After drowning in the festivity of Oktoberfest, we headed for Munich Darshan (a word for sightseeing in Hindi).
We started working away from the fest ground and made our way through the street alleys to discover the hidden gem along the shopper’s street, Asam kirche.
Unlike most churches, Asamkirche isn’t a standalone building. It’s located in the middle of a long row of connected buildings in Munich and while eye-catching from the outside, it doesn’t look anything like a church or architectural wonder until you step inside.
And then…it’s an incredible vision of gold, frescoes, and opulence.
Asamkirche was built in the 18th century and gets its name from architect Egid Quirin Asam, who lived in the house next door to the soon-to-be-constructed Asamkirche and built the church along with his brother, Cosmas, as their personal place of worship with the intention of being buried in the tomb underneath the chapel.
For architecture buffs, Asamkirche is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture you can see. I loved the gleaming sunburst above the altar.
Marienplatz – Mary’s Square – is the heart of Munich and the best place to start your Munich sightseeing tour. If short on time when visiting Munich, make time to see Marienplatz and focus on these four aspects of it: New Town Hall, Old Town Hall, the Column of St. Mary and – my favorite part – the Glockenspiel, a clock tower that houses motorized figurines.
The first thing you see when coming to Munich’s Marienplatz is the impressive New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus); its over 300 feet long and elaborately decorated façade with hundreds of statues, turrets and arches dominates the whole square. Although it seems like the New Town Hall dates back to the middle Ages, the building was constructed between 1867 and 1909 in Flanders Gothic style.
The tower of the New Town Hall houses the Glockenspiel, a 100-year old carillon. The Glockenspiel was what I was most excited to see in Marienplatz. It just sounded so darn charming. Every day at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 5 p.m. (the 5 p.m. performance doesn’t occur from November through February) a performance of motorized figurines dance, joust, and twirl around the inside of the tower. The performance lasts 12 minutes and ends with the chirp of a cuckoo bird coming out above the display.
Built on the same site where eighth-century monks had established a monastery, Peterskirche was designed in the Romanesque style. The monks had called this area Peterbergl, or Peter’s Hill, so a similar name was given to the church. The same monks also gave the city its current name, as München is derived from Mönch, the German word for monk.
The mostly-wooden church stood for only 150 years before a fire totally destroyed the structure. During the next forty years (1328-1368), the church was reconstructed, with many Gothic motifs added.
The church stood in its Romanesque/Gothic splendor for the next three centuries, only to have a Renaissance steeple added during the seventeenth century. Shortly after that, a Baroque choir was added at Peterskirche. Just a century or so later, it was completely renovated – this time in an elaborate Rococo style. The church also has a wonderfully tall steeple which you can climb to reach a viewing platform. It’s a great place to snap photos of Munich on a clear day.
Al fresco dining is something that people living in Munich have always enjoyed. Its name is derived from the Latin word victualia, which means “groceries,Munich’s Viktualienmarkt certainly didn’t disappoint with over 140 booths and farm stands.
One of the first things we noticed when we first entered the market was the 36m tall Maypole in the center. A Maypole or Maibaum (May tree) is a tall, wooden pole used to usher in Spring. It is decorated with carved figures, colorful ribbons, paintings and flowers representing their locations. The left decoration panel below pays homage to Munich’s breweries.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10AM – 6PM; Saturday 10AM – 3PM; closed on Sundays. Some stalls may open earlier or close later than others
On November 9, 1923, Adolf Hitler and his followers marched to Feldherrenhalle. The march, which was part of the Hitler-Ludendorff Putsch was ended bloodily by the police, 16 rebels and four police officers were killed. In memory of the putsch, Hitler led the annual “March on the Feldherrenhalle” and in honor of the soldiers killed a role of honour was affixed on the eastern side . Before that, there was a guard of honor of the SS which made sure that all the passerbys honored the slain with Nazi salute. Many Munich locals shunned out this way and went through a small alley behind the Feldherrenhalle. The Viscardigasse was since given the nickname Drückebergergasserl (Slacker Way).
In a city known for beer and beer halls, a visit to Munich really isn’t complete without at least a step inside Hofbräuhaus, one of the oldest and certainly most famous.
It’s loud. It’s crowded. It’s touristy. But it’s also overflowing with beer and a great way to experience the atmosphere of Octoberfest at any time of year.
The hall is filled with long, wooden tables. The restaurant is packed most evenings and it’s a seat yourself kind of joint, so expect to make a few rounds in search of an open table.
If you are in a small group or alone you will be dining next to strangers. While initially this is a little uncomfortable, especially if you’re a solo traveler like me, it’s actually a really nice change and makes it easy to meet new people. We ended up sitting next to a couple from the United States and it made for a nice evening of beer and conversation.
Most nights a week there is a band playing live Bavarian music that also helps enforce the jolly, Oktoberfest mood. we were lucky that our Airbnb hosts,Hubert and Doris were playing that evening in Hofbrauhaus.