Often considered the heart of the city, Munich’s Marienplatz is one of the most historic spots in all of Germany. It is defined by the Altes Rauthaus (Old Town Hall) on its east side, and the Neuses Rathaus (New Town Hall) on its north side. Having been the city’s main square since the 1100s, it is now one of the top (if not the top) attractions in Munich, the capital of Bavaria. This post is a guide to Marienplatz, including info on everything you need to know about the famous square.
Possibly the most recognizable landmark in all of Munich, Marienplatz’s New Town Hall is the current home to the Munich city government. The New Town Hall was constructed in the late 19th century, after the Old Town Hall (also located in Marienplatz) was deemed not big enough for the city government. Construction on the eastern section of the building took place from 1867 to 1874, while the western section (including its famous 80+ metre tall tower) was constructed in the early 1900s. As we visited during Christmastime (the bottom right photo was actually taken on Christmas day!), there was a huge Christmas tree in front of the Neuses Rathaus!
The main pull of Munich’s New Town Hall is its Glockenspiel, which re-enacts two 16th century stories for huge crowds everyday at 11am and 5pm (plus 12pm in the summer). Its shows last about 15 minutes, and end with a golden rooster chirping three times to signify the show’s ending.
The other well known building in Marienplatz is Munich’s Old Town Hall, the former home to Munich’s government. This building was built back in the late 1400s and was used as home to the city government until the late 1800s. Old Town Hall is now mostly a tourist attraction, due to the many historic events that happened there. The photo on the left was taken from the top of St. Peter’s church, which is located just outside of Marienplatz, which I would definitely recommend going up if you’re looking for some great views of the square and the entire city!
Mary’s Column, located in the middle of Marienplatz, was constructed in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation in Munich in the thirty years’ war. It is topped with a statue of Virgin Mary; and surrounded by four puttis on each of the column’s corners, which symbolize the city overcoming war, pestilence, hunger, and heresy. Mary’s Column is sometimes considered the topographical centre of Bavaria.
Dating back to the Middle Ages, Marienplatz’s Fish Fountain (top right) was partially destroyed in the second world war but rebuilt after the war. Located in front of New Town Hall’s entrance, it is often used as a meeting place for people throughout Munich and Bavaria. I also took this photo from the top of St. Peter’s church, showing how great the view from the church is!
During the holiday season, Marienplatz hosts a huge Christmas market throughout the square and the streets surrounding it. It is open from November 27th to December 24th every year, and it is one of the most well known Christmas markets in the world. Throughout the market, you’ll find many festive gifts, souvenirs, and treats, from famous mulled wine to stunning wood carved ornaments. My family and I arrived in Munich on Christmas Eve, aka the day the market closes, so luckily we were able to make it to the market before it closed and check out all of the cool things that they sell there!
That’s it for my post about Marienplatz. I hope you enjoyed my first post about my recent trip! Have you ever been to Marienplatz? If so, what was your favourite thing you saw there? If not, what would you be most excited to see there?
Thanks for reading.