EMBLEMATIC: Munich just wouldn't be Munich
without the Frauenkirche! Photo by th0mi.
A symbol of the Devil lurks within Munich’s greatest church.
This cathedral’s two onion-domed towers are so much a part of Munich’s image that they’ve become the symbol of the city.
In fact, no building is allowed to be built higher than their 99m for fear of ruining the city's skyline.
TWILIGHT: The cathederal
looks great at night. Photo by Jametiks
The church was built by Jörg “Ganghofer” Halspach in the then record time of 20 years (1468-1488) and the towers were added 30 years later.
The story goes that the devil agreed to finance the church, provided Halspach built it without windows running down the aisles. When the work was done Halspach led the Devil to a point near the entrance where none of the side windows could be seen – the view was blocked by 22 inner columns.
The Devil threw a tantrum and stamped his foot real hard, leaving a mark that remains to this day. There always seems to be a wind blowing around the church and that’s said to be Satan himself, circling around looking for the side windows.
The Two Towers
By the way, if you’re still wondering from the introduction on the Destination Munich home page, the southern tower is just a little higher than the northern one.
There’s a rumour that the two 99m-tall towers were supposed to be even higher and actually connect at their peak, but the local poo-bahs realised they were running out of money and decided on a slightly less ambitious construction.
Where dead kings rest
Though it’s gothic by design, the church’s interior is shockingly Spartan and looks nothing like the more overtly gothic Neues Rathaus. There are 21 chapels lining the aisles.
Sovereigns from Bavaria’s ruling Wittelsbach clan are interred here, including Ludwig the Bavarian and the last king of the line, Ludwig III, who died in 1923.
The 20th century
Much of the Frauenkirche had to be rebuilt after it was bombed out in World War Two.
The church has been an archbishop’s seat for almost 200 years. Joseph Ratzinger had the job from 1977 to 1982 before becoming Pope Benedict XV.
You can climb the south tower, but frankly, the views are a lot better from the Alter Peter tower at the Peterskirche.
For the life of me I can’t understand how stories like the one about the devil got started, or why someone would choose to put a fake Satan footprint in a church.
Perhaps it was all just a brilliant marketing ploy, whatever, if you step inside only one of Munich’s churches it should be this one.
Location: Frauenplatz 1
Phone: 089 2 90 08 20
Open: The south tower is open to climb May to October, Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.
Cost: Entrance to the south tower: €2
Directions: Take any S-Bahn or U-Bahn 3 or 6 to Marienplatz, scan around when you emerge from the tube, and head for those soaring domes!
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