Feldherrnhalle

This place weirds me out.  I was in Munich for my 50th birthday extravaganza, and this place looked familiar to me.  Turns out it is modeled after the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence.  I sat on those Italian steps twice and watched the gypsies harass innocent tourists.

While visiting this place in Munich, there was some sort of pro-Israel rally going on.  I saw a lot of riot police standing around just in case.  Being a big chicken that did not understand the language or what was going on, I left the area.  But, oh, the irony, the Israeli flag flying in that square.

This structure memorializes the Bavarian army.  Johann Tilly has a statue; his claim to fame kicked the Swedes out of Munich during the thirty-year war.  That was actually pretty easy as the King gave them all that free beer.  King Ludwig I is responsible for this place.  He did build some cool shit.

There are two lions on the steps. One is growling at the Residenz, and the other has his mouth shut towards the church. It is symbolic of the German people giving the rulers the finger but being respectful to the church. Very wise.

And then there are the Nazis.  November 9th, 1923, Hilter supporters organized an illegal march towards the Feldherrhalle to start a “people’s revolution.”  The state police told them to stop; they didn’t, so they were fired upon.  Sixteen were killed, along with four police; many were wounded. Hitler was arrested and sent to prison for a short time. And that is where he found the time to write his book “Mein Kampf.”   Once the little prick was in power, he added a bronze tablet that contained a swastika and the words Und ihr habt doch geseigt.  This was where the SS troops gave their loyalty oath to the Nazi party.  That ought to creep you out just a little bit.

He posted the SS at the memorial, and you were forced to give the Nazi salute to pass.  To avoid this, many locals used the alleyway behind the Feldherrnhalle.  It was named the shirker’s alley.  Gold paving stones have been placed there as a reminder of those that had their little resistance.

Asamkirche

Architect brothers Cosmas and Egid Asam were amazingly talented architects.  They built dream churches for the public, and this one they built for their own private use.  It is rather small, late baroque, and built-in 1746. The church was overly done with gilded garlands, cherubs, fake marble (the real stuff was too expensive, they had a budget), and oversized barley-twist columns.  Every inch was covered.  Some might think this is gaudy and self-involved, or it was a masterpiece; you decide for yourself and get back to me. I say self-involved.

The brothers had a thing for St. John Nepomuk of Prague; you will hear a lot about him when you read about Prague.  He is a patron saint of Bohemia.  There are two versions of why he was martyred.  One was a nice guy trying to be respectable to the king’s woman, or he started a coup against the king. He was given cement shoes in the river.  Who knows, but the brothers liked him and called him Johann.  St Johann of Nepomuk is the patron saint of discretion, floods, and slander.  I think the brothers chose him because he was a saint of slander.  They named the church after St Johann, but the citizens of Munich named it Asamkirche, after the brothers.  The citizens were so ticked off that they were not allowed inside the church; they threw a collective temper tantrum, so the brothers opened it up to the public.

The church is one of the most important buildings of late German baroque design.  Because it was their own private church, they went crazy and did whatever they wanted.  Egid liked looking at alters; he ensured he would see the alter from the window of his house next door.  He also had it in mind that the church would be used as a confessional for the youth of Munich.  There are seven confessionals as the youth of Munich were very naughty children. Cosmas fancied himself a painter, so his little personal touch was to paint the ceiling fresco. The theme was, what else, “Life of Saint Nepomuk.” It will be interesting to see which death scene Cosmas chose to paint as there are three versions over in Prague.

The high altar was inspired by the high altar of St. Peter’s in Rome.  Like St. Peters, who has a bone of the real St. Peter, the Asam brothers have a relic of St. Johann of Nepomuk in their alter. I shudder to think what it is.

Cosmas and Egid were the inspiration for the TV show Property Brothers.

