Hotline: 0174 / 1927106
Monopteros Denkmal im Englischen Garten

From hamlet to Royal Seat

City Tours

estimated reading time: 25 Minutes

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Beauty is always in the eye or brain of the beholder. The perception of beauty is a very complex subject, which depends on many factors:

Accessibility brief info – and: Let’s get started … 😊 

Starting point:Your hotel – Munich based 
Endpoint:Your hotel – Munich based 
Route length:10 km
Ground: mostly tarred road 
Total Duration:4 hours
Contact:Jörg Hildebrandt | +49 173 / 3722480 |
Languages:Englisch and German
Catering possibilitySnacks to go
Accessible Toilet:please have “Euroschlüssel” available

Sendlinger Tor

Today, when you drive or walk into a city, you can tell by the city sign that you have crossed the city limits. In the Middle Ages, however, you had to pass through the city gate. This is where access was controlled. The poor, beggars, the sick, the unfree and old people who did not belong to the town’s jurisdiction could be turned away. The city fortifications, which consisted of not one but several walls, ditches, bastions and ramparts, separated the city from the countryside, allowed the collection of customs duties, served as protection to ensure the safety of the city and to impressively represent the rule of the respective duke or king.

The bricks used were built as a double brick wall. This means that two walls were built at a small distance from each other. The resulting space between them was filled with a mixture of gravel and mortar. In total, the wall now had a thickness of about 1.70 to 2 meters and was 5 to 6 meters high. In the Middle Ages, a city without a city wall remained a village – however, Henry the Lion’s plans required Munich to be recognized as a city.

As part of the great expansion of the city by Ludwig the Bavarian, a second city fortification was built between 1285 and 1337, as part of which the Sendlinger Tor was erected. The Sendlinger Tor is one of three surviving gates in Munich’s old town and was part of the second city expansion of the early 14th century. It was possible to enter the city through five gates. The Sendlinger Tor in Munich is the southern city gate of the historic old town. A highlight is the fountain at Sendlinger-Tor-Platz. The fountain and its basin have a diameter of over 18 meters and cover an area of 320 square meters. Five fountains, which reach a height of about 3.50 meters, are grouped around a sixth in the center.

Karlsplatz – Stachus

Stachus with Palace of Justice

Karlsplatz – affectionately known as “Stachus”. One of the most important squares in Munich is officially called Karlsplatz. Locals affectionately call this square “Stachus”. It is probably unique in the world that a certain place is only registered in the city map with its nickname. Karlsplatz is located on a spot that was crossed by the Salt Road in the Middle Ages, which Duke Henry the Lion had moved from Föhring to Munich. The people of Munich owe their existence and prosperity to this decision.

Beneath the surface of the Stachus, in addition to the S-Bahn and U-Bahn, is the largest underground structure in Europe – a shopping center. Thus, beneath the surface are catacombs of enormous dimensions. 350 meters long, 150 meters wide. Four full floors, the fifth a partial floor, the sixth a smaller area for the ground and sewage systems.

The loading yard on the second basement level is 3.4 meters high, which means that 16-ton trucks can also enter it for deliveries to the stores. The third and fourth basement levels house workshops and the Stachus parking garage with 700 parking spaces.

Just under 100,000 square meters of surface area, pipes and corridors. That’s 13 soccer fields… 500,000 cubic meters of enclosed space correspond to 800 single-family homes. The escape routes alone measure 7.5 km. The most important shopping street in Munich is without a doubt the pedestrian zone between Karlsplatz (usually called Stachus) and Marienplatz.


Palace of Justice with Neptune Fountain

Built in the neo-baroque style, the Palace of Justice with its 67-meter-high glass dome is one of Germany’s most beautiful judicial buildings. It was built between 1890 and 1897 according to plans by Munich architect Friedrich von Thiersch in the neo-baroque style. With its majestic glass dome, the Palace of Justice dominates the cityscape on Karlsplatz.

Between impressive staircases and three large round-arched windows, exhibitions with a connection to justice are occasionally held. The Palace of Justice itself gained sad notoriety in 1943 for the trials of the White Rose. The Nazi resistance group led by Hans and Sophie Scholl met its end here with several death sentences. Today, a permanent exhibition in the hall of the first trial at that time commemorates the trials.

