The architecture in Munich encompasses a wide range of buildings and churches in the Gothic style from the fifteenth century. The centrepiece here is the Frauenkirche or “Cathedral of Our Dear Lady”, whose twin towers are the city’s best-known landmark. These can be seen from a substantial distance owing to an old law which prohibits the construction of buildings exceeding their height of 100 metres.
A large array of monuments, grand avenues, buildings and squares may be ascribed to another predominant style, classicism, dating from the early nineteenth century when Bavaria was ruled by King Ludwig I. Unlike his grandson, King Ludwig II, who gave the city the cold shoulder, Ludwig I concentrated on turning Munich into a city of art – an “Athens on the Isar”. We owe to him much of the wonderful architecture in Munich, as well as the Oktoberfest. Additionally, it was during his era that the beer gardens so typical of the Bavarian exuberance or joie de vivre emerged. By his decree, a rule that allowed all visitors to bring their own food to the beer gardens was passed and is still in place today.
His passion for beautiful women was expressed by having 36 of them portrayed in his “Gallery of Beauties”, to be found within Nymphenburg Palace, the magnificent baroque summer palace of the Wittelsbach dynasty. It is here that King Ludwig II was born and the famous Nymphenburg porcelain is manufactured. Take a stroll through its extensive park and visit the small garden pavilions.
These kings were members of the Wittelsbach dynasty, which ruled in Bavaria for more than 700 years, until 1918. Their former main seat, the Residenz, is located in the city centre at Max-Joseph-Platz, next to Munich’s most popular opera house, the Nationaltheater. The Residenz is one of the largest palaces in Europe and is now a museum, a visit to which might easily last a full day.