The Asamkirche is a small and highly ornate church, alongside the original home of the two brothers who designed it, in Sendlingerstrasse, in the old centre of Munich. It was built initially as a private church between 1733 and 1746 by the Asam brothers who were obliged (quite rightly) by the church authorities to open it for public worship.
It's a short walk from Marienplatz, in the old city centre, and is an essential item on any visit to Munich. The interior of the church is an extreme example of late Baroque (or Rococo?) design, with curly columns, statues and carvings climbing up the walls and attempting to gain a foothold on the ceiling; painted decorations of all kinds and inscriptions. The high altar offers the climax to the entire extravaganza.
The church was carefully restored between 1975 and 1982. It is unique.
I attended a two-hour organ recital there on my first visit to Munich a few years ago. The pews naturally face forward, towards the altar; the organ however is at the back of the church. As a result of facing the altar for two hours I was obliged to study every detail of it. I think I can still draw the entire thing from memory.
Sendlinger Straße 32, 80331 München, Germany
Google map: bit.ly/PkW1M6
This gallery opened in 2002 and shows the visual arts and design of the 20th and 21st centuries. It was designed by Stephan Braunfel. It is spacious, full of natural light from a huge rotunda, and offers both a permanent collection and changing exhibitions. It is a pleasure to visit. The design work in particular is imaginatively displayed, on ramps, on huge open lifts that revolve in the air, or suspended at eye level from the high ceilings. Like the other nearby museums, it has a good cafe, and an attractive shop that sells both mementos of your visit and scholarly material. The entry fee was 9.50 euros but that covered all the shows offered in the gallery.
Museum District; tram 27 from Karlsplatz (Stachus) www.pinakothek-der-moderne.de
A decision to restore the city of Munich was taken after wartime bombing and so, unlike Frankfurt, for example, which is almost brand new, or Berlin, which is an extraordinary mix of old and new, Munich has regained the main elements of its prewar appearance. The result restores a city whose inhabitants, including its rulers, were in love with Italy and Ancient Greece. Koenigsplatz is one good place to see the epic scale of this phenomenon, where two major classical museums face one another across a vast grassy square, separated by a monumental gate, again in a classical style. What might have been grandiose is saved by the presence, in good weather, of children playing, and students from the nearby university sitting around, chatting, and generally enjoying the sunshine.
U2 to Koenigsplatz from Hauptbahnhof.
The Electress Amalia’s hunting lodge has one large room, two smaller ones, a single day bed, a Delft-tiled kitchen, an indoor kennel for her dogs (who clearly lived in greater comfort than most of the population), one lavatory (not for use by visitors) and no fireplaces.
The domed central room has vast silver-gilt mirrors and crystal chandeliers, the walls painted the pale green-blue colour of infinity that you see when you stand between two parallel mirrors. On a winter day in the snow, it was cold, deserted and magical.
The church is easily recognisable from a distance, the statues above the door jutting out into the street, but nothing prepares you for the interior. It was built in the 1730s by two architect brothers called Egid Quirin and Cosmas Damian Asam as their private chapel undisturbed by the demands of patrons, town planners or deadlines. Almost inpossible to film or photograph, it is dark, sinister and wildly baroque, full of optical illusions, the decoration covering every square inch of every surface area. The lighting is peculiar, with patches of brightness without any obvious source, the perspectives slightly odd so that as you walk along the aisle everything changes subliminally and, seen out of the corner of your eye, the statues appear to move.
Sendlinger Strasse 32.
The Alte Pinakothek offers a very profound overview of the Old Masters which ranges from the 14th to the 18th century. There are paintings by Dürer, Rubens, Tintoretto, Brueghel and others on display. Designed by the Bavarian mid-19th-century architect Leo von Klenze for King Ludwig I, the building itself was exemplary for European museum buildings in the 19th century.
Closed on Mondays, just €1 entrance fee on sundays.
The museum is the centre of the Munich "Kunstareal", the "art quarter", where you can find a lot of other museums (eg the two other "Pinakotheken") as you can see on the recommended homepage.
A 150-year-old market hall, which was demolished in 1914 but rebuilt and reopened in September 2005. Not only food, but also handmade clothing, soaps and other handcrafts. There are a lot of restaurants (Bavarian, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese), bars and cafes. A nice and felicitous mixture of modern glass and classic cast-iron architecture.
The new Jewish Centre (museum, synagogue and community centre) is just steps away.
The Schranne is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Everyday there are concerts (classical, jazz, rock, world) and other cultural events (like exhibitions, readings and performances).
I suggest you first take a walk around the most popular and picturesque market, the Viktualienmarkt, then explore the Schranne, and, as a cosy end, get a nice glass of beer in the "Pschorr". This is a bavarian beer cellar and restaurant you'll find on the northern end of the Schranne.
www.schrannenhalle.de; Der Pschorr, Viktualienmarkt 15, 80331 München
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