Munich Travel Guide

Culture

Language

The Austro-Bavarian language is also spoken in and around Munich, with its variety Upper Bavarian (Oberbayrisch). Austro-Bavarian has no official status by the Bavarian authorities or local government yet is recognised by the SIL and has its own ISO-639 code.

Museums

The Deutsches Museum or German Museum, located on an island in the River Isar, is the largest and one of the oldest science museums in the world. Three redundant exhibition buildings which are under a protection order were converted to house the Verkehrsmuseum, which houses the land transport collections of the Deutsches Museum. Deutsches Museum's Flugwerft Schleissheim flight exhibition centre is located nearby, on the Schleissheim Special Landing Field.

Several non-centralised museums (many of those are public collections at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) show the expanded state collections of palaeontology, geology, mineralogy, zoology, botany and anthropology.

The city has several important art galleries, most of which can be found in the Kunstareal, including the Alte Pinakothek, the Neue Pinakothek, the Pinakothek der Moderne and the Museum Brandhorst. Alte Pinakothek's monolithic structure contains a treasure trove of the works of European masters between the 14th and 18th centuries. The collection reflects the eclectic tastes of the Wittelsbachs over four centuries, and is sorted by schools over two sprawling floors. Major displays include Albrecht Dürer's Christ-like Self-Portrait, his Four Apostles, Raphael's paintings The Canigiani Holy Family and Madonna Tempi as well as Peter Paul Rubens two-storey-high Judgment Day. The gallery houses one of the world's most comprehensive Rubens collections. Before World War I, the Blaue Reiter group of artists worked in Munich. Many of their works can now be seen at the Lenbachhaus.

An important collection of Greek and Roman art is held in the Glyptothek and the Staatliche Antikensammlung (State Antiquities Collection). King Ludwig I managed to acquire such famous pieces as the Medusa Rondanini, the Barberini Faun and figures from the Temple of Aphaea on Aegina for the Glyptothek. The Kunstareal will be further augmented by the completion of the Egyptian Museum.

The famous gothic Morris dancers of Erasmus Grasser are exhibited in the Munich City Museum in the old gothic arsenal building in the inner city.

Another area for the arts next to the Kunstareal is the Lehel quarter between the old town and the river Isar: The State Museum of Ethnology in Maximilianstraße is the second largest collection in Germany of artifacts and objects from outside Europe, while the Bavarian National Museum and the adjoining Bavarian State Archaeological Collection in Prinzregentenstrasse rank among Europe's major art and cultural history museums. The nearby Schackgalerie is an important gallery of German 19th-century paintings.

The former Dachau concentration camp is outside the city.

Arts and literature

Munich is a major European cultural centre and has played host to many prominent composers including Orlando di Lasso, W.A. Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Max Reger and Carl Orff. With the Munich Biennale founded by Hans Werner Henze, and the A*DEvantgarde festival, the city still contributes to modern music theatre.

The Nationaltheater where several of Richard Wagner's operas had their premieres under the patronage of Ludwig II of Bavaria is the home of the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Orchestra. Next door the modern Residenz Theatre was erected in the building that had housed the Cuvilliés Theatre before World War II. Many operas were staged there, including the premiere of Mozart's "Idomeneo" in 1781. The Gärtnerplatz Theatre is a ballet and musical state theatre while another opera house the Prinzregententheater has become the home of the Bavarian Theatre Academy.

The modern Gasteig center houses the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. The third orchestra in Munich with international importance is the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Its primary concert venue is the Herkulesaal in the former city royal residence, the Residenz. A stage for shows, big events and musicals is the Deutsche Theater. It is Germany's largest theatre for guest performances.

Next to the Bavarian Staatsschauspiel in the Residenz Theatre (Residenztheater), the Munich Kammerspiele in the Schauspielhaus is one of the most important German language theatres in the world. Since Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's premieres in 1775 many important writers have staged their plays in Munich such as Christian Friedrich Hebbel, Henrik Ibsen and Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

The city is known as the second largest publishing center in the world (around 250 publishing houses have offices in the city), and many national and international publications are published in Munich, such as Arts in Munich, LAXMag and Prinz.

Prominent literary figures worked in Munich especially during the final centuries of the Kingdom of Bavaria such as Paul Heyse, Max Halbe, Rainer Maria Rilke and Frank Wedekind.

The period immediately before World War I saw economic and cultural prominence for the city. Munich, and especially its suburb of Schwabing, became the domicile of many artists and writers. Thomas Mann, who also lived there, wrote ironically in his novella Gladius Dei about this period, "Munich shone". It remained a centre of cultural life during the Weimar period with figures such as Lion Feuchtwanger, Bertolt Brecht and Oskar Maria Graf. In 1919 the Bavaria Film Studios were founded.