Old Botanical Garden

Old Botanical Garden with Neptune Fountain

The Old Botanical Garden was designed by landscape architect Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell, and the grounds were completed in 1812. On the occasion of the First General German Industrial Exhibition in 1854, Maximilian II had an exhibition building erected on the site of the Old Botanical Garden by the architect August von Voit. Since the building consisted only of glass and steel girders (with a total weight of over 1700 tons), it was called the Glass Palace.

Within only 6 months, the palace was constructed from standardized parts. Built on a symmetrical ground plan, the building had one to two floors, was 237 meters long, up to 25 meters high and up to 67 meters wide. In 1931 the building burned out, the causes are in the dark. Over 3000 paintings were destroyed. The Neptune Fountain, located at the level of the Palace of Justice, is the centerpiece of the Old Botanical Garden. In the axis of the Palace of Justice the architect Oswald Bieber placed the basin. In its center, Josef Wackerle created a sculpture fountain in the course of the park’s redesign in 1937. In the style of Michelangelo’s David, Neptune shoulders his trident.

Wittelsbach fountain

One of the most beautiful fountains in Munich, an urbanistically and sculpturally successful work of classicism with antique elements by Adolf von Hildebrand, is the Wittelsbach Fountain on today’s Lenbachplatz. The two main groups, on the left the stone-throwing man sitting on his water horse, represents the destructive power of water, and on the right the water bull rider, the gentle one, with her large bowl, conveys the constructive power of water.

On the occasion of the construction and completion of the new Munich water supply system, the decision was made to place a fountain on what was then part of Maximiliansplatz, today Lenbachplatz. The fountain monument was ceremoniously inaugurated on June 15, 1895.

Background: In the 19th century, Munich resembled a public latrine. Slurry is stored or disposed of everywhere, and people suffer from typhus and cholera. Max von Pettenkofer decides to change things. He turns hygiene into a science. Munich’s problem at the time was its lack of history. While German cities with a strong Roman influence can at least show rudiments of latrines and water supply concepts, the Bavarian royal residence is simply too young.

In Munich, there is no running drinking water, waste and sewage are poured onto the streets, feces are collected in large squares and transported by the surrounding farmers to their fields. Pettenkofer realized that the city had to become cleaner. He turned hygiene into a science, researched the living conditions of the people and came to the conclusion that improving these conditions was the task of the city. For Munich, he created the first sewage system and a central drinking water supply.

Obelisk at the Karolinenplatz

The artistic design of the obelisk, like that of many Munich buildings, was done by Leo von Klenze. The inscriptions attached to the 29 meter high structure reflect the close and also changeful relations between Bavaria and France in the early 19th century. As a member of the Rhine Confederation, Bavaria was obliged to provide 30,000 soldiers for Napoleon’s Russian campaign in 1812. Of these, only 2000 returned. Many of the dead were not killed in battle, but died from the miserable conditions of warfare. 100,000 soldiers of Napoleon’s army were taken prisoner, many of them died of their wounds, diseases or froze to death on the march to captivity. The surviving prisoners were released by Russia by 1814. When Maximilian I Joseph entered into the alliance with Napoleon in 1806, he wanted to finally enlarge the city, which had become too small for the 40,000 residents of Munich. He named the newly founded district after himself and made Karolinenplatz, to which he gave the name of his wife, the hub of the new quarter.

Karoline, Queen of the newly proclaimed Kingdom of Bavaria, was the first Protestant queen on the throne of Bavaria.

King Ludwig I of Bavaria was a passionate art collector. By the early 19th century, the Wittelsbach collections from Mannheim, Düsseldorf and Zweibrücken had come to Munich through succession. Secularization brought an increase in religious art from Bavarian monasteries. King Ludwig I brought major works of Italian painting to Munich.

Old Pinacoteca

Old Pinacoteca

Around 1820, he decided to open his treasures to the public and commissioned his court architect Leo von Klenze to design a worthy art gallery.

