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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 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.
Located in Marienplatz, the heart of Munich, Glockenspiel is a very famous tourist attraction. It is a clockwork structure built in the 19th century and is exactly opposite Café Glockenspiel, which provides a perfect view of the structure. A dance performance is shown which reenacts the tale of the marriage of the local Duke Wilhelm V. The duration of the act relies on the tune played, which is approximately between 10 to 15 minutes. A tiny gilt bird chirps three times to signal the end of the performance. A must see spectacle, when in Munich.
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 (328-feet) high Gothic façade 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.
Set against a clear blue sky, the towers of the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) form Munich's most celebrated landmark. The distinctive towers, built in 1525, make the church of considerable architectural interest as they are considered to be the precursors of the Renaissance style. The church itself was designed by Gothic architect Jörg von Halsbach in 1468. Its size is imposing, but its simplicity and symmetry rule out any suggestion of ostentation. The interior is mainly Gothic, but the altars were redesigned in the 18th Century under Baroque influence.
A beautiful symbol of perseverance, this quiet Baroque church was constructed by the Cosmas brothers in the 18th Century. An impressive entrance framed by striking rocks greets visitors, and the church's interior is just as exquisite. The walls are red stucco, which is among the reasons that this church is regarded as a pioneering example of German late-Baroque architecture. The interior is adorned with numerous artistic elements, including the remarkable "Life of Saint Nepomuk", a fresco attributed to Cosmas Damian Asam. Unlike other churches, the altar of Asam Church lies in the west. The revered religious structure also contains a restored choir.
St Ludwig's Church was built in the New Roman-Byzantine style and boasts of monumental wall paintings. Located opposite the Theatinerkirche St. Kajetan, St Ludwig's towers high over Schellingstrasse. The interior, with frescos by Peter von Cornelius, exudes a peaceful, romantic atmosphere. The fresco 'Das jüngste Gericht', a copy of Michelangelo's 'Jüngstes Gericht' in Rome, is one of the largest frescos ever painted. St.Ludwig's was built during 1829-44 by Friedrich Gärtner and acted as both the university and parish church. It was built at the request of King Ludwig I, who wished a church to be built on the newly constructed Ludwigstraße. The church was heavily damaged during the war, and repair work took until 1958 to complete. Nowadays, St Ludwig's basks in all its splendor.
Construction of the gigantic and symmetrical Königsplatz square began in 1816, several years after the plans for a western entrance to the city had been drawn up. The Propyläen to the west (Doric), Glyptothek to the north (Ionic) and the Antikensammlungen (now the State Collection of Antiques) on the southern side (Corinthian) are symbolic of religion, history and art. Crown Prince Ludwig, later Ludwig I, intended it to be a cultural forum. The Führerbau (Führer Building) and the Academy of Music and the State Collection of Graphics can also be seen on the east side of the square.
Whilst in Munich, Augustiner-Bräu Wagner is definitely a must-visit attraction! Founded in 1328, this ancient brewery is the oldest one in Munich. An independent place, it is known to produce some of the most renowned beer brands. This brewery is shared by the trust of Edith Haberland Wagner and the Inselkammer-Family. Augustiner-Bräustuben, the in-house Beer Garten and Restaurant, is the perfect place to sample some of the fine brews, delicious Bavarian specialties and more. The famous beer festival 'Oktoberfest' is celebrated at the biggest beer gardens here too.
One of the oldest English-style landscape gardens and one of the largest municipal parks in Europe, the Englischer Garten is Munich's most fascinating park. Sprawling across an area of 3.7 square kilometres (1.4 square miles), this place is one of the largest public parks in the world. The park features some of the best architecturally diverse landmarks along its vast verdant expanse and rolling lawns. From a Chinese pagoda with an adjoining beer garden and the Monopteros Greek temple, to a Japanese Tea House, the park is full of intriguing monuments and landmarks. Artificial streams gush through the park and several surfers can be seen gliding effortlessly along its foamy waters. Also housing an artificial lake and an open-air theater, the urban park is one of the best socio-cultural hubs of Munich.
Built for the 1972 Olympic Games, the Olympic complex is now used for a variety of leisure activities ranging from sports events to concerts. The 287-meter (942-foot) high Olympic Tower boasts a stunning view of the city. On a good day, visitors can go up and see as far as the Alps. There is also a rotating restaurant at the top. The famous canopy roof which spans the Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Swimming Pool and the Olympiahalle were a topic of debate in their day. The complex is, however, timelessly beautiful and has become an integral part of the modern cityscape. The Olympiaberg (Olympic Hill) is a grassy mound made from Second World War rubble and also provides great views. The ice rink and swimming pool are also popular with sports fans, as is the Olympic Stadium, home to FC Bayern Munich- one of Europe's top football clubs.
Longer in width than the Palace of Versailles, Schloss Nymphenburg was the impressive summer residence of the Wittelsbachs. One of the most popular attractions in Munich, the palace and its grounds are home to several landmarks showcasing diverse architectural styles. Designed by Italian Baroque architect Augustino Barelli, the palace still preserves its rococo and baroque rooms. The ornate, marble polished Stone Hall is particularly impressive and the famous 'Schönheitengalerie' (Gallery of the Beauties) containing the portraits of 36 local women, is a must see for visitors. A few interesting smaller palaces can be found in the park: the Amalienburg, Pagodenburg and Badenburg. The Marstallmuseum has a comprehensive display of carriages, sleds and crockery, while the Meditationskapelle (Meditation Chapel) with its Magdalenenklause is also worth a visit.
The Bavaria Film Studios have often been described as Munich's Hollywood, and it is easy to see why. Founded in 1919 and used over the years by legends like Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock, the studios still produce an amazing number of films and television programs. Visitors can watch stunt men in action, marvel at special effects shows and see their favorite film stars. Check the website for details on upcoming events.