The Munich Frauenkirche, the Nymphenburg Palace, the BMW Headquarters, the New Town Hall, the Munich Hofgarten and the Allianz Arena.
|Admin. region||Upper Bavaria|
|City subdivisions||25 boroughs|
|Area||310.43 km2 (119.86 sq mi)|
|Elevation||519 m (1703 ft)|
|Population||1,520,408 (31 October 2015)|
|- Density||4,898 /km2 (12,685 /sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Munich (German: München) is the third biggest city of Germany (after Berlin and Hamburg), and the capital of Bavaria. It has a population of 1,407,000. The metropolitan area of Munich includes the city itself, and all the suburbs around it, and has about 2.6 million people in it. It is one of the most important centres of economy in Germany. It has an oceanic climate (Cfb in the Koeppen climate classification).
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People of Munich
The official population of Munich city proper at 310.43 km^2 is 1,368,840 inhabitants only with principal residence as of 31.01.2009. Around 176,000 inhabitants with secondary residence also live in administrative city limits but they are not calculated in this official census. According to some estimates that population counts around 200,000 people. Fast growing Munich urban area has 2,667,000 inhabitants (by 2008. estimate). Munich city proper with all suburbs at 12,000 km^2 has 4,700,000 inhabitants and Munich metropolitan region that covers 27,700 km^2 and includes Augsburg, Ingolstadt, Landshut, Rosenheim and Landsberg has around 6,000,000 inhabitants. Munich is the 12th city in EU by population within city limits and the 14th largest urban area in Europe. Its metropolitan area ranks among largest metro areas in Europe. As of December 2008, 47.3% of Munichs residents belong to no religious group, 38.3% are Roman Catholic, 14.0% are Lutheran Protestants and 0.3% are Jewish. There is also a small Old Catholic parish and an Episcopal Church.
Origin as medieval town
The first known settlement in the area was of Benedictine monks on the Salt road. The foundation date is considered the year 1158, the date the city was first mentioned in a document. The document was signed in Augsburg. By then, the Guelph Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, had built a toll bridge over the river Isar next to the monk settlement and on the salt route.
In 1175, Munich received city status and fortification. In 1180, with the trial of Henry the Lion, Otto I Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria, and Munich was handed to the Bishop of Freising. (Wittelsbach's heirs, the Wittelsbach dynasty, ruled Bavaria until 1918.) In 1240, Munich was transferred to Otto II Wittelsbach and in 1255, when the Duchy of Bavaria was split in two, Munich became the ducal residence of Upper Bavaria.
Duke Louis IV, a native of Munich, was elected German king in 1314 and crowned as Holy Roman Emperor in 1328. He strengthened the city's position by granting it the salt monopoly, thus assuring it of additional income. In the late 15th century, Munich underwent a revival of gothic arts: the Old Town Hall was enlarged, and Munich's largest gothic church – the Frauenkirche – now a cathedral, was constructed in only 20 years, starting in 1468.
Capital of reunited Bavaria
When Bavaria was reunited in 1506, Munich became its capital. The arts and politics became increasingly influenced by the court (see Orlando di Lasso and Heinrich Schütz). During the 16th century, Munich was a centre of the German counter reformation, and also of renaissance arts. Duke Wilhelm V commissioned the Jesuit Michaelskirche, which became a centre for the counter-reformation, and also built the Hofbräuhaus for brewing brown beer in 1589.
The Catholic League was founded in Munich in 1609.
In 1623, during the Thirty Years' War, Munich became electoral residence when Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria was invested with the electoral dignity, but in 1632 the city was occupied by Gustav II Adolph of Sweden. When the bubonic plague broke out in 1634 and 1635, about one third of the population died. Under the regency of the Bavarian electors, Munich was an important centre of baroque life, but also had to suffer under Habsburg occupations in 1704 and 1742.
In 1806, the city became the capital of the new Kingdom of Bavaria, with the state's parliament (the Landtag) and the new archdiocese of Munich and Freising being located in the city. Twenty years later, Landshut University was moved to Munich.
Many of the city's finest buildings belong to this period and were built under the first three Bavarian kings.
