Sights in Munich
Munich's Ten Best Sights
This is not only Munich's most important museum, but it also houses one of the finest collections in Europe. The collection was started by the Wittelsbach family in the 1500's, and it has grown ever since. The neoclassical building is huge and the collection has thousands of pieces with only 900 on display at any one time. All of the works are by 14th to18th century European artists including Dürer, Rembrandt, Botticelli, Raphael and Titian just to name a few. The gallery is too large to see in a single visit, so purchase the description book and decide which halls to visit before you begin.
Beer Gardens and Beer Halls
No trip to Munich is complete without a stop in one of the Beer Gardens or Beer Halls. While there are literally thousands of options for places to enjoy this German tradition, we have listed a few favorites.
This is really a day trip from Munich, located about 10 miles from the city center. The Dachau Memorial is located at the first World War II Nazi concentration camp. A somber visit includes a thorough museum with film, and a walk through the camp to see a reconstructed barrack, crematorium and the memorials that have been erected since the war. This is not a tourist attraction, but rather a memorial to those that died and a reminder that we should never forget.
This Museum is the largest technological museum in the world. The museum is a hands-on exploration of German science and technology and includes the first car, the first diesel engine and exhibits on steam engines, musical instruments, mining, electricity, printing, photography, glass blowing and space exploration. The staff is knowledgeable about the exhibits and speaks English.
This is the largest city owned park in Europe and is on the scale of New York's Central Park. There are foot paths for walking or biking through grassy fields, forests and along streams. On warm summer days you will find the park filled with sunbathers, many of whom are nude. A highlight is the area around the Chinese Pagoda where you can have a beer in the shade or the Japanese Tea House where you can enjoy a cup of tea. This is a perfect getaway for those who enjoy serenity over the hustle and bustle of a thriving city.
Haus der Kunst
This building was built by Hitler to house Nazi art at a time when liberal art and books were being burned. After the war in an ironic twist, the fascist looking building was converted to showcase the art that had been earlier condemned as degenerate. Exhibits change frequently. If you are not interested in old world art, this is a refreshing change.
This is Munich's main plaza dedicated to the city's patron. Mary's gold statue is on top of a column in the center of the square. The Neues Rathaus (New City Hall-19th Century) is a focal point. At 10:30 AM, 12:00 noon and 5:00 PM the Glockenspiel on the façade reveals a performance. Notice how the Bavarian jouster dressed in blue and white beats the German jouster. To the right is the Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall-15th Century) which features a Gothic style tower. Connecting to the Marienplatz is Europe's first pedestrian street. Against the shop owners' will, this area was closed to cars for the 1972 Olympics. The removal of cars turned out to be a huge success for business and today the street is lined with shops, restaurants and beer halls.
This palace is in a suburb of central Munich, but can be reached by tram or by using the underground along with a bus. The palace was a summer home for the Wittelsbach family. Construction began in 1644 and did not finish until 1702. There are a variety of styles used, from Italian villa to French baroque. A highlight is the Gallery of Beauties featuring 36 portraits of the most beautiful women in King Ludwig I's time. The greatest attraction however is the 500 acre park in front of the palace.
While the Wittelsbach family had many palaces and castles, they only had one home, and that is the Residenz. This was the official residence of Bavarian rulers from 1385 to 1918. The complex was nearly destroyed in World War II but has been rebuilt in the same style and now houses the following: the Residenz Museum, a concert hall, the Cuvilliés Theater and the Treasury (Schatzkammer). The complex is quite large, so we advise getting the English floor plan and heading for the main attractions. The Ancestors' Gallery is a hall showing portraits and the lineage of the Wittelsbach family. The Antiquarian Hall features busts of Roman Emperors, the King's Apartments and the Throne Room. In the Treasury be sure to see the statue of St. George Slaying the Dragon. The statue is made of gold but embedded with thousand of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and other precious stones.
Views of Munich
For a breathtaking view of Munich and, on a clear day, of the nearby Alps, we recommend one of the following:
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