Discover the Munich backstory -
rich, turbulent and fascinating
As far as European cities go, Munich still has a slingshot hanging out of his short pants.
It’s young. In 2008 locals celebrated the city’s 850th birthday. “That’s not young” you say?
Consider that London and Paris go back 2,000 years, and cities like Rome and Athens were founded much, much earlier.
But what’s amazing about Munich is its depth. In under nine centuries it’s developed a unique culture that’s recognised all over the world.
Munich Backstory is your portal for exploring the city’s society, traditions and history.
It’s where you can go behind the scenes and get a little under the skin of this beautiful, folkloric city of monks, beer and art.
• German Christmas Traditions
- A brief, illustrated guide to what makes Chrismtas unique in Germany.
• Mark Twain's essay on German
- A hillarious look at struggling with the German language from one of the best writers of all time.
Sophie Scholl and the White Rose
They count among post-war Germany’s greatest heroes. The dared to stand up to Hitler and use words fight back against a system they knew was corrupt.
Who were Sophie Scholl and the White Rose? Q and A, biographies and a suggested self-guided walking tour.
• Read here: Sophie Scholl and the White Rose
and White Rose walking tour
Remembering the Munich Massacre
The dream of a “serene games” came crashing down when Palestinian terrorists took Israeli athletes hostage at the Munich Olympics in 1972. An extensive, illustrated article with questions and answers, quotes, a sequence of events, tributes to the victims and the memorials in Munich today.
• Read here: Munich Massacre 1972
and Munich Massacre victims
20 Facts on Germany
So, you think you've got a pretty good knowledge of all things Deutschland
? You might be surprised at one or two of the facts on this illustrated list about the country famed for its efficiency, supermodels and bratwurst.
• Read here: 20 Facts on Germany
On any given day thousands of people will stop to watch the figurines dance above Munich’s central square, Marienplatz.
It’s part of the Munich Glockenspiel, one of the world’s most bombastic cuckoo clocks. So what’s the big deal?
Here’s the story behind the figurines - the wedding of a century, the jousting on Marienplatz and the dance that celebrated the plague’s demise.
• Read the backstory of the Munich Glockenspiel
We're hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest ocean but that doesn't stop the surfers - Munich's dedicated wave riders have found a couple of spots to cut the breakers on standing waves in the heart of the city. Find out how here.
• Read the backstory of Surfing Munich.
Just where exactly is Bavaria?
Wondering about the geography of Germany's prettiest province?
Here are 8 fast facts about the famous region of which Munich is the capital, plus a few other surprising tidbits.
• Read the backstory of Where is Bavaria
52 ways to act like a local
What do “real” Munich people do?
This story lists 52 purely Munich experiences. From getting nude in a park to setting up a maypole and jogging in a graveyard, here are some ideas if you want to feel like you’re really a part of the city.
• Read the backstory of 52 Ways
Communist Munich - a reign of chaos
Did you know Munich was the capital of the world’s second soviet republic?
In the dying days of World War One socialist Kurt Eisner led a revolution that ended the monarchy.
It caused one of the bloodiest episodes in Munich’s history. Find out what this memorial has to do with it.
• Read the backstory of Communist Munich
The "Munich beauty" - Who was she?
The most famous face in Munich’s Schönheitengalerie (Gallery of Beauties) belongs to the young Helene Sedlmayr.
A lower-class girl, she caught the eye of king and was immortalised forever. Get the story behind the face and the stereotype it created.
• Read the backstory of
Munich Loves You - the city in slogans
Munich has survived more identity swaps in the last 850 years than I change beer mugs in a session at the Hofbräuhaus.
This story traces the story of the city by looking at the many names it's had.
• Read the backstory of Munich Loves You
Oktoberfest history - how the party started
This year marks 200 years since the Oktoberfest first had Munich jumping.
Yes, 2010 is the anniversary of the event, but only the 177th festival due to the occasional cancellation.
What better time to take a look back and see how it all began?
• Read the backstory of Oktoberfest History
Munich beer background
Former Munich resident Karl Marx wasn’t kidding around when he declared beer to be the “staple food of Munich”. The Germans even classify beer as food for tax purposes making for wonderfully reasonable prices – beer is cheaper than cola or bottled water just about everywhere you go.
• Read more at Munich Beer background.
Munich Agreement 1938
The Munich Agreement is known as one of the biggest acts of appeasement of the 20th century. What happened, and why was it so important to Hitler's ill-fated plans for Europe? Here are questions and answers.
• Read more at Munich Agreement 1938
Dirndl and Lederhosen
Some consider them sexy, others think they're just plain silly. Whatever your opinion, Bavaria's traditional costumes are pretty much impossible to miss.• Read more about the beautiful dresses called Dirndls at German Dirndl.
• Read more about the leather pants at Traditional German Lederhosen.
There are also extra photo galleries linked to these stories, do check them out!
Munich Olympics Posters
It's hard not to think of the Munich Massacre when talk comes to the Munich Olympics of 1972. But the games were meant to be so much more than that. Here's a retrospective on some of the wonderfully retro posters used at the "Happy Games".
• Munich Olympics Posters
Every once in a while a book comes along that changes your life.
Until it does, please consider buying Destination Munich and Bavaria, the grooviest, most informative guide on the market :-)
It'll give you full-colour maps, practical info and hundreds of tips on how to get the most out of your visit.
It's 285 pages of up-to-the-minute travel intelligence and it can be yours as an eBook for less than the price of an Oktoberfest beer. (read on
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