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Cities in germany - Munich

Munich (German: München) is the state capital of the Bundesland Bavaria in Germany and, behind Berlin and Hamburg, Germany's third largest city with a population of about 1.261 million (as of 2003). It is located on the river Isar.

History

The settlement was founded as Munichen in 1158 by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, and half a century later was granted city status and fortified. Initially, bishop Otto von Freising (Freising) and Henry quarreled about the city before the emperor at a Reichstag at Augsburg; in 1180, with the trial of Henry the Lion, Otto of Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria, whose Wittelsbach dynasty would rule Bavaria until 1918. In 1255, the dukedom of Bavaria was cut in two, and Munich became the residence of Upper Bavaria.

In 1327, the entire city was destroyed by fire but successfully rebuilt some years later by Louis IV, the ruling Holy Roman Emperor of the time. In 1632 the city was brought under the control of Gustav II Adolph of Sweden as part of the Thirty Years' War, but in 1705 it was recaptured and brought under Habsburg rule. The city's first academic institution, the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, was founded in the city in 1759.

The city was now growing at a very fast rate and was one of the largest cities in mainland Europe. In 1806, it became the capital of the Bavarian monarchical state, with the state's parliament (the Landtag) sitting in the city along with the new archdiocese of Munich and Freising. Twenty years later another prestigious educational institution, the Landshut University, based itself in Munich.

Many of the city's finest buildings belong to this period all of which come under the Maximilian style of architecture, named after the reigning king, Maximilian I. These buildings include the Ludwigstraße, the Ruhmeshalle, and the Königsplatz built by architects Leo von Klenze and Friedrich von Gärtner, and the "Bavaria" statue, built by Schwanthaler.

In 1882 electric lighting was introduced to Munich and the city hosted Germany's first exhibition of electricity. Nineteen years later the Hellabrunn Zoo opened in the city. After World War I, the city was at the centre of the unrest that saw Adolf Hitler and National Socialism rise to power in Germany. In 1923 Hitler and his supporters, which then were concentrated in Munich, staged the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt at overthrowing the government of the time and gaining power for himself. The revolt was, however, a failure, resulting in Hitler's arrest and a crippled Nazi Party virtually unknown outside Munich. However, the city would again become one of the strongholds of the Nazis, when they took power in Germany in 1933. Because of its importance the Nazis also called it Hauptstadt der Bewegung (en: capital of the movement), which indeed it was, with the headquarters of the NSDAP based there. Many Führerbauten (en: Führer-buildings) were built around the Königsplatz, some have survived to this day.

In 1938, the Munich Agreement was signed in the city, ceding the Sudetenland, previously a part of Czechoslovakia, to Germany. It was signed by representatives of Germany, Italy, France and Britain. A year later, in 1939, Georg Elser attempted to assassinate Hitler with a bomb in Munich – an event which could have changed the course of history, but failed.

Munich was the city where the White Rose (German: Die Weiße Rose), a group of students that formed a resistance movement from June 1942 to February 1943, was based. They were arrested following a distribution of leaflets in Munich University by Hans and Sophie Scholl.

The city was very heavily damaged during World War II and, after American occupation in 1945, was rebuilt to a meticulous masterplan.

Sights

The city has several important art museums, among them the Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek, and the Pinakothek der Moderne. It was also the site of the Blaue Reiter group of artists before World War I.

Other famous tourist attractions include the English Garden (Englischer Garten), a formal garden park roughly in the center of the city which contains a nudist area, the Deutsches Museum (Science Museum), and the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, an ornate clock with moving figures atop the town hall. Perhaps Munich's most famous attraction is the Oktoberfest, a 2-week-long celebration of beer running from late September to early October each year.

Other famous buildings in Munich include the Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Lady) and the Olympiaturm (Olympic Tower, a radio and TV broadcasting station).

The Olympiaturm (Olympic Tower) was built for the 1972 Summer Olympics which were held in Munich and during which terrorist gunmen from the Palestinian "Black September" group took hostage members of the Israeli olympic team. A rescue attempt by the West German government was unsuccessful and resulted in the deaths of the Israeli hostages, 5 of the terrorists, and one German police officer. The 1974 Soccer World Cup was also held in the city and in 2006 it will host the opening match of the next FIFA Soccer World Cup.

Around Munich

Lying on the plain of the Voralpenland the munich agllomeration sprawls unhindered by geography. Several smaller traditional Bavarian cities are today part of the Munich suburbia and are worth a visit if you have exhausted the main Munich sights.

  • Dachau
  • Fürstenfeldbruck
  • Freising
  • Erding
  • Starnberg

Sights

  • Nymphenburg palace
  • Oberschleissheim Palace

Economy

Munich is the site of the global headquarters of German insurance companies Allianz AG and Münchener Rück, the car manufacturer BMW, the technology firms Siemens AG and Infineon Technologies , as well as the German headquarters of McDonald´s and Microsoft.

Miscellaneous

The current mayor of Munich is Christian Ude of the political Party SPD (Social-democratic Party of Germany). This is extraordinary because all the rest of Bavaria is governed on the communal level by members (mayors etc.) of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union)

Transportation

Munich airport, named after Franz Josef Strauß, is Franz Josef Strauß International Airport. The airport can be reached by suburban train lines S1 and S8.

Munich has a large public transport system including subways, suburban trains, trams and buses. The local transportation is supervised by the Munich Transport and Tariff Association (Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund, MVV). More information on MVV.