exploRE Munich

City tour Wittelsbacherplatz 1, 80333 München, DE

Munich has so much to offer and to share, so it is always worth a visit and a second look. Enjoy this little walk and collect at the same time in a fun way km for our exploRE challenge.

Author: Birgit Eckart

10 Stations

Diana temple in the Munich courtyard (Hofgarten)

Munich, DE

We are here in the Hofgarten, Munich courtyard, which was created in 1560 by Herzog Albrecht von Bayern following the example of other Renaissance gardens in Europe. In 1613 Max I. Herzog von Bayern extended this garden and constructed this Diana temple directly in the middle. The temple itself has 12 corners and 8 rounded arches that connect all paths of the the garden. At the top you can see the famous bronze figure Tellus Bavaria. It's a symbol for the richness of Bavaria. The original statue by Hubert Gerhard is located in the Residenz nearby.

Staatskanzlei (state chancellery)

Franz-Josef-Strauß-Ring 1, 80539 München, DE

We are here at the Bavarian State Chancellery. This institution was founded in 1933 and is the highest state authority in the State of Bavaria with the seat of the Bavarian Minister President which is now Markus Söder since March 16, 2018. In Article 52 of the constitution of the state of Bavaria it is regulated, that a State Chancellery needs to exist to support the Minister President and the State Government in their constitutional duties. Before the building was finalized in 1993, the Bavarian State Chancellery was located for example in the Palais Montgelas next to the Hotel Bayerischer Hof and the Prince Carl Palais nearby which is still used for representative purposes. At this place there was the army museum before and the former minister president Franz Josef Strauß drove mainly the planning of the new construction. You can still see this as the official postal address is Franz-Josef-Strauß-Ring 1. The architects were Diethard J. Siegert and Reto Gansser. From a real estate perspective this project was quite challenging as thanks to the fact that the building was planned so close to the historic site of the Hofgarten a citizen's initiative "Rettet den Hofgarten" "save the Hofgarten" was founded and led to a compromise after the death of the minister president Strauß in 1988 to keep the army museum as central component of the building. Therefore the final concept combined the renovated domed structure of the army museum and the arcades of the Hofgarten with wings out of glass of the new building. Additionally there was some noise because of the creation of the Zirbelstube, a wooden room initiated by the former minister president Max Streibl, as this resulted in quite high costs.

Wittelsbacherbrunnen, fountain of the Wittelsbacher

Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München, DE

The residency of Munich was the seat of the Bavarian dukes, electoral princes and kings from 1508 until 1918. The core structure was the castle "Neuveste" as of 1385 which was converted over the centuries into the residency as you can see it here. There is a lot to explore inside of the residency as for example the famous Schatzkammer (treasury chamber), the Cuvilliés theater named after the famous architect Francois Cuvilliés senior, a little church and about 10 courtyards. We are here in the Brunnenhof, the fountain courtyard and you can see here the Wittelsbacherbrunnen, fountain of the Wittelsbacher. Wittelsbacher are one of the noblest family of Bavaria and you might know one of the most famous members, Elisabeth of Bavaria, called Sisi, who became later the empress of Austria. In the case of this fountain you can see at the top the bronze statue of Otto I., the member of family Wittelsbach, who become the first Bavarian duke. The lying statues symbolize the Bavarian main rivers Donau, Isar, Inn and Lech. The standing statues symbolize the four elements earth, fire, water and air. In between you can see four smaller putto and animals.The courtyard itself was constructed under duke Albrecht V. In the 17th century this courtyard was used thanks to its gables as representative frame for courtly tournaments and was especially for the higher society. Nowadays it is used for concerts and other nice events.

Viscardigasse (shirker's alley)

Theatinerstraße 29, 80333 München, DE

We are now entering the Drückebergergasse (shirker's alley). It was officially named in 1931 Viscardi Gasse after the Italian baroque architect Giovanni Antonio Viscardi. He worked in Munich for example for the extension of Nymphenburg castle, the community hall and the Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Trinity Church). The Drückebergergasse became its new name in 1933 in the National Socialist era. Remember when I told you that the Feldherrnhalle was converted by the National Socialists into a cult site after the failed Hitler putsch? This also meant that people passing by needed to greet the guards in front of the Feldherrnhalle with the Hitler exclamation. Of course, not everyone, especially not the Munich resistance fighters, wanted to do so and used therefore the Drückebergergasse to avoid this. Today the bronze trace of cobblestones still reminds us of this fact.


Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München, DE

We are now standing in front of the Feldherrnhalle, field Marshall's hall. It's famous for its great view from the beginning of the Ludwigsstraße to the Siegestor. The hall was erected between 1841 and 1844 by the famous architect Friedrich von Gärtner in the name of king Ludwig I. By the way, Friedrich von Gärtner was the architect of a lot of great things in Munich as the Ludwigs church, the university with the fountain of the Geschwister Scholl, the Siegestor, etc. Looking at the hall you might think of Italy and that's because it's construction was based on the model of the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence. You also can see two monuments with mighty lions. People say that the lion with the light open mouth is the Prussian lion and the lion with the closed mouth is the Bavarian one, as the people in the north of Germany talk more than the Bavarian ones. Others say, that the lion with the closed mouth facing the church symbolizes being silent in front of the church, while the other lion facing the residence tells the authority his opinion. I leave it up tow you, how you want to read them.
The two statues behind the lions show the field marshalls Graf meaning count Tilly and Fürst meaning prince von Wrede. Ludwig I.'s intention was to honor the Bavarian army. Graf Tilly was a victorious field Marshall in the 30year war and Fürst von Wrede fought against the army of Napoleon. The national socialists converted the hall due to the failed putsch against Hitler as of November, 9, 1923 to a cult site. Today you can join here classic open air concerts in the summertime.
Before we go to the next point I want to draw your attention again to some lions, this time the ones in the Residence street. They stand for the four main virtues of a monarch: prudentia meaning being wise, Justitia meaning being fair, fortitude meaning being strong and temperantia meaning being moderate. Additionally, people say it brings good luck to pet the noses of the lions. Well, it doesn't harm to try it out, right?

Theatinerkirche, Theatine church

Salvatorplatz 2A, 80333 München, DE

The Theatine church is the first baroque church in Munich. It's official name is St. Kajetan. St. Kajetan was an Italian priest born in 1480 near to Vicenza who founded together with the bishop of Theate in 1524 the congregation of the theatines. As the theatines priests were quite present in this church from 1675 to 1801 the Munich people named the church after them, the theatine church. Since 1954 the Dominican order takes care of the church. You can easily spot the church in the city thanks to its ochre color, typically for the baroque style. In 1663 the Italian Agostino Barelli started the construction, but it was finally completed in 1768 in rococo style by Francois Cuvilliés. Remember this name? We had already the Cuvilliés theater in the residency we passed by. And you might also remember the noble family Wittelsbach when we talked about the fountain. Here in the theatine church you can find their princes' crypt, the so-called "Fürstengruft" where famous princes as for example the first king of Bavaria, Maximilian I Joseph (+1825), king Otto of Greece (+1867), prince regent Luitpold (+1912) and the crown prince Rupprecht (+1955) are buried. The other two famous crypts of the Wittelsbach family are located in the dome and in St. Michael.

Bayerische Staatsoper im Nationaltheater (Bavarian state opera in the national t

Max-Joseph-Platz 2, 80539 München, DE

In front of you is now the national theater seat of the Bavarian state opera. We had already baroque buildings on our way, now you can see here a building from the European classicism era that followed the baroque era. Classicism can be recognized by its clear lines and columns. In this case you can see the Corinthian columns. Corinthian columns show a richer decoration of their capitals as Ionic or Doric columns. You can find Corinthian columns for example also at the White House in Washington. It was king Maximilian I. Joseph who asked the architect Karl von Fischer to construct this building in 1810. Before that the first opera of Munich was opened in 1657 at the Salvatorplatz. And do you remember the Cuvilliés theater in the residence? This was the successor starting from 1751. But it only had 560 seats and therefore people asked for a bigger one. So, the new national theater was finally opened in 1818. Unfortunately the building completely burned down after only 5 years and was reconstructed then. It was again destroyed in the Second World War and was again reconstructed with a reopening on November 21 in 1963. Meaning next year we are going to celebrate 60 years after reopening. Two interesting facts: the audience area offers space for 2.100 people and the stage with its 2.500 sqm belongs to the greatest stages in the world. And maybe you heard people saying that fire of 1823 was extinguished with beer. That's not exactly true. But, the building burned down in November meaning it was so cold outside that the water froze in the pipes and therefore the firemen went to the breweries to get the warmer brewing water. And for the reconstruction which resulted in 63 million mark mainly the beer tax so called Bierpfennig was used. Also nowadays the beer tax is still a crucial component for the state budget as it is the fourth important tax of the state of Bavaria.


Platzl 9, 80331 München, DE

Until the 16th century the court of Wittelsbach needed to import their beer, for example in spring from the brewery in Einback about 500 km away from Munich, which resulted in high costs. In 1589 the duke Wilhelm V. found himself in a financial crisis resulting of huge investments in buildings and art his father had done before. Therefore he decided to construct his own beer tavern to save costs in the residency. But he realized that having the monopoly rights in brewing wheat beer would even generate more sustainable income. When Hans Sigmund von Degenberg who had the monopoly before, died in 1602 the duke reacted fast and saved the monopoly rights right away. That meant that the Wittelsbach family held the worldwide monopoly rights to brew wheat bear. Of course he needed for that also beer taverns in Munich and therefore in 1807 the "weißes Hofbräuhaus" was constructed at the same place where the Hofbräuhaus is today. The brewery moved in 1897 to the Innere Wienere Straße where you can see the Hofbräukeller today. The architect Max Littmann constructed in 1897 the new building of the Hofbräuhaus. The style is called neo renaissance. The building was almost destroyed in the Second World War and reconstructed until 1958. It offers space for about 3000 visitors and hosts about 120 groups of regulars (Stammtische). In the 80s especially the young generation had the Hofbräuhaus in mind thanks to the song "Skandal im Sperrbezirk" from the Spider Murphy Gang in the era of Neue Deutsche Welle (German new wave). The main theme of the song was the tighter legislation in regard to restricted areas for prostitution (Sperrbezirk) in 1980. Main character is the fictive prostitute Rosi and it starts with the words: in München stent ein Hofbräuhaus, aber Freudenhäuser müssen aus (there is a Hofbräuhaus in Munich, but brothels needs to disappear).