Heiliggeistkirche

If you are into Gothic crap, this is the place for you. Some of the Gothic style did manage to survive.  It really is a good-looking church. The story is the Holy Ghost Hospice originally owned the church.  Luck had it when the douche-canoe King tore down all the hospice buildings; this one was spared.  That explains why it is next to the viktualienmarkt.  It was added to over the years and changed to the neo-baroque outside.  The super cool part of this place is the lantern dome. 

The Asam brothers have their little hands in this church. These boys were the go-to guys back in the day when you wanted a good design. Although, of course, today you are famous for catching a ball, back then…. imagination and skill in painting and building. I am sure the Wittelbach’s made them pretty wealthy boys.  Wonder if they attracted the ladies by the dozen?

 The church has fantastic ceiling frescoes painted by the Asam brothers.  The ceiling subject is the foundation of a hospice that used to be next door.  At least there are some paintings of the places that the king tore down.

The interior is Rococo with stucco.  During WWII, the church and the interior furnishings were pretty much destroyed. It was rebuilt and renovated again in 1991.   Some of the original pieces did survive.

There are no real creepy facts about this church that I could find, other than the fact it was an homage to the destroyed hospice, and all the meth heads moved off to the riverbed to live in tents.

St. Peterskirche

Since the monks ruled the roost in Munich, they decided the name of the church square; they chose Petersbergl, aka Peter’s hill.  Ok, I have to get this out there… I had no clue there were different brands of monks.  I really had no clue.  I thought they were all orange-shrouded Asian Buddhist ones, but it seems there are brown hooded Christian type ones too, and those were the ones here.  I learn something every day.

The original church was a wooden structure that lasted for 150 years, and wait for it…. wait for it…. it burned down.  Fire, the destroyer of old European churches.  It was rebuilt and lasted centuries.  Over the years, it was added to with different styles then the second destroyer of all things beautiful in Europe… WWII.  The church was nearly destroyed.  It was finally completed in the year 2000. That took a while.  The good news is all the great artwork accumulated over the years was saved.

In 1190, the church was turned into a holy spot by Bishop Otto II of Freising. Another man named Otto… shocker.  There is a little irony to this little holy spot; Bishop Otto II was from the town that Henry the Lion torched their bridge.  Bishop Otto put God and Holy Monks first and blessed the spot.  He was a nice boy that did not hold grudges.  He was not afraid of Henry or his kind either, he knew there were no such things as dragons, and the slay the dragon tale was nothing more than drunk talk.  Bishop Otto was a boss.

Peterskirche has a famous resident, Saint Mundita, the Patron Saint of Spinsters.  As you enter the church, bear left and go to the second chapel.  You will see the skeletal remains of Saint Mundita in her glass coffin.  She is covered with a netting loaded with gold and jewels.  They even gave her freaky fake eyes so she can stare into your lonely soul and be a Judgy McJudge as to why you are still single.   She originally was from the Rome catacombs and was transferred in 1675 to Munich.  Well, dug up and moved without her family’s permission, I suspect. Mundi never had time for a man and never found out what the dingle-dong was for, so sad.  She was devoted to her religious beliefs and was a nice girl, homelier than a mud fence but devoted to God.  She was martyred in the year 310 and was beheaded with a hatchet for not renouncing her faith. 

Now, this is fun; Mundita has a Facebook page, she really does.  Who says she is not a major saint; she has social media and a party every year at the church. Light a candle and find a man.

Above her is the Patron Saint of Mariners and protector against intestinal ailments, well, just his head anyway.  Even in death, Mundita does not get to be with a whole man, just a piece and the wrong piece.  His name is Saint Elmo, no lie… Elmo. They gave him weird blue eyes and put his head on a cushion. Initially, it was thought he was martyred by disembowelment.  They sliced him open and used a windlass to wind up his guts.  A windlass is a mariner winch.  Another rumor is he was beaten with rods and had all sorts of hot stuff poured on him with no effect; he would not die.  The power of God spared him a horrible death.  The final story is he grew old and was celebrated for all his suffering.  God gave him peace and an easy ending.  His body was transferred to Gaeta, but along the way, the people dropped his head as they passed by Munich.  The monks snatched it up, hid it for a while until they forgot it was missing.  They then placed it on display with Mundita, so they both found love after death.   Light a candle and never get gas again. I lit two as I am single and fart a lot.

