“München mag dich (Munich Loves You)” The city’s motto since 2006
Munich is the capital of the German state of Bavaria, a land of mystical forests, medieval castles, snow-capped mountains, splendid palaces and baroque churches. The city is very much part of fairytale Bavaria - take a trip through the winding medieval streets around the Marienplatz or to the Rathaus (Town Hall) when the glockenspiel in the tower is ringing and you can feel the magic in the air. Munich is also steeped in history, the city’s name derives from “München”, Old High German for ‘by the monks’ which refers to the city’s 12th century beginnings as a Benedictine monastery, and a monk still features on the city’s coat of arms.
Historic architecture defines the city’s skyline; the Cathedral Church of Our Lady is a particularly striking landmark in the city. However, the city was bombed severely during both world wars, so a lot of the quaint fairytale buildings are actually modern imitations. However, history lovers can still get their fix from a visit to the baroque Nymphenburg Palace, previously the summer residence of Bavarian monarchs, or Mad King Ludwig’s breath-taking Palace Neuschwanstein, just outside Munich, which was famously the inspiration for the Disney castle.
Bavarians are incredibly proud of their traditions – Munich is a city of lederhosen, dirndls and oompah bands. In Munich you have the chance to sample the traditional cuisine, such as the famous wheat beer, bread dumpling, apple strudel, white sausage and wines from the famous Franconia region. The city centre also boasts the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, arguably the most famous beer hall worldwide. It runs the second largest tent at Oktoberfest, one of Munich's most famous attractions. For two weeks, the Oktoberfest attracts millions of people visiting its beer tents (Bierzelte) and fairground attractions.
Don’t let the pride in tradition and its fairytale quality fool you, Munich is one of the most prosperous and fasted growing cities in Germany. It is also one of the cultural centres of Europe thanks to its museums, art galleries and theatres. Particular highlights include the modern art at the Pinakotek gallery, the stunning architecture of the BMW museum, and the National Theatre where many of Wagner’s opera’s premiered thanks to the patronage of Ludwig II. Interestingly many of the English speaking residents of Munich refer to it as ‘Toytown’, due to the absence of the more unpleasant elements of urban living – litter, dirt and crime. Instead Munich offers history, culture and magic.