Facts about the Glockenspiel in Munich - part of one of the world's most delightful clocks.
At 11am and midday (and 5pm between March and October) the Munich Glockenspiel recounts a royal wedding, jousting tournament and ritualistic dance - all events which have etched a mark on Munich’s popular folklore.
It's two levels play out
scenes from Munich's
history. Nagy / Presseamt
The top level recounts the 1568 wedding of Duke Wilhelm V (1548-1626) and Renata of Lorraine (1544–1602), one of the most expensive and downright decadent weddings of the Middle Ages.
THE GROOM: Wilhelm V's wedding
is played out on the Munich Glockenspiel.
A well-named bloke called Caspar Nothaft von Wernberg zu Alhaming was declared the overall winner.
He’d reportedly “injured several fingers on his left hand, but not before unhorsing four riders”.
The Munich Glockenspiel shows a Bavarian knight battling a French jouster and as you'd expect the Bavarian always wins.
The groom, Wilhelm V, became famous as the man who founded the famous Hofbrauhaus, and rather infamous for leading massive witch hunts across his domain.
On the lower level you can see the red-coated city’s coopers (barrel makers) do a ritualistic jig known as the Schäfflertanz. The dance is popularly thought to have begun in the devastating plague year of 1517, but it actually dates back further.
Legend says the coopers started the dance to give Munich’s residents the all-clear that the plague was done and dusted. The Bavarian duke Wilhelm IV ordered the dance be re-enacted every seven years to keep the deadly disease in the collective memory.
The next Schäfflertanz, performed by guys in the same old-fashioned get up, will be in February 2019! You can see a couple of cooper statues in more detail at the entrance to Schäffler Strasse, west of the Marienhof park at the back of the Neues Rathaus.
There’s also a mini-show at 9pm, when two figures appear from the bays below the clock face. On one side there’s the Angel of Peace blessing the Münchner Kindl, the Munich’s child-monk mascot.
On the other side a night watchman appears, sounding the city curfew on his horn.
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