Archive for the ‘Munich’ Category

It’s Spelled “Munchen” in Germany

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

It’s the second day in Munich (spelled “Munchen” in Germany…why do English-speakers have to mess with other countries’ names???) and I’m doing my walkabout around the venue.  I am told I only have an hour and a half at this point before mic check today, so it’s a race to see how much I can find within an hour!  I see a park just beyond the buses, so off I go!  Since the church steeples are usually easy to spot above everything else, that’s usually what I find, and today is no exception.

St. Nicolai was first built in 1315 in Gothic style only to go for baroque three centuries later.  To the right of the main church is its Lorettokapelle or Loreto Chapel.  (A Loreto Chapel (also Loretto Chapel, but not to be confused with the famous Loretto Chapel in Sante Fe, New Mexico), or Maria Loreto is a replica of Santa Casa of the revered Holy Family of Nazareth. According to legend, the Loreto Chapels should have released angels from Nazareth to Loreto in the 13th Century.

Loreto chapels were built in the German-speaking world since the 16th century – often as the foundations of aristocratic pilgrims after their return from a pilgrimage Loreto. However, they were also a means of counter-reformation, and its construction was among others supported by the Jesuits.

Along the outter walls of the chapel are ‘Stations of the Cross’ made of Nymphenburg porcelain.  Here are some which moved me most…

Just up from the park and church sits a building right on the Isar River.  Muellersches Volksbad is Munich’s first public bath-house (translated as Mueller’s Public Baths), donated by Karl Mueller.

This wealthy engineer gave 5 houses to the city, which boasted a combined value of about 1.8 million gold marks. Mueller’s only stipulation was that the money be used to build an attractive swimming pool that could be enjoyed by the citizens of Munich. The city government abided by his wishes.  Müllersches Volksbad is a beautiful Art Nouveau swimming pool, as well as many spas, in a very impressive building!  Construction started in 1897 and it was completed in 1901.

I crossed the bridge just after the bathhouse, and to my right, in the distance, I THINK I see the “angel statue” that I see in so many Munich pictures.  But of course, I don’t know if I’ll make it to that point within an hour, so I take this picture just in case, and thank goodness I did because I couldn’t find the darn thing later!!!

Here’s a close-up from the same photo…

The Angel of Peace is a monument in Munich district of Bogenhausen and a part of the Maximilian Park. The foundation stone was laid on 10 May 1896, which was ceremoniously unveiled on July 16, 1899. The sculpture of gilded bronze was a collaborative effort of artist Heinrich Duell, George Pezold and Max Heilmaier. The Corinthian style pillar stands 38 meters high. It is a replica of the Nike of Paionios. The Angel of Peace is reminiscent of the 25 peaceful years after the Franco-German War of 1870-71.  The monument features the portraits of the German Emperor Wilhelm I, Frederick III., Wilhelm II, the Imperial Chancellor Otto von Bismarck and the generals Helmuth von Moltke, von Roon, Ludwig von der Tann, Jakob von Hartmann, and Siegmund of Pranckh. In the hall of the temple are gold mosaics, representing the allegories of war and peace, victory and blessing for the culture.

I wish I could have found the statue to really see it, but as I only had an hour I had to prioritize, and since I couldn’t FIND it, I had to stick with the stuff I could SEE…

Below are pictures of a few buildings on the water, and I want to interject here that God had nudged me a few days ago to draw my attention to all the leafless winter trees around me and around all the sites I’ve been taking pictures of.  He was letting me know that if He had sent me to all these sites at any other time of year, my pictures would not be half as clear as they are, due to all the lush trees that would hide the buildings.  Even though I’m sure God loves to show His children the beautiful nature and lands He has created, God knows I’m into old buildings vs rolling hills:)  So thank you, God, that You have given me this opportunity to take such clear shots of these amazing historical structures!  I encourage you, dear newsletter readers, to go back through the newsletters and see how many pictures have leafless trees all-up-in-them!!!

So back to the wonderful, leafless, nameless buildings on my walk by the river…

Though signless, I think the above is a government building and the below is a church.

After I crossed the Isar River, I looked to the right and there was the Maximilianeum.  JACKPOT!!!  :)

It was built as the home of a gifted students´ foundation and has also housed the Bavarian Landtag (state parliament) since 1949.  The principal was King Maximilian II of Bavaria, who started the project in 1857.  The building is situated on the bank of the Isar river at the Maximilian Bridge and marks the eastern end of the Maximilianstrasse, one of Munich’s royal avenues.

The back if the building was extended for new parliament offices-several modern wings were added in 1958, 1964, and 1992.  The leading architect was Friedrich Bürklein.

If you look toward the bottom of the structure, you see the beginning of the neo-Gothic Maximilianstraße, one of four royal avenues. It starts at Max-Joseph-Platz, where the Residenz and the National Theatre are situated, and runs from west to east.  I assume the Maximilianeum is at the east end, since I didn’t see anything beyond it, and I don’t think I would have missed the platz/residenz/theatre!  King Maximilian II of Bavaria started the project of the MaximilianstraBe in 1850 and, for this, the avenue is named in his honor.  The leading architect was also Friedrich Bürklein.

