Munich History
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Munich Travel Guide: History


Munich History


1158 - which is the earliest date it was officially mentioned in a document - is regarded as the foundation date of Munich - although people - particularly Benedictine monks - settled down in the area much earlier.

Its origin is an argument between Bishop Otto of Freising and Henry the Lion, the Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, who destroyed an important Isar bridge of Otto for trading and built an own one (where the Ludwigsbrücke is now) in order to make profits from the trading with salt that was quite flourishing then. The argument was solved by the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in Augsburg in 1158.

Barbarossa decided that the bishop should get an annual compensation and Henry was allowed to keep the bridge. In addition, he confirmed Munich's trading and currency rights.

Only about 15 years later, in 1175, it received the city status and a fortress was built.

In the 14th as well as in the 15th century, Munich was destroyed by a severe fire and had to be rebuilt. The second fire in 1429 caused a revival of gothic arts due to which the Frauenkirche, another Wahrzeichen of Munich, was built within only 20 years.

In 1506, Munich became the capital of Bavaria.

During the 16th century Munich also was an important center of counter reformation and renaissance. Architects and builders from Italy were invited. Important buildings were constructed, e.g. in 1506 the Hofbräuhaus (near Marienplatz) which is a famous tourist attraction now, but used to serve for brewing beer then.

After the Thirty Years War in the 17th century and the plague in 1634/35 which caused the death of one third of the population, Munich became the center of baroque. Within this period, the beautiful church Theatinerkirche as well as the castle of Nymphenburg were built for example.

In 1806, Munich became the capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria which caused a flourishing period of building works again. During this period and particularly under the reign of Ludwig I. and Max II., this time the architecture was subject to the neoclassical style. Examples are the Maximiliansstraße and the Ruhmeshalle at the Theresienwiese (where the Oktoberfest takes place every year). Famous architects were Leo von Klenze and Friedrich von Gärtner. Munich was not only a center of architecture, but also of sience, arts and literature.

During the Second World War, Munich served as stronghold for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. After the war and the occupation by the Americans, Munich was rebuilt again. In this, the old street pattern was kept. Munich started flourishing again and the 1,000,000th citizen was born in 1957.

In 1972, the Olympics were held in Munich, in 1974 and 2006, the World Cup was carried out in Germany. All of these events caused a boost of the infrastructure of the city.
Munich Isar