To experience the best and arguably most iconic view of Munich…
The distinctive onion shaped domes of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) and the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) overlooking the square of Marienplatz. A delightful view
…pay just two Euros (2014) to climb the bell tower of neighbouring St Peterskirche (Church of St Peter). The climb up is not unusually high for a bell tower, but the only public stairway into and out of it is rather narrow in parts …
Hoping not to meet any burger lovers coming up on one’s way down
… and the entrance criteria seems rather thorough to say the least …
No four-legged ghosts, no ice creams, no mobile phones, no fiddling with oneself and no gangsters permitted
But the effort to reach the top is certainly worth it. The views from this vantage point over this charming Bavarian city in the South of Germany are superb.
A closer view of the Frauenkirche from the top of St Peterskirche with the (hideous) Olympiaturm (Olympic tower) in the distance (right)
Typical Bavarian rooftops seen from the bell tower of St Peterskirche, although most of these (including the bell tower) date circa 1945. Most of what can be seen in this photograph was reconstructed after severe bomb damage during the Second World War. The Altas Rathaus (Old Town Hall) also damaged heavily during the war, is centre left
The Neo Gothic Neues Rathaus
The best time to reach the top of St Peterskirche’s tower is minutes before midday. Hearing the beautiful sonorous chimes of the Frauenkirche orchestrating all the other church bells across the city whilst enjoying the panoramic views, is quite special (and don’t worry, the bells of St Peterskirche do not take part so you won’t be left deaf after the experience).
When the midday bells cease, it’s time for the popular Rathaus-Glockenspiel (Town Hall clock) opposite to begin its performance. At 12.05pm the figurines of this endearing clock re-enact the marriage celebrations of Bavaria’s beloved Duke Whilem V. These celebrations led to the birth of Munich’s famous Hofbräuhaus and Oktoberfest and are remembered fondly by the city, as the clock demonstrates. The ‘dance’ can last up to 15 minutes depending on the tune being played by the clock’s bells, and is performed daily year-round at 11am and noon, and additionally at 5pm during the summer months.
The Rathaus-Glockenspiel in motion from 12.05pm, seen (with zoom lens) from the top of St Peterskirche. Straining one’s eyes from this vantage point to watch it is arguably more comfortable than straining one’s neck from the street level below, as most tourists tend to do
Once back down on street level, it is worth popping into St Peterskirche itself for a rather unusual sight …
… and I’m not talking about the sight of Christmas trees in the middle of February
Close to the back of the church along the left hand aisle, resides the bejeweled remains of Saint Munditia, the patron saint of spinsters. Little is known about her other than she martyred herself by being beheaded with a hatchet. Head and body have clearly been lovingly reunited albeit with the addition of a pair of rather sad looking false blue eyes. The expression created makes Ms Munditia look as though she is pining for a lost beau … or maybe she’s just fed up with carrying all that extra weight from her jewellery.
Germany’s answer to Miss Havisham: the ghoulish remains of Saint Munditia
Munich’s fascination with the ghoulish continues just across Marienplatz in the Gothic Neues Rathaus. Gargoyles and grotesques poke out from the courtyard walls, pulling uncivilised faces at the tourists below.
Not the warmest of welcomes for visitors to the courtyards of the Neues Rathaus
Gargoyles and grotesques expressing what they really think about the less than authentic plastic drain pipe next to them
This rather cute grotesque shares a striking resemblance to actor Willem Dafoe
And here are some more photographs illustrating the weird, macabre and unintentionally comical side of the Bavarian capital:
Brussels may have the Manneken Pis, but Munich likes to take the …. This fountain near Karlesplatz features a satyr spitting on a young boy in response to him trying to stop the satyr peeing (apparently)
The Alter Hof, once the home of the Bavarian royal family, dating back in parts to the 12th century. It appears sensible enough, until the legend of its oriel window (centre) is told …
The ‘Monkey Tower’ as it is more commonly known, was apparently the sight of a royal kidnapping; a monkey belonging to the Court snatched the young Ludwig IV and carried him off up to the top of this window where the two sat for several hours before the monkey was lured back down and the baby was saved from harm. Another version of this bizarre tale suggests the monkey was actually saving the child from a wild pig
Superstitious rubbings by passers-by over the years have revealed ghostly faces on the shields of the lions guarding the entrance to the Residenz Palace
I couldn’t help but see actor Donald Pleasence in this detail of the eerily beautiful grotto (Perseus Fountain) inside the Residenz Palace
The Munich branch of the successful, if not bizarrely named German jewellery chain, presumably named so because this is what potential customers are heard uttering on first seeing the price of most of the store’s goods
Is that the Frauenkirche or a character from Angry Birds?
Stunning restorations and Restoration plots at the Residenz Palace …
More on Bavaria’s much loved Oktoberfest from its not so humble beer-ginnings …
… and heavenly views from a hellish tower in the city’s Olympic Park.