With this project, the king also aimed to “invent” a new architectural style which would combine the best features of historical models combined with then modern building technology.

The avenue is framed by mostly neo-Gothic buildings influenced by the English Perpendicular style.  Walking west, down the Maximilianstraße, I find two buildings facing each other across the street.  This building to the right is called Regierung Von Oberbayern.  It represents the government of Upper Bavaria, also called the District Government, one of 7 governments in Bavaria and 32 district governments in Germany.  The leading architect was Friedrich Bürklein…apparently he was quite popular and talented!

To my left is the Völkerkundemuseum (Museum of Ethnology, built by Eduard Riedel, 1858-1865) and the building of the Wilhelmsgymnasium (built by Carl Leimbach, 1875-1877).  With its extensive collection of art and artifacts from all over the world it ranks as one of the principal museums of its kind in Europe.  Having begun as a collection of curios assembled in the 16th C. by the Dukes and Electors of Bavaria, the museum started to develop in its present form during the reign of Ludwig II, when all the items of non-European origin were placed together in a separate gallery of their own.

East Asia, West and Central Africa and South America (especially Peru) are particularly well represented in the museum, as well as one of the foremost collections of pre-Columbian textiles in Europe. German archeologists were busily excavating tombs in the Peruvian highlands at the end the 19th C. when these textiles were discovered.

My last stop before heading back to the venue was at the Maxmonument, between the Maximilianeum and the above buildings I described on the avenue.  Also known as Max II Memorial, it is dedicated to King Maximilian II of Bavaria and was sculpted by Kaspar von Zumbusch.

The king is depicted in his coronation robes, looking towards the west, in his right hand he holds the constitutional charter, while his left hand rests on a sword. Four seated figures on the lower part of the pedestal are allegorical representations of virtues. A young man with a palm branch and cornucopia symbolizes peace and love – a woman with a book and sword of justice -  strength is represented by a man with a helmet, sword, and lions – wisdom is represented by a woman with a torch.  Hmmmmmm, playing with fire is wisdom?…I’m SMART!

Well!  Not bad for about an hour, hug?!  But, tick tock tick tock…15 minutes til I gotta be back at The Gasteig, our very impressive venue for this evening’s show. The exterior of this monumental complex hardly reveals its dedication to the arts, especially to the most evanescent of these, music.  Gasteig hosts the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. The Gasteig comprises the Carl Orff Hall including a stage for drama, the Richard Strauss Conservatory, the Black Box studio theatre, the Münchner Volkshochschule (Adult Education Centre) offering its own advisory service for further education, various cafés and shops, e.g. the ‘Pappnase’ (cardboard nose) offering a selection of dramatic requisites, and the central branch of the Municipal Library with its extensive stock of books and periodicals.  Most of the events of the Filmfest of Munich take place here as well.

The Philharmonic Hall, opening out like a great wood-panelled seashell, has a intimate atmosphere and excellent acoustic qualities.

Philharmonic Hall is the permanent home of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and the largest concert hall in Munich.

I sang some “wailin’ notes” during mic check, just to experience the awesome accoustics of this hall.  It was really fabulous!

We had a great show this evening, a really responsive crowd.  The worst part of the evening was that there were no showers.  Ugh.  But at least we were on our way to a hotel the next day, complete with showers…in Hungary!  Yay, our third country stop on the tour!  We are playing next in Szeged and I’m really looking forward to satisfying my curiosity as to whether it’s a change of scenery between Germany and Hungary.

God bless you all!


I Took The Train To Munich

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

On our two days off, we stayed at the Domicil Hotel in Puncheim, Germany.  The first day off, my roommate Latosha and I  exercised our tradition of sleeping from morning till dark (4ish), then I read, chilled in the room, did my nails…normal 1st day off ritual.  On the second day, I took the train to Munich with our bassist Carl, guitarist Ritchie, and fabulous front house sound guy Barry.  On our Puncheim walk to the train, I noticed a few funny things…

Bad call, ducks.  Bad call.

At the train station, we saw multitudes of bicycles parked all around.  If you look beyond these bikes to the store beyond…

it’s a bike store!  How convenient!

Me at the train stop…

So Barry and I didn’t realize (until we were transferring in the subway) that Carl and Ritchie were taking us to the BMW Museum.  Now, I didn’t have a specific agenda, because I like to wander, but…the BMW Museum?  Not what I had in mind (please reference my confused shot below, in front of the museum).

But luckily, the Olympiapark was literally up the hill from the museum!  Barry and I got them to look through this place first…great compromise!  The Olympiapark in Munich, Germany, is an Olympic Park which was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics. Found in the area of Munich known as the “Oberwiesenfeld” (“upper meadow-field”), the Park continues to serve as a venue for cultural, social, and religious events such as events of worship.

The Olympiaturm has an overall height of 291m and a weight of 52,500 tons. It has an observation platform as well as a small rock and roll museum housing various memorabilia. Since its opening in 1968 the tower has registered over 35 million visitors (as of 2004). There is also a revolving restaurant that seats 230 people. A full revolution takes 53 minutes. The tower has one Deutsche Telekom maintenance elevator with a speed of 4 m/s, as well as two visitor lifts with a speed of 7 m/s which have a capacity of about 30 people per car. The travel time is about 30 seconds.

