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 colossal saddleback roof, erected by Jörg von Hasbach between 1468 and 1488, towers over the other buildings in Munich"s old quarter. The Church of Our Lady is one of the largest hall churches in southern Germany. Despite its dimensions, it is the beauty and simplicity of the church which captivate its visitors. Inside there are many precious art treasures, such as the choir windows from the late 14th century which originate from the previous church, the figures of the apostles and prophets by Erasmus Grasser, and 18th century gilded reliefs by Ignaz Günther depicting scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. The oldest tombs of the House of Wittelsbach are found in the royal vault under the choir, among them Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian and his sons.
The altars and the side altars, remodelled in the baroque style, are especially beautiful, as are the chapels which contain works by various artists, including van Dyck"s Christ on the Cross. Legend has it that the devil demanded the church be built without windows. When he went inside to inspect the building, he left behind a footprint in the entrance to the church. Thanks to an architectural illusion, no windows can be seen from the 'devil"s footprint' just inside the door, and the devil left satisfied. The towers house a total of ten bells with beautiful chimes, which are rung at different times throughout the day and on special occasions. The bells are amongst the most valuable and historical in Germany.
The Church of Our Lady has seating for 4,000 people and is always well attended. The south tower is open to the public. From the top, which can be reached either on foot or by lift, there is a splendid view of the city and the nearby Alps.References:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.