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Munich - Capital of Bavaria

Situated on the river Isar and north of the Bavarian Alps, Munich is Germany's third largest city.

Host of the 1972 Summer Olympics the city is a candidate for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The city has become the place to be seen for German celebrities and the wealthily "elite" who enjoy the cosmopolitan style the city is renowned for.

Museums are prevalent here in Munich and some of the most popular include the Alte Pinakothek and Neu Pinakothek art museums and the Deutsche Museum with its exhibits on science and technology.

Refined lifestyles aside, thousands of Lederhosen-clad tourists flock to Munich every year for the world famous Oktoberfest to indulge in a month-long beer drinking and sausage eating orgy.

www.muenchen.de/home/60093/Homepage.html

Top 5 things to do in Munich

Marienplatz

The Marienplatz is considered to be the heart of Munich and dates back to 1158 when it was used as a space for markets and tournaments.

The square is dominated by the New City Hall (Neus Rathaus) with its huge impressive Gothic facade.

At the centre of the square is the Mariensäule (column of St. Mary) which was erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation.

All around the square you'll find other old buildings such as the Frauenkirche cathedral.

See it just now for yourself from the Marienplatz webcam.

www.aviewoncities.com/munich/marienplatz.htm

Fraunenkirche

Located in the central Marienplatz, the twin towers of Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Lady) have dominated the square since 1525.

The cathedral is built on the site of an older Romanesque church built in the 12th century. Modelled on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, construction was started in 1468 only to be completed when the domes were added to the towers in 1525.

Being extensively damaged during WWII an extensive restoration project was started after the war and was finally completed in 1994.

The Frauenkirche is a working cathedral holding regular services and has the capacity to hold 20,000 people making it one of the largest church halls in Germany.

The south tower is open to those wishing to climb the stairs and offers a unique view of Munich and the nearby Alps.

www.sacred-destinations.com/germany/munich-frauenkirche.htm

Residenz

The Residenz is the largest city palace in Germany and the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs.

The first buildings at this site were erected in 1385 forming a fortress (Neuveste) surrounded by a protective wide moat.

The west wing of the palace today is called the  Old Residenz (Alte Residenz) and was commissioned in 1597 by Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria.

Inside, the Hall of Antiquities (Antiquarium) (inset picture) was built in 1568 for the antique collection of Albert V and is the largest Renaissance hall north of the Alps and one of the most decorative in the palace with paintings covering every part of the walls.

Also on display in the Treasury halls of the palace are the house jewels of the Wittelsbach. The collection spans 1000 years and contains items such as the royal insignia, crowns, swords, goblets, goldsmith work, rock crystal, ivory work, icons and numerous other treasures like precious tableware and toiletries.

The complex of buildings contains ten courtyards and 130 rooms are open to the public.

www.residenz-muenchen.de/englisch/residenc/index.htm

Englischer Garten

The English Garden public park is centrally located in Munich.

Created in 1789 the huge 3.7km2 park is one of the world's largest urban public parks and is larger than New York's Central Park.

The style of gardening in the park is heavily based on mid 18th to early 19th century landscaping which was popular in the UK, hence the name of the park.

Being so large the park has many different themed areas such as the Japanisches Teehaus (Japanese Teahouse) added to the park to celebrate the 1972 Summer Olympics.

If you're after something more active than a stroll in the park then why not try a bit of surfing?

Yes, you hear correctly - surfing in the park.

At the mouth of the artificial stream that runs through the Englischer Garten, there is a standing wave that is produced by the water pumping mechanism. Surfers attempt to surf on this wave for as long as they can.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Englischer_Garten

Nymphenburg Palace

The Nymphenburg Palace was the main summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria and was commissioned in 1664.

Today, Nymphenburg is open to the public, but also continues to be a home and chancery for the head of the house of Wittelsbach, currently Franz, Duke of Bavaria.

The palace, together with its park, is now one of the most famous sights of Munich and the huge 700m wide baroque facade of the main palace is striking when walking up through the front gardens.

Inside the Steinerner Saal (Stone Hall), is decorated with detailed ceiling frescoes and acts as the central grand hall of the palace occupying over three floors.

Outside, the park is bisected by a long canal along the principle axis which leads from the palace to the marble cascade (decorated with stone figures of Greek gods) in the west.

Two lakes are situated on both sides of the canal and there are a number of different styled pavilions located within the park.

www.schloesser.bayern.de/englisch/palace/uebers/nymphbur.htm

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