The Olympia Schwimmhalle became an integral part of Olympic History when the US Swimmer Mark Spitz won 7 Gold Medals there during the 1972 Munich Games. The venue also saw significant success by the young Women’s Team of the DDR, which was later found, though the matter was essentially an open secret, to be the result of an extensive Doping Program!  One notable feature of the Munich Schwimmhalle is the way in which the cobbled paths leading to the venue continue under the canopy as far as the top of the seating area, thus creating the genuine impression of walking in off the street to one’s seat. The venue is available both to Swimming Teams and also to the public.

We were walking along one of the park paths, back towards the BMW Museum, and I saw this adorable doggy rootin’ through the snow.  Here he is, caught white nosed…

And here we are heading back to the BMW Museum, which is enclosed in the left building, though the right building is also a part of the BMW property.  Maybe the plant?

Since Barry and I weren’t too into examining all the BMW models and EPCOTish interactive exhibits, I dragged him into a funny photo shoot with me!  Here I am below, contemplating whether or not I’m gonna be a rebel and board the bike…

Hmmmmmmmmmmm, should I?…

OK, done!  Woooooo-hoooooooooo!  OH yeah, it ain’t no coincidence this bike and my hair are the same color:)P

Then the BMW guard caught me blue-handed.  We dualed.  I lost.  I said I was sorry.  But I wasn’t really:)

Yay!  We finally found the train to Marionplaz (St. Mary, Our Lady’s Square)!!!  The escalator out of the subway delivered us into this momma of a building…this is only half the building!  No matter how far I backed up, I couldn’t fit it all into the camera lens!  I’m in this shot, to the right of the fountain.

Here’s the other half of the Munich Rauthaus (Munich City Hall).  The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) is a town hall at the northern part of Bavaria/Germany. It hosts the city government including the city council, offices of the mayors and part of the administration. It was built between 1867 and 1908 by Georg von Hauberrisser in a Gothic Revival architecture style and has 400 rooms.

Here I am bonding with one of the first floor gargoyles inside the Neues Rauthaus courtyard…

Outside city hall, the large column at the center of the square is known as the Column of St. Mary (Mariensäule). It was erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of the Swedish invasion.  At each corner of the column’s pedestal is a statue of a putti, created by Ferdinand Murmann. The four putti’s symbolize the city’s overcoming of war, pestilence, hunger and heresy.

The statue is topped by a gilded statue of Virgin Mary which was sculpted earlier, in 1590 by Hubert Gerhard.

Right near the Neues Rathaus is a small fountain, the Fischbrunnen or Fish Fountain. Originally designed by sculptor Konrad Knoll in 1864, the fountain was completely destroyed during World War II. It was rebuilt in 1954.

The original Old Town Hall orAltes Rathaus was completely destroyed by fire in 1460. Between 1470 and 1480, the old town hall was rebuilt in Gothic style by Jörg von Halsbach (who was also responsible for the Frauenkirche).

The building was completely destroyed again during the second world war, but rebuilt afterwards following the original 15th century plans.

Hey, I didn’t know Christ had a store in Munich!

Next stop, the two-towered church, called the Cathedral of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) which is the cathedral church of the archbishop of Munich and Freising and regarded as the symbol of the Bavarian state capital. Contrary to popular legend, which says that the two towers, with their distinctive hoods, differ by exactly one meter in height, they are almost identical: the north tower measures 98.57 meters, the south tower, however, only 98.45 meters. Since November 2004, the city council allowed no buildings within the Middle Ring to be built higher than 100 meters, therefore the towers are visible from very far away. The south tower can be climbed and offers a unique view of Munich and the nearby Alps.

The church can fit about 20,000 people in standing room, which is astounding when you consider that the town only had about 13,000 inhabitants in the late 15th Century.

There is a legend, which is connected with a footprint in a square plate in the entrance of the nave, called Teufelstritt.

When a church was built in Munich, the devil wanted to destroy it immediately. So when this church was completed but not yet ordained, the devil crept through the great door of the hall. He thought the layout was very curious and began to laugh heartily, as he saw there were no windows (which was because he was standing exactly in the middle of the foyer where the sanctuary pillars conceal all the side windows).  See below:

With triumphant joy he stamped on the ground, leaving the footprint in the pavement and left the house of God, seeing no reason to destroy an uninspiring, windowless church! After the church was ordained and opened the devil saw that people flocked to the new church. He then discovered from the outside that the church indeed had windows. When he realized that he had made a mistake, he transformed himself into a fierce wind raging anger in an attempt to bring the building crashing down. He did not succeed.

Finally, the three men went shoe shopping…while the woman waited for them.  Funny!

We had a great day off in Munich…I’m glad I went, because though I took so many pictures the following day (today!), I wouldn’t have taken the same ones from this day, and I feel very blessed to have to make you TWO newsletters from this fabulous city.  Stay tuned!