From the Gothic to the Baroque era, the fine arts were represented in Munich by artists like Erasmus Grasser, Jan Polack, Johann Baptist Straub, Ignaz Günther, Hans Krumpper, Ludwig von Schwanthaler, Cosmas Damian Asam, Egid Quirin Asam, Johann Baptist Zimmermann, Johann Michael Fischer and François de Cuvilliés.

Munich had already become an important place for painters like Carl Rottmann, Lovis Corinth, Wilhelm von Kaulbach, Carl Spitzweg, Franz von Lenbach, Franz von Stuck and Wilhelm Leibl when Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a group of expressionist artists, was established in Munich in 1911. The city was home to the Blue Rider's painters Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Alexej von Jawlensky, Gabriele Münter, Franz Marc, August Macke and Alfred Kubin.

Hofbräuhaus and Oktoberfest

The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, arguably the most famous beer hall worldwide, is located in the city centre. It also operates the second largest tent at the 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. The Oktoberfest was first held on 12 October 1810 in honour of the marriage of crown prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The festivities were closed with a horse race and in the following years the horse races were continued and later developed into what is now known as the Oktoberfest. Despite its name, most of Oktoberfest occurs in September. It always finishes on the first Sunday in October unless the German national holiday on 3 October ("Tag der deutschen Einheit"-Day of German Unity) is a Monday or Tuesday-then the Oktoberfest remains open for these days.

Culinary specialities

The Weißwurst ('white sausage') is a Munich speciality. Traditionally eaten only before 12:00 noon—a tradition dating to a time before refrigerators—these morsels are often served with sweet mustard and freshly baked pretzels. Leberkäs, Bavarian baked sausage loaf, often served with potato salad, is another delicacy of the region.

The most famous soup might be the Leberknödel Soup. Leberknödel is a bread dumpling seasoned with liver and onions.

Schweinsbraten (pot roasted pork) with Knödel (dumplings made from potatoes or white bread) and Kraut (cabbage) or a Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) are served as lunch or dinner. Beuscherl, a plate of lung, heart and spleen is also served with dumplings.

Popular desserts include Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) with vanilla sauce, Millirahmstrudel (a cream cheese strudel), Dampfnudeln (yeast dumplings served with custard) and Auszogene, a fried pastry shaped like a large doughnut without a hole. One of the most famous specialties is the Prinzregententorte created in honour of the 19th-century prince regent Luitpold.

Some specialities are typical cold dishes served in beergardens: Obatzda is a Bavarian cheese delicacy, a savoury blend of smashed mellow camembert prepared with cream cheese, cut onions and spicy paprika (and sometimes some butter). It's often served in the beer gardens along with Radi, white radish cut in thin slices and salted, and Münchner Wurstsalat, Munich's famous sausage salad with thinly sliced Knackwurst marinated in vinegar and oil with onions on a bed of lettuce. Popular grilled meals include Steckerlfisch which is usually Mackerel, but may also be a local fish, such as trout or whitefish, speared on a wooden stick, grilled and smoked on charcoal—the typical feature is the crispy skin. Another classic is A hoibs Hendl (half a grilled chicken). A Mass (die Maß) is a litre of beer, a Radler consists of half beer and half lemonade.

Local beers

Munich is famous for its breweries and the Weissbier (or Weizenbier, wheat beer) is a speciality from Bavaria. Helles with its translucent gold colour is the most popular Munich beer today, although it’s not old (only introduced in 1895). Helles and Pils have almost ousted the Munich Dark Beer (Dunkles), which gets its dark colour from burnt malt, the most popular beer in Munich within the 19th century. Starkbier is the strongest Munich beer, containing 6–9 percent alcohol. It is dark amber and has a heavy malty taste. It is available and popular during the Lenten Starkbierzeit (strong beer season), which begins on or before St. Joseph’s Day (19 March). There are around 20 major beer gardens, with four of the most famous and popular being located in the Englischer Garten and the largest one in the Hirschgarten.

Markets

The Viktualienmarkt is Munich's most popular market for fresh food and delicatessen. A very old feature of Munich's Fasching (carnival) is the dance of the Marktfrauen (market women) of the Viktualienmarkt in comical costumes.

The Auer Dult is held three times a year on the square around Mariahilf church and is one of Munich's oldest markets, well known for its hardware, trinkets and antiques.

Three weeks before Christmas the Christkindlmarkt opens at Marienplatz and other squares in the city, selling Christmas goods.

Nightlife

Nightlife in Munich is thriving with over 6,000 licensed establishments in the city, especially in Schwabing, which is still the main quarter for students and artists. Some notable establishments are:

the touristy Hofbräuhaus, one of the oldest breweries in Munich, located in the city centre near Tal
Kultfabrik (formerly known as Kunstpark Ost) and Optimolwerke, former industrial compounds converted to host many different discos and pubs
Munich's gay quarter is located in the borough Isarvorstadt, surrounding the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, and is also known as the Glockenbachviertel
Circus

The Circus Krone is based in Munich, it is one of the largest circus in Europe and one of the few in Western Europe to also occupy a building.

source: Wikipedia

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