Leo Klenze designed his masterpiece to be both magnificent and functional: large halls lit by skylights are perfectly complemented by cabinet rooms on the north side.

Over 700 paintings are on permanent display in the Alte Pinakothek. The names of the painters on display should be familiar to all art lovers: Cranach, Altdorfer, Dürer, Botticelli, da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens. A highlight is the Rubenssaal with its paintings over six meters high. In the Alte Pinakothek, the development of art from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and Baroque to the late Rococo can be admired. Works by Italian, French and Spanish painters of the 17th and 18th centuries complete the chronological framework.

New Pinacoteca

Skylights Neue Pinacoteca

The founder was King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who had the museum, which opened in 1853, built for his collection of works by contemporary artists, which he had acquired from private funds. The plans for the building came from Friedrich von Gärtner and August von Voith.  Interestingly, Ludwig I was no longer king at this time; he had abdicated in 1848.

When it opened, the Neue Pinakothek was the first collection of “modern” art in the world. It shows about 400 paintings and sculptures of the 19th century from classicism to art nouveau. Among the special highlights are the paintings of German Romanticism and French Impressionism, including works by Caspar David Friedrich and Edouard Manet. They formed the antithesis to the Old Masters, which had been exhibited in the Alte Pinakothek since 1836.

German Impressionists such as Liebermann and Corinth had their place, as did the French Impressionists around Degas, Monet, Manet and Renoir. The latter arrived at the Neue Pinakothek through a generous private donation. Works by Gauguin, van Gogh and Cézanne, for example, represented the forerunners of modernism. Thanks to a steady increase in its holdings through donations and acquisitions, the Neue Pinakothek is today one of the most important museums of 19th century art in the world.

Königsplatz (“Isar – Athens”)

Glyptothek in Munich

No one turned Munich upside down as thoroughly as Ludwig I. Bavaria had been a kingdom by Napoleon’s grace since 1806. Ludwig I envisioned a prestigious residential city of European standing for his seat of power: “I want to make Munich a city that will be such a credit to Germany that no one will know Germany unless they have seen Munich.” The royal building of the Residenz was based on the Palazzo Pitti of Renaissance Florence, the Königsplatz ensemble on ancient Greece. Ludwig I creates an “Isar Athens” for himself – put together more according to his personal taste than in a historically compelling context.

Among the people of Munich, enthusiasm for Ludwig’s building frenzy was limited. The housing shortage rampant at the time cried out for other plans. Some of his projects were also controversial from the point of view of urban planning. For example, although the neoclassical Ludwigstrasse evoked Florence and Rome, it initially remained a facade that took precedence over function. The effect on the viewer is important to the regent; for many a building, the purpose must only be found in retrospect.

In Maxvorstadt, the Siegestor, Königsplatz, Pinakotheken and the university shake hands. Art, culture and education – what characterized the quarter at its inception still applies today.



In Munich, three professors at the Academy of Fine Arts who were considered to be very important in the field of painting are referred to as the Princes of Painting (also known as the Munich Princes of Painting): Franz von Lenbach, Franz von Stuck, Friedrich August von Kaulbach.

Lenbach soon devoted himself only to portrait painting and the most important personalities of the time sat for him: emperors, kings, a pope and the most important representatives of politics and business. Lenbach played a decisive role in shaping the myth of Munich as a city of art in the late 19th century. Franz von Lenbach had a palace in mind when he decided to build a villa near the magnificent Königsplatz. Between 1887 and 1891, the L-shaped property was built, consisting of a studio wing and a residential wing. The historic garden in front of the building is inspired by the Italian Renaissance.

In this magnificent building was realized what in Lenbach’s time was understood by the residence of a “painter prince”. With it, he was able to do justice to even the highest guests: Prince Bismarck, for example, whose public image Lenbach had shaped through his numerous portraits, received ovations from the people of Munich on the balcony of the villa on the occasion of his visit in 1892.

Thanks to an extensive donation by Gabriele Münter in 1957, visitors to the gallery can marvel at the world’s largest collection of artworks by the “Blaue Reiter”. All the well-known artists of the “Blaue Reiter” circle of artists are represented here: Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Münter, Alexej Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, Franz Marc, Paul Klee, August Macke and many others.