I did spend some time with Mundi.  They need to have a Windex moment on her coffin.  It has a glare and a half as well as some dirt.  Hard to judge the Germans when the windows in my cat room are just as dirty.  Single women and cats…go figure.  Anyway, Munds is totally creepy with her glass eyeballs staring at you.  Her little outfit was cute and all, but the creep factor is pretty intense, so you can tell why she never landed a man.  They did a pretty good job sticking her head back on, so you cannot tell it was whacked off, poor gal.  I politely told her I was very sorry for her beheading and asked her to send a good man my way, no more weenies.  I made my stepmom do the same as I want a new dad.  Time will tell if she heard us or not.

The rumor is the best view of Munich and Marienplatz is the tower known as old Pete. So stretch your legs, have a beer, and head on up; it is totally worth it for the view.  I managed to climb up the ridiculous pile of steps, and it really is worth risking a heart attack for.

Michaelskirch

Michaelskirche is not remarkable on the outside; it has no towers like Frauenkirche but the inside, oh the inside.  The claim to fame for this Jesuit church is the barrel-vaulted ceiling, the second largest one of its kind.

Yeah, so what? Well, this one had no supporting columns; it is a master of architecture.  The only larger column-less barrel-vaulted ceiling is the one and only St. Peters in Rome.

If you are not a fan of architecture, this little tidbit may give you a thrill. Guess who is buried down in the crypt?  The one and only King Ludwig II, the king that built Neuschwanstein.  There are a few other Wittelsbach’s are down there with him.

The whacky little brother of Ludwig II, King Otto, is there too.  The other bigwigs are William V and Max I.  The stepson of Napoleon is stuck down there with the Wittelbachs.  Eugene is the son of Josephine. The little french guy got down there by marriage.

For me, Luds was the reason to visit the church.  He is my favorite German ruler.

Frauenkirche Church

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.

See, no windows

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.

Louis IV is in there somewhere

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.

Yeah, another one I took off the internet

Hofbrauhaus

As you know Wilhelm V founded the Hofbrauhaus brewery.  His people did not like the crappy beer in Munich; they preferred the beer in the next state.  Being a bit of a cheap bastard, he ran a spreadsheet and found it was cheaper to start his own brewery than get a truckload from the next town.  Willy went for the best brewmaster he could find, and the Hofbrauhause was born. He was also a selfish prick and only let his household drink the beer.  Ludwig I was the nice one that let regular peasants drink the good stuff.

The Hofbrauhaus is the mothership of all beer halls; it has various interesting atmospheres to drink your stein of beer.  Sit outside in the shaded chestnut tree gardens, listen to the oompah band inside, sit at the tables near the kitchen or a cozy, quiet corner if you are on a hot date. We sat outside under the chestnut trees.  I was with a rather large group, and it was hot as hell when I was in Germany.

Fun fact:  The Hofbrauhaus brewery was so famous for their beer that the Swedish King Gustavus made a deal to not invade Munich during the Thirty Years War.  In exchange, he got a little over half a million barrels of beer.  Munich agreed, as it would have been an easy win if the drunk Swedes invaded them.  I would have wanted to be on the Swedish team at that time, free beer.

The place is enormous and has enough room to hold weddings and concerts.  The restaurant is top-notch and has the best Weiner Schnitzel ever. The main taproom can hold more than 1,000 drunks. The barmaids carry big steins of beer in traditional attire, and hot dudes wear lederhosen.  It does not get any better or more German than this.

