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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.
Facing Residenz Palace, the Hofgarten (Court Garden) was commissioned by Duke Maximilian I and built between 1613-17. Stroll through this beautiful garden and notice that all of the paths converge on the dodecahedral pavilion in the center, which is crowned by a statue of Diana, one of Bavaria's most recognizable symbols. The Hofgarten is enclosed on two sides by a series of arcades which were originally decorated with murals. The only surviving painting is Peter von Cornelius' fascinating depiction of the story of the Bavarian royal family.
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.
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.
Kunstareal is the part of Munich where all the museums and galleries are located. The Geological Museum has a “Geo Forum” which has all the latest displays and information on geological developments. With its display of fossils and specimens, the Paleontological Museum makes an interesting visit for kids too. The Museum Brandhorst has a wonderful collection of modern art. There are many more museums and galleries to visit here. Check the website for open hours.
Running through Schwabing, this main street is the continuation of Ludwigstraße, and you will find many places of interest and landmarks along the way. The iconic Walking Man, Münchner Freiheit and Kunstakademie can be spotted on the streetside besides fast cars and glam locals. There are also good spots to stop by and relax under shady promenades and grab a bite or coffee.
When the sun's out in the summer, Munich has a real holiday feel. As well as going to the open-air swimming pools, locals like to gather on the banks of the River Isar to perfect their tan. The Flaucher, close to the zoo, is the most popular spot, and on a sunny weekend, all hell breaks loose. After all, if you have been working on your tan all day, you need fortifying in the evening. On warm summer nights, the Flaucher is full of locals enjoying a barbecue and a couple of drinks. The best way to get here is via Thalkirchner Bridge; it then takes about ten minutes on foot. This is the native's beach substitute and in the summer, you'll always find people perfecting their tan here. Spend a warm evening having a barbecue here with your friends. The Flauchersteg leads to a lovely path that will get you to the Thalkirchner Bridge in about 10 minutes.