World War I to World War II
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, life in Munich became very difficult, as the Allied blockade of Germany led to food and fuel shortages. During French air raids in 1916, three bombs fell on Munich.
After World War I, the city was at the centre of substantial political unrest. In November 1918 on the eve of German revolution, Ludwig III and his family fled the city. After the murder of the first republican premier of Bavaria Kurt Eisner in February 1919 by Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley, the Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed. When Communists took power, Lenin, who had lived in Munich some years before, sent a congratulatory telegram, but the Soviet Republic was ended on 3 May 1919 by the Freikorps. While the republican government had been restored, Munich became a hotbed of extremist politics, among which Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists soon rose to prominence.
In 1923, Adolf Hitler and his supporters, who were concentrated in Munich, staged the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic and seize power. The revolt failed, resulting in Hitler's arrest and the temporary crippling of the Nazi Party (NSDAP).
The city again became important to the Nazis when they took power in Germany in 1933. The party created its first concentration camp at Dachau, 16 kilometres (9.9 miles) north-west of the city.
The city is known as the site of the culmination of the policy of appeasement by Britain and France leading up to World War II. It was in Munich that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain assented to the annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland region into Greater Germany in the hopes of sating the desires of Hitler's Third Reich.
Munich was the base of the White Rose, a student resistance movement from June 1942 to February 1943. The core members were arrested and executed following a distribution of leaflets in Munich University by Hans and Sophie Scholl.
The city was heavily damaged by allied bombing during World War II by 71 air raids over five years.
After US occupation in 1945, Munich was completely rebuilt following a meticulous plan, which preserved its pre-war street grid. In 1957, Munich's population surpassed 1 million. The city continued to play a highly significant role in the German economy, politics and culture, giving rise to its nickname Heimliche Hauptstadt ("secret capital") in the decades after World War II.
Most Munich residents enjoy a high quality of life.
The local rivers are the Isar and the Würm.
Munich is situated in the Northern Alpine Foreland.
The northern part of this sandy plateau includes a highly fertile flint area which is no longer affected by the folding processes found in the Alps, while the southern part is covered with morainic hills. Between these are fields of fluvio-glacial out-wash, such as around Munich. Wherever these deposits get thinner, the ground water can permeate the gravel surface and flood the area, leading to marshes as in the north of Munich.
Munich's city climate lies between the humid continental climate.
Showers and thunderstorms bring the highest average monthly precipitation in late spring and throughout the summer. The most precipitation occurs in June, on average. Winter tends to have less precipitation, the least in February.
The higher elevation and proximity to the Alps cause the city to have more rain and snow than many other parts of Germany. The Alps affect the city's climate in other ways too; for example, the warm downhill wind from the Alps (föhn wind), which can raise temperatures sharply within a few hours even in the winter.
Being at the centre of Europe, Munich is subject to many climatic influences, so that weather conditions there are more variable than in other European cities, especially those further west and south of the Alps.
Munich has the strongest economy of any German city. They have the lowest unemployment rate (5.6%) of any German city with more than a million people.
Munich is a financial centre and a global city and holds the headquarters of many companies including more listed by the DAX than any other German city, as well as the German or European headquarters of many foreign companies such as McDonald's and Microsoft.
Munich holds the headquarters of Siemens AG (electronics), BMW (car), MAN AG (truck manufacturer, engineering), Linde (gases) and Rohde & Schwarz (electronics). Among German cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants, purchasing power is highest in Munich (€26,648 per inhabitant).
Munich has significance as a financial centre (second only to Frankfurt), being home of HypoVereinsbank and the Bayerische Landesbank. It outranks Frankfurt though as home of insurance companies such as Allianz (insurance) and Munich Re (re-insurance).
Munich is the largest publishing city in Europe and home to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany's largest daily newspapers.
The Bavaria Film Studios are located in the suburb of Grünwald. They are one of Europe's biggest and most famous film production studios.
The Bavarian dialects are spoken in and around Munich, with its variety West Middle Bavarian or Old Bavarian (Westmittelbairisch / Altbairisch). 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.
