Top Historic Sights in Munich, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Munich

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter"s Church is the oldest church in the Munich district. Before the foundation of Munich as a city in 1158, there had been a pre-Merovingian church on this site. 8th century monks lived around this church on a hill called Petersbergl. At the end of the 12th century a new church in the Bavarian Romanesque style was consecrated, and expanded in Gothic style shortly before the great fire in 1327, which destroyed ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Munich, Germany

New Town Hall

The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) hosts the Munich government including the city council, offices of the mayors and part of the administration. In 1874 the municipality had left the Old Town Hall for its new domicile. The town hall was built between 1867 and 1908 by Georg von Hauberrisser in a Gothic Revival architecture style. It covers an area of 9159 m² having 400 rooms. The 100 meters long main facade towards th ...
Founded: 1867-1908 | Location: Munich, Germany

Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) serves today as a building for representative purposes for the city council in Munich. The Old Town Hall bounds the central square Marienplatz on its east side. The building, documented for the first time in 1310, had its Grand Hall constructed in 1392/1394. The former Talburg Gate of the first city wall serves as spire. The Old Town Hall was re-designed in late-gothic style by Jörg ...
Founded: 1392 | Location: Munich, Germany

The Church of Our Lady

The Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) is undoubtedly the most famous landmark in the city of Munich. Its impressive domed twin towers rising a hundred metres into the sky can be seen from miles around. This triple-naved late-Gothic cathedral in Munich"s old quarter, which houses art treasures spanning five centuries, is the cathedral church of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising. The late-Gothic brick edifice with its ...
Founded: 1468-1488 | Location: Munich, Germany

Munich Residenz

The Munich Residenz is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs of the House of Wittelsbach. The Residenz is the largest city palace in Germany and is today open to visitors for its architecture, room decorations, and displays from the former royal collections. The complex of buildings contains ten courtyards and displays 130 rooms. A wing of the Festsaalbau contains the Cuvilliés Theatre since the reconstructio ...
Founded: 1508 | Location: Munich, Germany

Haus der Kunst

The Haus der Kunst is a non-collecting art museum constructed from 1933 to 1937 following plans of architect Paul Ludwig Troost as the Third Reich"s first monumental structure of Nazi architecture and as Nazi propaganda. The museum was opened in 1937 as a showcase for what the Third Reich regarded as Germany"s finest art. The inaugural exhibition was the Große Deutsche Kunstausstellung ('Great German ...
Founded: 1933-1937 | Location: Munich, Germany

Deutsches Museum

The Deutsches Museum is the world"s largest museum of science and technology, with approximately 1.5 million visitors per year and about 28,000 exhibited objects from 50 fields of science and technology. The museum was founded on June 28, 1903, at a meeting of the Association of German Engineers as an initiative of Oskar von Miller. The main site of the Deutsches Museum is a small island in the Isar river, which had ...
Founded: 1903 | Location: Munich, Germany

Propylaea

The Propylaea is a city gate in Munich at the west side of Koenigsplatz. The building constructed in Doric order was completed by Leo von Klenze in 1862 and evokes the monumental entrance of the Propylaea for the Athenian Acropolis. The gate was created as a memorial for the accession to the throne of Otto of Greece, a son of the principal King Ludwig I of Bavaria. As early as 1816 it was already considered to build the ...
Founded: 1862 | Location: Munich, Germany

Pinakothek der Moderne

The Pinakothek der Moderne is one of the world"s largest museums for modern and contemporary art. Designed by German architect Stephan Braunfels, the Pinakothek der Moderne was inaugurated in September 2002 after seven years of construction. In contrast to other cities Munich was not much affected by the Nazi regime"s banning of modern art as 'degenerate art,' since only a few modern paintings were al ...
Founded: 2002 | Location: Munich, Germany

St. Michael's Church

St. Michael"s Jesuit church in Munich is the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps. The style of the building had an enormous influence on Southern German early Baroque architecture. The church was built by William V, Duke of Bavaria between 1583 and 1597 as a spiritual center for the Counter Reformation. In order to realise his ambitious plans for the church and the adjoining college, Duke William had 87 hou ...
Founded: 1583-1597 | Location: Munich, Germany

Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace is the main summer residence of the former rulers of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach. The palace owes its foundation as a summer residence to the birth of the long-awaited heir to the throne, Max Emanuel, who was born in 1662 to the Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria and his wife, Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, after some ten years of marriage. In 1664 construction began to the plans of the north Itali ...
Founded: 1664 | Location: Munich, Germany

