Munich, Love Of My Heart

Thursday, November 9, 2023

"I liebe München" picture from Google search


Munich has a very special place in my heart. I first landed there at age 12. I didn't speak a word of German yet. I was going to live in its suburbs and go to school in this beautiful city for the next 5 years. It quickly grew on me, and until now, whenever I am there, I feel at home. I will expose a brief about a rich culture and past, before posting a few pictures that I was able to reclaim after my phone theft.

Capital of the Free State of Bavaria, Munich is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg. Nestled by the banks of the Isar River and the Alps, the city owes its name to a settlement of friars in the 8th century. Zu den Munichen -to the monks- in the old High German dialect later led to the modern name of München. The Isar had been a trade route since the Bronze Age and Munich was one the the raft ports in use back then. It wasn't until medieval times that Munich, with its city gates and marketplace, received the status of a city and was fortified. Nowadays, Munich, where the seat of the Bavarian State Parliament, the State chancelleries, and all state departments, as well as the German Patent Office, are found, is currently organized in 25 boroughs.

Transportation to and from the city is easy. Munich's Franz Josef Strauss International Airport is the second-largest airport in the country and replaced the older smaller airport in 1992. The Central Rail Station -Hauptbahnhof- encompasses 32 platforms. Take your pick between riding a regular train, an Inter City Express train, a U-Bahn -underground or subway, an S-Bahn -Stadtbahn- to key spots inside and around the city, a bus, a tram, or just cycling around. I don't recommend driving inside Munich as you will probably get stuck in traffic. Most residents of Munich enjoy a higher quality of life. The economy relies on information technology, biotechnology, and publishing/media.

Munich is the home of manufacturers such as BMW, Siemens AG, MAN AG, MTU Aero Engines, Linde, Rohde und Schwarz, Krauss-Maffei, Arri, Infineon Technologies, and Osram, just to name a few. It is also an important finance center, only second to Frankfurt, with the headquarters of large banks and insurance companies located there. Let's not forget beer brewing, and Bavaria is indeed a leader in this field, with Schneider Brauhaus -one of the oldest breweries in town, Löwenbräu, Spaten, Franziskaner, Hofbräuhaus, Paulaner, Augustiner, Richelbraü, and Haderner just to name a few located in Munich.

Munich is also a significant sports and educational hub and hosts multiple cultural events. Its architecture showcases the rich historic background with the old part of the town displaying Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance buildings. Marvel at mansions in different opulent styles in the whereabouts of the Munich Residenz, which was the former royal palace of the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavaria. The Residenz is a gem when it comes to interior decoration and it is open to visitors for its royal collections as well. In its northern part, Munich has witnessed the clustering of various high-rise buildings and towers. Hometown to several professional football teams, Munich also organizes road running events, such as the Munich Marathon, and provides many indoor and outdoor swimming pools. River surfing is a popular recreational activity and the Munich Surf Open usually takes place by the end of July.

Munich is an outstanding location for science and research. The Ludwig Maximilian University and the Technische Universität München are elite institutions and a number of local and international universities, colleges, and schools can be found in the city as well. The Max Planck Society and the Fraunhofer Society are research organizations headquartered in Munich, among many other institutes in the fields of aerospace, botanics, and economics. Munich was also where several Nobel Prize laureates were born and the home of notable painters, musicians, athletes, journalists, and writers. Famed residents include Albert Einstein, Wassily Kandinsky, Thomas Mann, Freddy Mercury, Georg Ohm, Wilhelm Röntgen, Richard Wagner, just to name a few. 

When it comes to culture, the city has a lot of important art galleries and museums, a lot of which can be found in the Kunstareal neighborhood. Make sure to visit the Deutsches Museum, the Glyptothek, the old and new Pinakothek, the Bavarian National Museum, the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Five Continents Museum, the Paleontological Museum, and the Bavarian State collection of zoology. Munich is also an international music center and many world-renowned compositions were created and/or recorded there. The National Theater Munich hosts the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Orchestra. Munich has 4 major orchestras and the Philarmonic orchestra is accommodated in the Gasteig Cultural Center, along with the Richard Strauss Conservatory and the municipal library among others. The Deutsches Theater, Germany's largest theater, stages shows, large events, and musicals. The Munich Kammerspiele is an equally important German-language theater for plays. If you want to experience the local bohemian scene, the Schwabing area is the epicenter for literature and fine arts. Read about Café Stéphanie, operational in the early decades of the 20th century, or stop at Kabarett Alter Simpl which remains operational to date. The Bavaria film studios, founded in 1919, produced several internationally acclaimed films and Munich remains a center of the German film and entertainment industry. Several festivals take place in Munich, and the most famous one is obviously Oktoberfest, with a recent record of 7.2 million visitors in 2023.

And without further ado, here come a few pictures of peregrinations around the city and beyond its walls. I haven't told you about the Viktualienmarkt and the beer gardens, the numerous parks and lakes in and outside the city, or the romantic route that makes for a relaxing and peaceful time in touch with nature on foot, by car, bicycle, or sailboat. After which, a hearty Bavarian meal would be welcomed with pleasure! That will be for a future post…

Enjoy the few pics!

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