Victory Gate

Siegestor mit Quadriga auf dem Tor in der Abendsonne
Victory Gate with Quadriga

When construction work began on the new boulevard named after its builder King Ludwig I in the mid-19th century, Schwabing was still a village. Beyond the Siegestor lay fields and meadows. The triumphal arch is the counterpart to the Feldherrnhalle on Odeonsplatz; both were commissioned by the king from his court architect Friedrich von Gärtner. The model for the gate was the Arch of Constantine in Rome. Like the Feldherrnhalle, Ludwig I also had the Siegestor built in honor of the Bavarian army. The inscription on the Schwabing side of the gate still tells of this dedication, as do the pictorial motifs of the reliefs with their battle scenes.

The building of yellowish white limestone – the base and substructure is made of bricks – rises between the avenue of poplars, similar to the triumphal arch of Constantinus in Rome and closes here the perspective of the magnificent Ludwigstraße and forms the transition into Schwabing. The width of the structure is 24 meters, the height to the platform is 20.70 meters, the weight of the quadriga is 22 tons. High up on the gate you can see a large, well-known sculpture: the Quadriga – a quadruped consisting of lions. Usually, of course, quadrigas are horse-drawn carriages, but the four lions on the Siegestor are probably quite unique. Other well-known quadrigas on gates can be found, for example, on the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in Paris, on the Wellington Arch in Hyde Park in London, or on the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele I in Rome.


Theatiner church with tambour dome

The Theatinerkirche owes its creation to the fulfillment of a vow. Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, wife of the Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria, wanted to build the most beautiful and valuable church in honor of her patron saint St. Kajetan, if she gave birth to a son. This was to become the court church and collegiate church for the Theatines. In 1662 Hereditary Prince Max Emanuel was born, and one year later the foundation stone of the church was laid.

The northeast corner of the Kreuzviertel, directly adjacent to the city wall and Schwabing Gate, which is opposite the Residenz, was chosen as the building site for the church and monastery. Architect Agostino Barelli took the mother church of the Theatine Order Sant’ Andrea della Valle in Rome as his model, but after heated disputes he was replaced by Enrico Zuccalli after completion of the shell and left Munich.

In the interior of the Theatinerkirche, the Italian architectural style is reflected in the form of the High Baroque. The room is decorated with white stucco, which Lorenzo Petri and Giovanni Viscardi worked on from 1674. On the high altar you can see a work by the Rubens pupil Casper de Caryer, which depicts the enthroned Mary in the circle of saints.

Zuccali determined the shape of the 71-meter-high tambour dome with a diameter of almost 18 meters and later also the idiosyncratic 65-meter-high towers. The seating capacity of the church is 400. The church was completed only after 105 years of construction. Due to its function as a court church, the church has a princely crypt and is one of the most important burial places of the Wittelsbach dynasty, along with the Church of St. Michael and the Cathedral of Our Lady.

Angel of Peace

Angel of peace illuminated at night

The Angel of Peace commemorates the conclusion of peace after the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. 25 years after the end of the war, the foundation stone for the monument was laid in 1896. The four-meter tall statue of the Angel of Peace stands on a 38-meter high column. The column is enthroned on a temple decorated with four mosaics and by stone figures.

Prinzregentenstrasse, with its magnificent buildings such as the Bavarian National Museum and the Haus der Kunst, forms a visual axis all the way to the Prinz-Carl-Palais.

The six-meter-high golden angel holds an olive branch in his right hand as a symbol of peace. In his left hand he carries an image of the goddess Athena, who stands for struggle and wisdom. The angel of peace, who in the true sense is not an angel but a genius of peace, is depicted as Nike, the goddess of victory, based on Panaios.

In her right hand she holds the olive branch as a symbol of peace, in her left hand the “Palladion” (a statue of Pallas Athena as the protector of cities), the goddess of wisdom and battle, so also of war tactics and strategy. In keeping with the spirit of the times, war and victory were seen as prerequisites for peace and prosperity.

