Frauenkirche was built between 1468 and 1488. Known for the two onion domes; no building may be built taller than this beloved church. When one thinks of Munich, this is often the image that pops into their head.
Of course, there is a legend to this church; you just knew there would be one. The builder Jorg Halspach and the Devil made a deal that the Devil would finance the church if Jorg would build it without side windows. Not sure how that helps the Devil; no side windows mean you have nothing to distract you outside, so you listen to the preacher a bit closer. Anyway, Old Jorg decided he was smarter than the Devil and would pull a fast one to get his money and have windows in the church. The Devil saw the stained-glass windows on the outside and figured he had old Jorg where he wanted him, and his soul would be his. So, Jorg led the Devil just inside the entrance and gave him a peek inside the church. I personally am amazed he got the Devil inside a church, to begin with. So, from that vantage point, the twenty-two columns blocked the side windows giving the illusion he did as he promised, no windows. Good one, Jorg.
Since the Devil knew the windows were there but could not see them inside, he threw a tantrum in frustration over not seeing windows. He stamped his foot really hard once he realized he had been fooled, leaving a mark that remains to this day. No one likes to be made a fool of, especially when a soul is on the line. He also said a few choice words and smacked poor Jorg on the back of the head. Jorg dropped dead upon the completion of the church from the head injury the Devil inflicted upon him. No one knows where his soul went.
I suspect the footprint was one of the construction workers who accidentally stepped in the concrete and made up a story to keep Jorg from withholding his paycheck. The wind that blows around the church is Satan himself, circling around the building, looking at the windows he paid for. It must have been the Devil’s day off as I felt no wind outside the church.
Another rumor is the footprint is that of whacky King Otto of the Wittelsbach clan. They wish to keep this one quiet. He snuck out of the castle one day and went to mass. Rumor has it he liked to disrupt mass and beg the priest for forgiveness for his war crimes. This time it was during the baptism of the mayor’s new grandchild, so he was brushed off. This pissed him off, and he stamped his foot so hard that it left a mark on the floor. That was his last outing in public; after that, they used better locks on the door to keep him from escaping the castle tower.
Either way, the tile is just an odd-looking tile that is obviously not part of the regular floor, and it was placed there for theatrical reasons. I would have preferred to see a small set of kitty prints trotting across the floor than a fake shoe print. The fun thing to do is to sit back and watch people approach the footprint. You get three reactions, those that never read the legend and have no clue, those that avoid stepping on the Devil’s footprint at all costs, and the rest of us. We all have to try and see if we wear the same shoe size as the old Devil or Otto himself.
Did you notice the towers are not identical twins? They were planned to be even taller, but the local big shots ran out of money, and Wells Fargo denied the loan. However, I like them as they are too tall and look like they are compensating for something.
The design is Gothic, but the inside is fairly unadorned for a gothic cathedral. See, I told you they were running out of cash because Wells Fargo was cheap. So the towers sat without spires for a few decades when the rulers of the land decided they really like the gold dome of The Rock of Jerusalem, so they copied that bad boy. King Ludwig II loved the church so much that he dressed up as a Frauenkirche nun as a young boy. Never saw that coming.
As you probably guessed by now, there are a bunch of dead rulers buried there. Upfront is the tomb of the first King of Bavaria, Emperor Louis IV aka Louis of Bavaria, and Ludwig III, the last ruler of Bavaria. The beginning and end. Louis IV’s tomb is pretty impressive; it is a large black marble monstrosity with sculptures of knights surrounding it. No wonder Mad King Ludwig II liked it at the church so much, knight sculptures and nun dresses. The crypt contains the remains of members of the Wittelsbach family, a powerful dynasty that ruled Bavaria for a long time.
It is not well-publicized; I had no clue, but you can climb the south tower for an amazing view of the Marienplatz and St. Peterskirche. It is quite the hike, but if 110-year-old Anton Adner climbed those stairs back in 1819, then you can too. Anton became famous for climbing the tower, and he died at the age of 117. King Max, I personalized his gravestone for him. Today you get to be lazy and take the elevator.
Now for the creepfest of the church. Seventeen-year-old Baroness Franziska’s mom was an uppity snob and would not let her daughter marry an army officer. So instead, she wanted her to marry someone rich and named Wittelsbach. Franziska was so upset that she jumped off the north tower in heartbreak. Poor kid.
During WWII, the church was hit by a bomb and had to be rebuilt; they did a marvelous job fixing up the place. Sadly, some of the interior decorations did not survive. Still, a lot of the artwork did survive because it was hidden away in a safe spot.