Many come to watch the Glockenspiel, an animated clock in the tower of the square’s dominant Neue Rathaus (New City Hall). Others are meeting friends, bopping to buskers, open-air dining, shopping or simply passing by.
IN THE MIDDLE: Me at the square.
THE "FRONT ROOM": Munich's main
square has always been a hive of acitivty.
FISHY BUSINESS: The Fish Fountain
was the scene
of a bizarre initiation ceremony. Now it's a place to
hang out and meet friends.
On the eastern side of the square near the Neues Rathaus sits the Fischbrunnen (Fish Fountain). It’s Munich’s most famous and oldest fountain - some believe it goes back as early as the 1300s.
Fishmongers kept their fish fresh in the fountain when this was the piscatorial part of the old market. It was the site of bizarre initiation ceremony called the Metzgersprung (Butcher’s Leap) which took place regularly until 1900 and continues in an altered form to this day.
To round off their schooling, young apprentice butchers were sheathed in nothing but a sheepskin and a calf’s penis hanging from their necks, spun around three times and thrown into the fountain.
Only after suffering through this potentially neurosis-inducing ceremony were they allowed to work as fully fledged butchers. It’s now the city’s most-loved meeting point.
Check out my intereactive map of Marienplatz! You can also see it here
in a larger version.
Phone: 089 23 39 65 50
Location: In the arcade at the bottom of the Neues Rathaus, in the middle.
Directions: Take any S-Bahn or U-Bahn 3 or 6 to Marienplatz.
Destination Munich and Bavaria is the best, most up-to-date and entertaining travel guide to the region - guaranteed.
It gives you full-colour maps, practical information and top tips on how to get the most out of your visit.
It's 227 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)
• Frauenkirche - Munich's grand cathederal with a weird stamp of approval.
• Juliet Statue - A tribute to a star-crossed lover.
• Return to the Munich Attractions main page
• Jump from Marienplatz back to Destination Munich Home
What to do in Munich - multi-day itineraries
Find your perfect Bavarian tour
Munich Oktoberfest photo preview