The eight by eight meter temple below shows four gold mosaics depicting war, victory, peace and cultural blessings.

Maximilaneum, national building of the monarch

Maximilianeum with statue

The Maximilianeum in Munich’s Haidhausen district has been the seat of the Bavarian Parliament since 1949, the home of highly gifted students and also a beautiful vantage point over the city. Built from 1857 to 1874 by order of King Maximilian II and named after him, the Maximilianeum is considered the monarch’s “national building.” Even as Crown Prince, Maximillian II dreamed of a monumental national building in connection with the expansion of the capital and residence city of Munich to the east. In 1857, he then laid the foundation stone for the Maximilianeum, initially called the “Athenaeum”.

From the very beginning, the building at the end of Maximilianstrasse was met with incomprehension and derision from the citizens. In 1864, seven years after the start of construction, King Maximilian II ordered a change in the plans. Instead of the planned pointed arches, he ordered neo-Renaissance arches. Hosentürl-Gothic” or one also spoke of the “Schamtuch” for Haidhausen.

Since 1876, the Maximilianeum has housed the foundation of the same name for particularly gifted Bavarian students. The aim of the foundation is to support talented young men – and since 1980 also women – regardless of their class and financial origins. Currently, 40 foundation participants live with free board and lodging in the Maximilianeum (six to eight places are allocated each year). Admission is given to “A” students.

The long construction period was due to the difficulties caused by the sloping nature of the building site; the foundations sank several times, necessitating complicated fortification work. A traffic rarity still testifies to the precarious safety situation of the Maximilianeum: in order not to shake its foundations unnecessarily, a streetcar train is only allowed to descend if no other train is going up at the same time.

Since 1949, the Bavarian Parliament has been a guest in the Maximilianeum Foundation House. The Bavarian Parliament is one of the highest state organs and has been the sole representative of the Bavarian people since the Senate was abolished in 1999.

Müller’s public bath 

Turm Müllersches Volksbad mit Turmuhr
Müller’sches Volksbad

When it was completed in 1901, the neo-Baroque Art Nouveau building was the largest and most expensive swimming pool in the world and the city’s first public indoor pool. Its construction was the result of a donation to the city of Munich by the Munich engineer Karl Müller, combined with the requirement to build a bath for the “impecunious people”. With its architecture and interior design, the bath is one of the most beautiful bathhouses in Europe.

Architect Carl Hocheder drew inspiration for the design from a wide variety of models: Roman thermal baths as well as Baroque sacred buildings, hammams and mosques, all held together by contemporary Art Nouveau elements.

The rich Baroqueizing ornamental elements inside include wide staircases leading down into the pools, murals with marine motifs, stucco, a bronze statue in the main pool, ornate iron grilles and wooden balustrades as well as elaborately designed clocks.

Until 1978, the basement contained a dog bath, just as there were initially 86 tub baths and 22 shower baths. After bathtubs and showers became almost ubiquitous in private homes in the 20th century, the baths eventually decommissioned these facilities, retained an original tub bath for demonstration purposes, and installed a new tub and shower bath on a much more modest scale in the basement.

German Museum

Today’s “Museum Island” in Munich was known as “Coal Island” until about 1900 because wood and charcoal had been stored on it since the Middle Ages. 

German Museum with tower at sundown
German Museum

The Deutsches Museum is one of the most important natural science and technology museums in the world. The thematic range is huge: from astronomy to marine research, from nanotechnology to mining, from clocks and musical instruments to pharmaceuticals. The Deutsches Museum sees itself as a place of active learning where adults can also satisfy their curiosity: hear and see, touch, try out and experience!

The “German Museum of Masterpieces of Science and Technology” was founded in 1903. The initiator was Oskar von Miller. The museum documents the historical development of natural sciences and technology by means of around 10,000 objects.  

The Deutsches Museum was a model for the establishment of technical museums worldwide.
As the world’s largest natural science and technology museum, the Deutsches Museum attracts around 1.5 million visitors a year.

