Friday, January 23, 2015

So Much to See in Munich

St. Peterskirche was beautiful
We spent five days exploring Munich. There were Christkindlmarkts everywhere. Each little neighborhood seemed to have its own and somewhat unique version. The merchandise was similar everywhere and none of it came home with me. Just a couple of ornaments for the grandchildren.

St. Peter's Church
One of the things we love to do is to visit the old churches. Munich has a number of famous ones and so we set off to find them. While I don't know much about them as all of the literature was in German, we did capture some of the architecture in photos which I share here.

St. Peter's
First we visited St. Peters Church (St. Peterskirche) in the City Center area. Located on the southern side of the Marienplatz, St. Peters Church boasts an eye-catching Gothic-style exterior, with definite Baroque influences inside. With more than 300 steps, the climb to the top is well worth the effort, affording spectacular views of the Munich cityscape. We did not make the climb!
St. Peter's

We enjoyed our stop at Frauenkirche, also known as the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady. This is the iconic church in Munich with the two domed towers. It is known for its legendary devil's footprint. The two towers (north tower 98.57 m, south tower 0.12 m less) were completed in 1488 and the church was consecrated in 1494. However, for yet another lack of money, the originally planned tall open-work spires so typical for the Gothic style could not be built and the towers had to stay uncovered until 1525.

The cathedral can hold approximately 20,000 people, and Catholic Mass is held regularly. The interior of the cathedral, which is among the largest hall churches in southern Germany, consists of the nave and two side aisles of equal height (31 metres (102 ft)). The arches were designed by Heinrich von Straubing.

Constructing a church with a capacity of 20,000 is surprising when one considers that the city only had about 13,000 inhabitants at end of the 15th Century. The interior does not overwhelm despite its size because the double-row of 22 metres (72 ft) high columns helps enclose the space. From the main portal the view seems to be only the rows of columns with no windows and translucent "walls" between the vaults through which the light seems to shine. The spatial effect of the church is connected with a legend about a footprint in a square tile at the entrance to the nave, the so-called "devil's footstep".This is a black mark resembling a footprint, which according to legend was where the devil stood when he curiously regarded and ridiculed the 'windowless' church that Halsbach had built. (In baroque times the high altar would obscure the one window at the very end of the church visitors can spot now when standing in the entrance hall.)
In another version of the legend, the devil made a deal with the builder to finance construction of the church on the condition that it contain no windows. The clever builder, however, tricked the devil by positioning columns so that the windows were not visible from the spot where the devil stood in the foyer. When the devil discovered that he had been tricked, he could not enter the already consecrated church. The devil could only stand in the foyer and stomp his foot furiously, which left the dark footprint that remains visible in the church's entrance today.

St. Johann Nepomuk
Legend also says the devil then rushed outside and manifested its evil spirit in the wind that furiously rages around the church. Another version of that part of the legend has it the devil came to see the construction place riding on the wind. Having completely lost his temper he stormed away forgetting the wind, that will continue to blow around the church until the day the devil comes back to reclaim it.

Another stop on our church tour: St. Johann Nepomuk, better known as the Asam Church (German: Asamkirche) is a church in Munich, southern Germany, built from 1733 to 1746 by the brothers Egid Quirin Asam and Cosmas Damian Asam as their private church. Due to resistance of the citizens, the brothers were forced to make the church accessible to the public. The church is considered to be one of the most important buildings of the main representatives of the southern German Late Baroque. This church is very narrow and very dark. You almost miss the entrance as it is tucked in between two buildings.

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