Lanzi. The building reflects the transition between the medieval town and the new city of Munich (the present-day Maxvorstadt). The Feldherrenhalle stands above Odeonsplatz and its ground (the piece of land between Theatiner and Residenzstraße), was once occupied by Schwabinger Tor, until it was demolished in 1817. In the 1930s and 1940s, the hall was an important memorial for the Nazis, as it was here that Hitler's attempted putsch came to an end on 9th November 1923. People were compelled to salute and say Sieg Heil whenever they passed by. The tiny alley behind the Feldherrenhalle came to be known as Drückebergergässchen or Shirker's Alley, because those who did not want to salute, would use it as a detour.
Only the Saalbau (the main hall) and the tower remain of the Old Town Hall. The tower was first erected on Marienplatz in 1180 as a watchtower to defend the eastern side of the city. It was destroyed several times over the centuries and reconstructed in the early 1970s according to the architect's plans from the year 1462. The tower is now also home to the Toy Museum. One of the most beautiful Gothic halls in the country, the Saalbau was completed in 1480 by Jörg von Halsbach, who also designed the Frauenkirche.
One of Munich's best-known landmarks, the neo-gothic Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) was built during the period of architectural revival in Germany from 1867-1909. Although it is now an unmistakable part of the cityscape, its architectural style is extremely popular and highly discussed even today. The carillon is built into the tower and performs at 11a and 5p every day, with 32 figures portraying a knightly joust and dance. There are additional performances between May and October. The viewing point on the ninth floor can be reached by lift.
Marienplatz has been at the center of the city ever since it was founded by Henry the Lion in 1158. Named after the Marian Column of Mariensaule which was built in 1638 to mark the end of Swedish rule in Germany, the square is one of the most historically rich cultural hubs of the city. Serving as a bustling marketplace in its early days, the square retained its position as the city's social core even after the market was moved. Replete with monuments, Marienplatz is thronged by tourists admiring the intricate 100 meter (300 feet) high Gothic facade of the New Town Hall and the waters of the Fish Fountain. The Marian column forms the centerpiece of the square, with a golden statue of Mother Mary perched on its top.
One of the oldest of Munich's city gates was built in 1337 and served as a fortification for the defense of the city under Kaiser Ludwig of Bavaria. It is the only gate to remain in its original form and is one of the few remaining landmarks from that period. The Isartor was restored between 1833-35 by Friedrich von Gärtner. The frescoes, painted in 1835, depict the victorious return of Kaiser Ludwig after the Battle of Ampfing in 1322. The building now houses the Valentin Musäum.
A major square in Munich, Odeonplatz was named after the Odeon concert hall that is situated nearby and is now a government building. This square is a landmark, leading on to the historical Ludwigstraße. It used to be a gateway to the city in the times of King Ludwig I's rule. Many impressive monumental structures are found flanking it on each side which add to the beauty of the square.
One of the most beautiful fountains in Munich is located on a terrace on Lenbachplatz, overlooking the clusters of trees on Maximilianplatz. Like the other buildings on the axis of Karlsplatz, Lenbachplatz and Maximiliansplatz, Wittelsbacher Fountain was constructed at the beginning of the 19th Century by Adolf Von Hildebrand to celebrate the installation of the municipal water supply system. This landmark symbolizes various facets of water, the man hurling the stone represents a destructive aspect, whereas the woman bearing a bowl represents the positive aspect of water. The fountain is a fine example of visual art which combines Roman Baroque with the classical genre of artwork.
The triple-arched Siegestor was constructed based on designs by Friedrich von Gärtner. It is primarily a monument to the Bavarian army and its success in the Napoleonic war of liberation, and is also considered to be a reminder to maintain peace. The proportions of the arch resemble the Constantine Gate in Rome, on which it was modeled. The top of the arch is decorated with bronze figures depicting Bavaria on a chariot being led by four lions. The Siegestor marks the northern end of Ludwigstraße and the start of Schwabing, one of the city's most popular nightlife spots.
Theresienwiese, located conveniently near the city center, plays host to some of Munich's most well-known events like the Munich Oktoberfest which celebrates the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen at this location in 1810. The spacious outdoor area is a perfect site for a variety of large-scale events.
Earlier known as the Feilitzsch Platz, Münchner Freiheit is a modern square deep-rooted in history. In fact, it got its name from the German word Freiheit that means freedom. During the World War II, Freiheitsaktion Bayern (a resistance group) led a movement that requested people to reject the Nazi movement. And, hence the symbolic name that represents freedom from Nazism. Today, with so many cafes and restaurants here, the place is always abuzz and there is never a dull moment. Movie theaters, retail outlets, regional eateries make for a great shopping-cum-dining trip. It is well-connected and easily accessible, owing to the subway station located just a stone throw-away from here. While you are around, do explore this landmark and indulge yourself in good food and some retail therapy.