Munich (German: München) is the capital city of Bavaria, Germany. Munich is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps and is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg. Its native name, München, is derived from the Old German word for Mönche, which means “Monks” in English. This is the reason for the monk on the city’s coat of arms. Black and gold – the colors of the Holy Roman Empire – have been the city’s official colors since the time of Ludwig the Bavarian.
Munich is a great town to walk around. Its relatively small and has all of the charm one would expect of an old German town. There are Bavarian souvenir stores juxtaposed against cutting edge fashion stores. A great city to visit for a day or two – particularly if you like a nice lager!
The Oktoberfest is a sixteen-day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany during late September (and running to early October). It is one of the most famous events in the city and the world’s largest fair, with some six million people attending every year, and is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event. Oktoberfestbiers are the beers that have been served at the event in Munich since 1818, and are supplied by 6 breweries known as the Big Six: Spaten, Löwenbräu, Augustiner, Hofbräu, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr.
The Munich Oktoberfest, traditionally, takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October. In 1990, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3rd (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the 1st Sunday is October 2nd and 18 days when it is October 1st. The festival is held on an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called d’ Wiesn for short.
Visitors also eat huge amounts of food, most of it traditional hearty fare such as Wurst sausage, Hendl (chicken), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), and Sauerkraut, along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a fatty, spiced cheese-butter concoction), roast ox tails and Reiberdatschi (apple pancakes).
I have been to two Oktoberfests. The first one was over 10 years ago when I had an opportunity to enjoy the festivities and beers. During my second time in 2007 I was less fortunate. Unfortunately I had a board meeting and could only pass through the festivities on my way to the airport!
Marienplatz (en: Mary’s Square) is a central square in the city center of Munich, Germany since 1158. In the Middle Ages markets and tournaments were held in this city square. The Glockenspiel in the new city hall was inspired by these tournaments, and draws millions of tourists a year. Marienplatz was named after the Mariensäule, a Marian column erected in its centre in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation. It is home to Munich’s Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus) and the New City Hall (Neues Rathaus).
It’s a gothic council hall and ballroom and tower, which have been reconstructed. The New City Hall was built 1867 – 1909 in Flanders gothic style; its facade, over 300 feet in length, features strikingly elaborate stone ornamentation. Its 260-foot tower with carillon is, with the nearby St. Peter’s Church and the twin towers of the Cathedral, one of the most distinctive features of the city’s skyline.”
The Frauenkirche (full name Dom zu unserer lieben Frau, “Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady”) is the largest church in the Bavarian capital of Munich. Located in the city center at Frauenplatz 1, the Catholic cathedral is a major landmark and a popular tourist attraction. Today, the cathedral and the New Town Hall dominate the city center, and its towers can be seen from all directions.