Thursday, 18 October 2012

Magic and Enchantment in Munich’s Marienplatz

Marienplatz sign, Munich

There is little on earth that will rival a little girl’s imagination.  When I was a little girl, I thrived on tales of magical kingdoms and enchanted forests, wishing chairs and talking owls.  Mine was a world of fairy rings, magical creatures and enchanted lands far, far away.

We might not have made it to Schloss Neuschwanstein on this visit to Bavaria when I first laid eyes on the Altes Rathaus in Marienplatz, I thought I was seeing a real fairy tale castle!

Marienplatz and Altes Rathaus Munich

Marienplatz translates as Mary’s Square or Our Lady’s Square.  It is a lovely old square in the centre of Munich and it is here that we first saw the Altes Rathaus or Old Town Hall. 

The tall spire that you see was once the Talburgtor which was one of the five gates of the city wall which was built around Munich in the 12th century. Talburgtor was the smallest of the gates and it was redesigned as part of the Old Town Hall when it was constructed between 1392-1394.  The neo-gothic design of the Altes Rathaus was implemented during a restoration in the late 19th century and I think it is really very charming.

Altes Rathaus

Don’t you agree?

One feature you can’t help but notice in Marienpatz is the imposing Marian column Mariensäule or Statue of Our Lady, for which the old town square was named. This column features a golden statue of the Virgin Mary standing on a crescent moon and was built in 1638 to celebrate the end of the Swedish occupation of the city.  It reminds me of the Colonne de la Déesse built in Lille's Grand’Place to commemorate the successful resistance to the Austrian siege of September 1792.

Mariensäule

Of course, it would simply not be possible to enter Marienplatz without eventually turning to the north and taking in the vast Gothic Revival Neues Rathaus or New Town Hall, built between 1867 and 1908. 

Neues Rathaus

I am usually a great fan of this architectural style but have to admit to being more than a little awed by this massive structure.  I really do believe that it can only be adequately photographed from the air.

While the Old Town Hall appealed to my sense of fantasy, the New Town Hall appealed to my love of all things creepy and Gothic and I loved all of the tiny details, such as the scene above this entrance.

Entrance Neues Rathaus Munchen copy

When I took this photo, I stood with my back laid flat against the opposite building.  As I say, it is hard to take in the vast expanse of this grand old building.

Neues Rathaus western elevation

The Neues Rathaus is one of the most visited and photographed buildings in Munich because it is also the house of the city’s famous Glockenspiel

The Glockenspiel at Munich

It was quite cold on the day that we visited Marienplatz so we sat down at one of the cafes and ordered fries and hot chocolate.  It was such a lovely atmosphere, which I think you can experience a little bit at 2:30 when the bells began in earnest.  I do apologise for the camera flying all over the place at one point, that was just us spilling a full glass of coke all over our table!

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13 comments

  1. Just had a 2nd peek at your photos... amazing!

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  2. Looking at the video clip feel like I was there as well..wonderful !

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  3. Great photos of Munich. I've never been myself, but would definitely put this on the must see list.

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  4. Incredible architecture.. very fairy tale!

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  5. Absolutely stunning photos...how I'd love to visit there! Pure gorgeousness..brilliant post!
    Victoria

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  6. Feels almost like home :) Only couple of hours drive away...
    I always dreamed of African Safari. One day!
    Enjoy your weekend, Emm!

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  7. simply enjoy your photos so much !

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  8. hi emm,

    thank you for this lovely pictorial tour!
    amazing post and photos.

    xx

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  9. Great photos! There are lots of fairytales in Bavaria, that's for sure! Don't be too disappointed about not seeing Neuschwanstein at the moment. Reschedule a trip in a couple of years and it should be back to normal! :)

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  10. Was JUST there not too long ago. I love Munich!! And, as always, your pics are fab.

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  11. Mandy that's really pretty... when were you there?

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  12. @ Tammy: Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed them!

    @ Agnes: I'm so glad! That was what I intended!

    @ Clueless in Boston: we were only there 48 hours but there is so much to see and something for everyone in terms of history, architecture, food, sports and parks.

    @ Kitty: Absolutely!

    @ Sy: thank you so much m'dear.

    @ Victoria: so glad you enjoyed it!

    @ Ivanhoe: definitely! Practically around the corner. We're really hoping to visit Prague next year.

    @ This Is Belgium: awww, thank you so much!

    @ Betty: glad you enjoyed it Betty!

    @ BavarianSojourn: well, there is no doubt in my mind that I will return to Munich, Bavaria and Germany. We really loved it.

    @ Sarah B: it was your trip that spurred me on to finally post about it!!!

    @ WithinIreland: we were there for our wedding anniversary in March.

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