Oh, pretty ceiling in there

The first floor is rather boring, with more restaurant than a festive beer hall feel to it. The ceiling is painted nice, but it was so hot and humid when I was there that I had to go outside as fast as possible. So take the kids home after dinner, then come back and head to the other fun rooms.

On the second floor, you’ll find the cavernous Festsaal, lined with the flags and standards of the various dominions once belonging to Bavaria. That’s where, incidentally, Hitler founded the Nazi Party in 1920.  You just knew there would be something weird about the place, so there you go.

Another fun fact:  The Munich communist government established its headquarters at the Hofbrauhaus. A year later, Hitler had his meeting of the national socialist party.

During WWII, a good portion of the Hofbrauhaus was destroyed, of course.  It took a while, but it was re-opened in 1958.  When in Munich you have to go to the Hofbrauhaus. While there, look for the “Stammtisch” signs.  These tables are regular customers tables and have been for as long as 70 years.  The Germans that own these tables store their personalized steins at the bar. 

Random photo stolen off the internet.

Viktualienmarkt

The original market was in the central square, Marienplatz.  I know I already told you this, but you may have forgotten by now, so get over it; I love to repeat myself.  King Maximillian did his kingly duty and decided that the market should be moved to the next square because it was getting big and crowded.  The buildings in the next square were charity buildings.   The buildings originally were used to house the homeless, meth heads, and high school dropouts with drinking problems. So King Max leveled the buildings, kicked the people out, and moved them to France.  That was not nice of him, and the French were not amused one bit. Thus the Viktualienmarkt was born. 

As Munich grew, so did the market.  That was kind of a no-brainer, huh?  Over the years, the market grew several times, taking down more middle -class, the unloved citizens of Munich.  Rumor has it that is why the monks left.  They were not happy about losing their little monk homes and told King Max to narf off then left for Thailand.  Thailand has better weather and bigger buddhas anyway.  Seriously, how could they not see this coming?  With the population explosion, Munich needed more markets space. Something had to go.  Bye Felicia.

As all things European, the market burned down in 1932.  Every freaking thing in Europe burns down at one time or another, it seems.  It took until after WWII for the city leaders to get off their asses and rebuild the market.  The citizens were so happy they did not have to shop at Ralph’s any more that they build memorial wells as a symbol of their happiness. I don’t get it either, but water is important to the people, so memorial wells it is.  I never saw one, but I did see that fish fountain, which pretty much made my life.

In the center of the market is a Maypole.  Basically, it is the early beginning of the billboard.  It displayed symbols and figures of the local trades.  The families that sent their sons off to the world to find themselves and learn a trade used the Maypole to decide if the town was interesting or not.

This market is known for its exotic ingredients; you can get all sorts of cool stuff here.  They have a little bit of everything for sale, from fruits to nuts to tiny cat sculptures.  I saw strange things. I had no clue what they were, and there was no way they were going into my mouth.  If you cannot tell what it is, that is a big old fat nope.  I mean, it could be a rat or some sort of stink-bug on a stick targeting unsuspecting tourists for a laugh at their expense.  Nope, nope, nope.

There is your typical beer garden, under the chestnut trees, at the Viktualienmarkt.  Munich beer gardens open in the morning and are there all day are a drunks ‘paradise. I went by mid-afternoon, and the place was packed.  German beer… yum.  Try the Radlers.  When you visit Munich, it is worth the time to wander through the Viktualienmarkt; who knows what treasure you may find or weird produce you may eat.  Drink a beer for the old Chubby-Chick.

See, it was packed.
What are those weird veggies?

These I know, Yum

See, cute kitties

Glockenspiel

Outside of Neues Rathaus is the famous Glockenspiel clock resides.  It was built in 1907, so it is fairly modern.  Three times a day, the motorized figures dance for 12 minutes ending with a chirp of a cuckoo bird. The figures represent popular Munich folklore. No dragons though.

