Munich is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria, the second most populous German federal state.
It is situated on the elevated plains of Upper Bavaria, about 50 km (31 mi) north of the northern edge of the Alps.
The city covers a total area of 310 square kilometers (120 square miles).
The average altitude is 520 metres (1,710 feet) above sea level.
The name of the city is derived from the Old/Middle High German term Munichen, meaning “by the monks”.
Munich, traces its origins to the Benedictine monastery at Tegernsee, which was probably founded in 750 AD. In 1157 Henry the Lion, duke of Bavaria, granted the monks the right to establish a market where the road from Salzburg met the Isar River. A bridge was built across the Isar the following year, and the marketplace was fortified.
Catholic Munich strongly resisted the Reformation and was a political point of divergence during the resulting Thirty Years’ War, but remained physically untouched despite an occupation by the Protestant Swedes.
Once Bavaria was established as a sovereign kingdom in 1806, it became a major European centre of arts, architecture, culture and science.
In 1918, during the German Revolution, the ruling house of Wittelsbach, which had governed Bavaria since 1180, was forced to abdicate in Munich and a short-lived socialist republic was declared.
It was in Munich that Adolf Hitler joined the Nazi Party and became its leader. The beer cellar where he held meetings that led to the Beer Hall Putsch (“rising”) against the Bavarian authorities in November 1923 can still be seen.
After the Nazis’ rise to power, Munich was declared their “Capital of the Movement”.
During World War II, Munich was heavily bombed and more than 50% of the entire city and up to 90% of the historic centre were destroyed.
After the end of postwar American occupation in 1949, there was a great increase in population and economic power during the years of Wirtschaftswunder, or “economic miracle”.
Today, the city is a global centre of art, science, technology, finance, publishing, culture, innovation, education, business, and tourism and enjoys a very high standard and quality of living.
Marienplatz is a central square in the city centre of Munich, Germany. It has been the city’s main square since 1158. Marienplatz was named after the Mariensäule, a Marian column (religious monuments depicting Virgin Mary on the top) erected in its centre in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation. Today the Marienplatz is dominated by the New City Hall on the north side, and the Old City Hall on the east side.
The Frauenkirche is a church in Munich that serves as the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising and seat of its Archbishop. It is a landmark and is considered a symbol of the Bavarian capital city. Because of local height limits, the church towers are widely visible. According to the narrow outcome of a local plebiscite, city administration prohibits buildings with a height exceeding 99 meters (325 feet) in the city center.
St Peter’s Church is a Roman Catholic parish church in the inner city of Munich. Its 91-metre (299-foot) tower is commonly known as “Alter Peter” — Old Pete — and is emblematic of Munich. St Peter’s is the oldest recorded parish church in Munich and presumably the originating point for the whole city.
The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl is a beer hall in Munich, Germany, originally built in 1589 by Bavarian Duke Maximilian I as an extension of the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München brewery. The general public was admitted in 1828 by Ludwig I. The building was completely remodeled in 1897 by Max Littmann when the brewery moved to the suburbs. All of the rooms except the historic beer hall were destroyed in the World War II bombings. The reopening of the Festival Hall in 1958 marked the end of the post-war restoration work.
The Nymphenburg Palace is a Baroque palace situated in Munich’s western district Neuhausen-Nymphenburg, in Bavaria, southern Germany. Combined with the adjacent Nymphenburg Palace Park it constitutes one of the premier royal palaces of Europe. Its frontal width of 632 m (2,073 ft) (north-south axis) even surpasses Versailles Palace. The Nymphenburg served as the main summer residence for the former rulers of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach.
The Viktualienmarkt is a daily food market and a square in the center of Munich, Germany. It developed from an original farmers’ market to a popular market for gourmets. In an area covering 22,000 square meters (240,000 square feet), 140 stalls and shops offer flowers, exotic fruit, game, poultry, spices, cheese, fish, juices and so on.
The Englischer Garten is a large public park in the centre of Munich, Bavaria, stretching from the city centre to the northeastern city limits. It was created in 1789 by Sir Benjamin Thompson. With an area of 370 hectares (910 acres), the Englischer Garten is one of the world’s largest urban public parks. The name refers to its English garden form of informal landscape, a style popular in England from the mid-18th century to the early 19th century and particularly associated with Capability Brown.
The Olympiapark München is an Olympic Park which was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics. Located in the Oberwiesenfeld neighborhood of Munich, the Park continues to serve as a venue for cultural and socia events.
The BMW Welt is a combined exhibition, delivery, adventure, museum and event venue, located next to the Olympic Park in the immediate vicinity of the BMW factory in Munich’s district Am Riesenfeld. It was built from August 2003 to summer 2007. The BMW Welt is the most visited tourist attraction in Bavaria.
Munich is also home to many universities, museums and theatres.
Its numerous architectural attractions, sports events, exhibitions and festivals attract considerable tourism.
The largest beer festival in the world, Munich’s Oktoberfest runs for 16–18 days from the end of September through early October.
It is home to several professional football teams including Bayern Munich, Germany’s most successful club.
Munich has a reputation as a surfing hotspot, offering the world’s best known river surfing spot, the Eisbach wave, which is located at the southern edge of the Englischer Garten park and used by surfers day and night and throughout the year.