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 that 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. The Alte Pinakothek 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 floors. Major displays include Albrecht Dürer's Christ-like Self-Portrait (1500), his Four Apostles, Raphael's paintings The Canigiani Holy Family and Madonna Tempi as well as Peter Paul Rubens large Judgment Day. The gallery houses one of the world's most comprehensive Rubens collections. The Lenbachhaus houses works by the group of Munich-based modernist artists known as Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider).
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. Another important museum in the Kunstareal is the Egyptian Museum.
The 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 Museum Five Continents in Maximilianstraße is the second largest collection in Germany of artefacts 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 16 km (10 mi) 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. Some of classical music's best-known pieces have been created in and around Munich by composers born in the area, for example Richard Strauss's tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra or Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.
Music is so important in the Bavarian capital that the city hall gives permissions every day to 10 musicians for performing in the streets around Marienplatz. This is how performers such as Olga Kholodnaya and Alex Jacobowitz are entertaining the locals and the tourists every day.
The city is known as the second largest publishing centre 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.
At the turn of the 20th century, Munich, and especially its suburb of Schwabing, was the preeminent cultural metropolis of Germany. Its importance as a centre for both literature and the fine arts was second to none in Europe, with numerous German and non-German artists moving there. For example, Wassily Kandinsky chose Munich over Paris to study at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste München, and, along with many other painters and writers living in Schwabing at that time, had a profound influence on modern art.
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.
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, Day of German Unity" is on a Monday or Tuesday – then the Oktoberfest remains open for these days.
The Munich cuisine contributes to the Bavarian cuisine. Münchner Weißwurst ('white sausage') was invented here in 1857. It is a Munich speciality. Traditionally eaten only before noon – a tradition dating to a time before refrigerators – these morsels are often served with sweet mustard and freshly baked pretzels.
Beers and breweries
Munich is known for its breweries and the Weissbier (or Weißbier / Weizenbier, wheat beer) is a speciality from Bavaria. Helles, a pale lager with a translucent gold colour is the most popular Munich beer today, although it's not old (only introduced in 1895) and is the result of a change in beer tastes. Helles has largely replaced Munich's dark beer, Dunkles, which gets its colour from roasted malt.
There are countless Wirtshäuser (traditional Bavarian ale houses/restaurants) all over the city area, many of which also have small outside areas. Biergärten (beer gardens) are the most famous and popular fixtures of Munich's gastronomic landscape. They are central to the city's culture and serve as a kind of melting pot for members of all walks of life, for locals, expatriates and tourists alike. It is allowed to bring one's own food to a beer garden, however, it is forbidden to bring one's own drinks.
The Circus Krone based in Munich is one of the largest circuses in Europe. It was the first and still is one of only a few in Western Europe to also occupy a building of its own.
The Munich agglomeration sprawls across the plain of the Alpine foothills comprising about 2.6 million inhabitants. Several smaller traditional Bavarian towns and cities like Dachau, Freising, Erding, Starnberg, Landshut and Moosburg are today part of the Greater Munich Region, formed by Munich and the surrounding districts, making up the Munich Metropolitan Region, which has a population of about 6 million people.
South of Munich, there are numerous nearby freshwater lakes such as Lake Starnberg, Ammersee, Chiemsee, Walchensee, Kochelsee, Tegernsee, Schliersee, Simssee, Staffelsee, Wörthsee, Kirchsee and the Osterseen (Easter Lakes), which are popular among the people of Munich for recreation, swimming and watersports and can be quickly reached by car and a few also by Munich's S-Bahn.
Munich is the most successful city in Bundesliga history. FC Bayern Munich have won 20 national championship along with 13 DFB Cups, 5 UEFA Champions League/European Championship, 1 UEFA Cup and 1 UEFA Cup Winners Cup for 39 trophies.
Munich hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics. They were one of the host cities for the 2006 Football World Cup. Munich bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games but lost to Pyeongchang. In September 2011 the DOSB President Thomas Bach said that Munich would bid again for the Winter Olympics in the future.
- France Bordeaux (France), since 1964
- United States Cincinnati (Ohio), since 1989
- Scotland Edinburgh (Scotland), since 1954
- Harare (Zimbabwe), since 1996
- Ukraine Kiev (Ukraine), since 1989
- Japan Sapporo (Japan), since 1972
- Italy Verona (Italy), since 1960
Images for kids
Munich Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.