80331 München, DE

Marienplatz is the center of Munich and the most known place at the same time. In front of us we see the neogothic new town hall. On the right side, in direction of the street called Tal you can see the old town hall.
Additionally, you can find the Mariensäule, a marien column and the Fischbrunnen, the fish fountain, on this rectangle place.
The new town hall is seat of the mayor and the town council and hosts the Glockenspiel. You can listen to its melody twice a day. The architect of the building was Georg von Hauberrisser and the construction took place from 1867 to 1909. The old town hall was constructed from 1470 to 1475 by Jörg von Halsbach called Ganghofer in late gothic style on the same place where the first town hall of 1310 was situated.
The Glockenspiel shows two scenes: the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V. with Renate von Lothringen meaning of Lorraine and the Schäfflertanz, the dance of the coopers. The first scene, the marriage, shows a tournament of knights to the honor of the duke and his wife. The Schäfflertanz goes back to the time when the plague horrified the people in Munich and the coopers cheered up the people by dancing in the streets.
Also the Marian column, the Mariensäule, goes back to this era. The animals at the base of the column show the four plagues: serpent for heresy, the lion for war, the dragon for famine and finally the basilisk for the plague. The column is dedicated to St. Mary who is the "patron saint of Bavaria". Her statue with scepter, crown and the child and a crescent moon at her feet, stands for faith and hope. The column was erected in 1638 by the electoral prince Maximilian in gratitude for Munich surviving the 30years war.
You can also see the fish fountain, the Fischbrunnen. There was already a fountain in 1318, but this fountain was erected 1862 by Konrad Knoll and 1954 reconstructed after the Second World War by Josef Henselmann. With its fish and the three statues of butchers it reminds of the time when Marienplatz was a market place. The butchers in the water refer to the tradition of the "Metzgersprung", meaning that at the end of their professional training the butchers took a bath to be released. The water itself in the fountain comes directly since 1884 from the valley of the river Mangfall where still the drinking water from Munich comes from. Another tradition related to the fountain is to wash the purse in the fountain on Ash Wednesday. People hope that this will support as well the personal as the municipal financial situation.
In general, there are a lot of events on the Marienplatz as for example the Christmas market, the Christkindlmarkt or the party of the town foundation in 1158, which takes place in June.

Zum Franziskaner

Residenzstraße 9, 80333 München, DE

We are now reaching our goal, the restaurant "zum Franziskaner", a perfect place for a Bavarian dinner. This restaurant was founded in 1363. It also has a Zirbelstube. Do you remember when we talked about the Zirbelstube in the state chancellery? So, if you want to get a feeling what a Zirbelstube is, try to get a look into this one. The restaurant is named after the Franciscan monks. Therefore, let's talk briefly about Munich and the monks. The name Munich comes from apud Munichen, meaning at the monks. So, the first settlers were apparently monks and this was reflected in the town seal showing a monk. Is is called Münchner Kindl and we have seen this at the new town hall for example. It shows a monk looking to the right, wearing a monk's habit and red shoes, holding in his left hand a red book and raising his right hand for a vow. The name firstly came up in 1727, but it was in 1920 when it converted from a boy into a girl. The monks were the first beer brewers here in Munich and you might ask where does this come from. First of all the monks have a rule to live from whatever they plant or create within their own monastery. We all know that the church is more related to wine, as Jesus converted water into wine, but the vines need specific climate conditions. It was easier for the monks to cultivate barley in colder regions. Barley malt, hop and water are the only allowed ingredients for beer following the Reinheitsgebot of 1516, the oldest food law in the world. Additionally, the monks used to fast a lot and liquid stuff did not break their fasting. Beer is liquid and at the same time nourishing. In former time it also had less alcohol. And the third fact is a healthy aspect: as brewing beer took a long time for cooking it seemed to be safer in regard to bacteria, etc. The first monks in Munich and still present thanks to their beer were for example the Franciscan monks or the Augustinian monks. And now you know where the name of this restaurant came from. We are now at the end of our tour and I really want to thank you for your attention and wish you a great stay in Munich.
If you have a little bit more time, I would recommend to you to visit also the Olympic Parc in the north of Munich where the XX. Olympic games took place exactly 50 years ago. My granddad, being the head of the tourist office Munich these days contributed to them and he also introduced 60 years ago certified trainings for tour guides. And although I am not an official tour guide I want to dedicate this tour to him and above all I hope that you enjoyed it. Have a wonderful day.