Munich Residence

Residenz mit Wittelsbacher Brunnen
Residence with Wittelsbach fountain

The Residenz was a political and cultural center of the country for centuries (1508 – 1918) and has been open to the public since 1920. With about 130 show and collection rooms around ten courtyards, it is today one of the most important spatial art museums in Europe. The room ensembles from the Renaissance, early Baroque, Rococo and Classicist eras impressively convey the artistic sense of the House of Wittelsbach.

Antiquarium (limited accessibility – with an escort only!)

The state rooms convey an impressive impression of the living culture and princely representation of past times. The Antiquarium is particularly noteworthy.  The secular hall is 70 meters long and freestanding, which has the advantage that the barrel vault inside is illuminated from two sides. 

The new building was originally intendend to house Duke Albrecht V’s collection of antiques and the library on the second floor. The mighty barrel vault of the hall was decorated with 102 views of towns, castles and palaces of the then Duchy of Bavaria. On the first floor, 300 busts from fthe collection of Albrecht V can still be seen today.

It is thus considered the largest and most magnificent Renaissance hall north of the Alps. 

Treasury (limited accessibility – with an escort only!)

In the ten exhibition rooms of the treasury in the royal building of the Munich Residence, visitors can discover almost two millenia of art and cultural history on the basis of more than 1200 objects. In 1565, Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria wisely decreed that the family treasure was not to be sold under any circumstances. Elector Karl Theodor enlarged this collection in the late 18th century by tranferring the “Palatine treasure” to Munich.

In the early 19th century, when the crown insignia of the newly created kingdom and a number of outstanding medieval works of art from secularized cathedral and monastery possessions were added, the historical growth of this collection reached its provisional conclusion.

Court Garden

The Hofgarten has existes in its present size since ethe early 17th century: Elector Maximilian I had it laid out from 1613 to 1617 on the model of Italien Renaissance gardens. At that time, however, only dukes and electors were allowed to stroll here. It was not until around 1870 that Elector Karl Theodor opened the park to the public. 

In 1615, Heinrich Schön built the pavilion, whose eight entrance arches determine the division of the garden area by cross and diagonal paths. The pavilion is crowned by a copy of the “Tellus Bavarica”, a monumental bronze figure representing the riches of Bavaria (grain, game, water, salt).

Arcades Court Garden

The Bavarian monarchs of the 19th century had to find new ways to justify their claim to power and the bond between princes and subjects. The reference to the services that the dynasty had rendered to the nation over the centuries cemented their current claim to the leading role in the state.

Ludwig saw monumental mural painting as an important means of getting this central message “among the people”: he heoped that historical images, cleverly combined with religious and legendary material, places in public spaces and visible from afar, executed as large as possible and with colors that were was weather-resistant as possible, would also have a great and lasting educational effect on the viewer.

Under the direction of the academy director and leading Narazene painter Peter von Cornelius, his students set about painting the arcades adjoining the northern end of the Residenz complex from 1826, i.e. immediately after Ludwig’s accession to power.


At the time, Elector Max Joseph II ordered the construction of the Residenztheater. Starting in 1751, a theater hall in the rococo style was built under the direction of Francios Cuvilliés on the eastern edge of the Residenz. The theater is the setting for many baroque operas, including the premiere of Mozart’s “Idomeneo”.  

Winter Garden of King Ludwig II. (was dismantled after the death of King Ludwig II) 

One of Ludwig II’s most sensational buildings was the monumental Winter Garden on the roof of the Munich Residenz. The oriental jungle paradise with exotic flora and faune was considered a marvel of engineering and horticultural art at the time. Ludwig used the “Himalayan landsape” as a retreat and as a backdrop for artist’s lectures. 

From the middle of the 19th century, many princely courts in Europe used a new type of iron and glass construction to build palm houses and tropical paradise gardens. The models were the gigantic glass palaces of the World’s Fairs in London in 1851 (“Crystal Palace”) and Paris in 1867. Ludwig II had himself admired the glass hall of architect Gustave Eiffel, later creator of the Eiffel Tower, when he visited the Paris World’s Fair. 

A lot of joy, have fun

After this day you will feel like you are skipping school.
Absolutely great.


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