The upper level of the clock tells the story of the 1568 wedding of Duke Wilhelm V and Renata of Lorraine.  They sit up high in the clock, watching the life-sized figures below them twirl around and dance for their entertainment. Duke Willy and his lady were a bit on the extravagant side. Their wedding was possibly the most expensive wedding of the Middle Ages.  Today it would be an average Hollywood wedding.

Willy and Renata lording over the peasants

Willy was Austrian, and the entire country was invited to this shindig.  He arrived at the wedding with about 1,500 horses leading the way.  Not to be outdone, his bride has over 3,500 mounted escorts to the wedding.  600 Angus beef cattle were murdered and BBQed.  Willy was famous for his BBQ sauce. Anyway, the party lasted two weeks.

The show’s highlight was not the bride and her fancy dress, the twenty-layer wedding cake, or the adorable flower girl in her tea-length dress; no, it was a jousting match. This match took place right where you stand while looking up at that clock.  The winner was a strapping lad with bright blue eyes and muscles on top of muscles. His name was Caspar Nothaft von Wernberg zu Alhaming.  Unfortunately, he did not come away unscathed; he hurt his left pinky during the joust. Caspar was the Jason Momoa of Munich, and all the ladies wanted a piece of him.  He is the star of the clock.

The lower level of the clock shows the city’s barrel makers doing a jig.  Barrel makers were the men the ladies liked the most; something about a man and a beer barrel is thrilling.  The dance officially began during the plague.  Legend says the barrel makers started to dance to let the public know the plague was over. In reality, the barrel makers did not handle the quarantine well, lost their minds, ran out to the street, and had a party.  They were getting fat from the stay-at-home order.  The other people figured that they knew something and went with it that the plague was over.  I guess barrel makers double as newsmen and doctor’s assistants back then.  Good to know.

Just like that, Casper wins

I bet you all thought the barrel makers at the bottom would be macho men. Tricked ya

Neues Rathaus

Gargoyles, weird statues, and a dragon’s Oh My!

There are two Rathaus (townhall in German) in Marienplatz, Altes (old) and Neues (new).  This time we are talking about the new one.

In the 1800s, Munich was growing like crazy.  The Octoberfest was so great; people worldwide moved there as the residents got the best tables.  The city council needed more space for government offices, so they built Neues Rathaus.  Of course, the center of the old town was chosen, Marienplatz.  Two dozen buildings were demolished, which ticked off many Germans that did not get the full value, plus a bonus, for their buildings being demolished.  They were not amused and moved to Sweden in protest.

The architect was just a youngster.  At age 24, Georg Hauberrisser was chosen to design the building.  Rumor has it, his uncle was the mayor. This jump-started his career, and he went crazy trying to prove it was talent, not relatives, that got him the job.  Check out the neo-gothic façade of the building for all the gargoyles, statues, and the dragon scaling the turrets.  This kid put a zoo on the outside of that building.  The magnificent creatures that live on the walls of his building were a great source of interest to The Mad King Ludwig. 

The initial building did not have the tower; there was a shortage of flour that year, so not many bake sales. However, it was added during the expansion a few years later, once the cricket invasion ended and flour started to grow again.  Georg’s tower did not disappoint.

The main attraction of the building today is the Glockenspiel.  I know you are all shocked it is not the dragons on the turrets.  I would have chosen the dragons.  Millions of people today visit the clock for the show. Be forewarned, during the performance of the clock, you may become the victim of the five-finger feel-up, also known as pickpocketing. So have some fun, hide your cash in a secure spot and place a dummy wallet in your pocket.  Fill it with feminine protection, religious tracts with the ten commandments on them (make sure you highlight the “thou shall not steal” part).  Better yet, put a naked photo of Betty White in there.

View of the new town hall from the church tower nearby. Amazing huh? Not sure what is more amazing, the view or the fact I hauled my chubby butt up all those stairs and lived to see another day.
See, I told you the dragon was amazing