Isartor

The Isartor is one of four main gates of the medieval city wall. It served as a fortification for the defence and is the most easterly of Munich"s three remaining gothic town gates (Isartor, Sendlinger Tor and Karlstor). The Isartor was constructed in 1337 within the scope of the enlargement of Munich and the construction of the second city wall between 1285 and 1337 which was completed under the Emperor Louis IV. T ...
Founded: 1337 | Location: Munich, Germany

Alte Pinakothek

The Alte Pinakothek (Old Pinacotheca) is one of the oldest art museums in the world and houses one of the most famous collections of Old Master paintings. The name Alte (Old) Pinakothek refers to the time period covered by the collection—from the 14th to the 18th century. The Neue Pinakothek covers 19th-century art, and the recently opened Pinakothek der Moderne exhibits modern art. All three galleries are part of the B ...
Founded: 1836 | Location: Munich, Germany

Asam Church

St. Johann Nepomuk, better known as the Asam Church was built from 1733 to 1746 by the brothers Egid Quirin Asam and Cosmas Damian Asam as their private church. Due to resistance of the citizens, the brothers were forced to make the church accessible to the public. The church is considered to be one of the most important buildings of the main representatives of the southern German Late Baroque. The church was built witho ...
Founded: 1733-1746 | Location: Munich, Germany

Neue Pinakothek

The Neue Pinakothek is an art museum in Munich. Its focus is European Art of the 18th and 19th century and is one of the most important museums of art of the 19th century in the world. Together with the Alte Pinakothek and the Pinakothek der Moderne it is part of Munich"s 'Kunstareal' (the 'art area'). The museum was founded by the former King Ludwig I of Bavaria in 1853. The original building co ...
Founded: 1853 | Location: Munich, Germany

Church of All Saints

The Church of All Saints, also known as Holy Cross Church (Kreuzkirche) was built in 1478 by Jörg von Halsbach and was the first church with a cemetery in the St. Peter parish. It was once located at the crossing of four roads, whence the original suffix am Kreuz ('at the Cross'). It has unadorned brickwork walls, Gothicvaults and a tall bell tower. The interior was rebuilt from 1620 in Baroque style, the only remaining ...
Founded: 1478 | Location: Munich, Germany

Schleissheim Palace

Schleissheim Palace actually comprises three palaces in a grand baroque park in the village of Oberschleißheim, a suburb of Munich. The palace was a summer residence of the Bavarian rulers of the House of Wittelsbach. Old Schleissheim Palace The history of Schleissheim Palace started with a renaissance country house (1598) and hermitage founded by William V close to Dachau Palace. The central gate and clock tower ...
Founded: 1617-1704 | Location: Munich, Germany

St. Boniface's Abbey

St. Boniface"s Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1835 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria, as a part of his efforts to reanimate the country"s spiritual life by the restoration of the monasteries destroyed during the secularisation of the early 19th century. The abbey, constructed in Byzantine style, was formally dedicated in 1850. It was destroyed in World War II and only partly restored. The church contains ...
Founded: 1835 | Location: Munich, Germany

Ludwigskirche

The Catholic Parish and University Church St. Louis, called Ludwigskirche, is a monumental church in neo-romanesque style with the second-largest altar fresco of the world. The building, with its round arches called the Rundbogenstil, strongly influenced other church architecture, train stations and synagogues in both Germany and the United States. The Ludwigskirche was built by the architect Friedrich von Gärtner f ...
Founded: 1829 | Location: Munich, Germany

Blutenburg Castle

Blutenburg Castle is an old ducal country seat in the west of Munich. The castle was built between two arms of the River Würm for Duke Albert III, Duke of Bavaria in 1438–39 as a hunting-lodge, replacing an older castle burned down in war. The origin of this castle is a moated castle of the 13th century. The core of this castle was a residential tower, the remains of which were uncovered in 1981. The fortress w ...
Founded: 1438-1439 | Location: Munich, Germany

Amalienburg

The Amalienburg is an elaborate hunting lodge in the grounds of Nymphenburg Palace. It was constructed in 1734-1739 by François de Cuvilliés, in Rococo style, for the later Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII and his wife, Maria Amalia of Austria. Most of the ground floor is given over to the round Hall of Mirrors in the center of the building which mirrored walls reflect the external nature. It was designed by ...
Founded: 1734-1739 | Location: Munich, Germany

Fürstenried Palace

Fürstenried Palace is a Baroque palace built by Joseph Effner for Elector Maximilian II Emanuel in 1715–17 as a hunting lodge. Two pavilions are added each in the south and north of the main building. A few years later (1726) a fire damaged the Fürstenried Palace. The following year, at the birth of the future Maximilian III, Fürstenried went as puerperal gift to the Princess Maria Amalia of Austria, ...
Founded: 1715 | Location: Munich, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.