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München

picture of the Munich skyline

Munich was founded in 1158 by Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony and of Bavaria near a settlement (Munichen) that was established in Carolingian times. In 1255 it was chosen as the residence of the Wittelsbach family, the dukes of Bavaria and in 1506 became the capital of the dukedom.

During the Thirty Years War, Munich was occupied in 1632 by Gustavus II of Sweden. In 1806 the city was made capital of the kingdom of Bavaria. Under the kings Ludwig I (1825-48), Maximilian II (1848-64) and Ludwig II (1864-86) , Munich became a cultural and artistic center, and it played a leading role in the development of 19th- and 20th-century German painting.

After World War I the city was the scene of considerable political unrest. Munich became the headquarters of the Nazi party, which in 1933 took control of the German national government.
Munich was badly damaged during World War II, but after 1945 it was extensively rebuilt and many modern buildings were constructed.

The skyline of Munich is not very high and it is told that the height limit on buildings was limited to the height of the fire engines. The skyline of Munich is dominated by churchspires.(see picture above)


The Munich Olympics


The Munich Games, the first in Germany since Hitler used the 1936 Berlin Olympics to showcase his view of Aryan physical supremacy, were intended to spotlight the country as a democratic, peace-loving nation that could play the gracious host to guests from around the world.

But today it will also be remembered for the terrorist attack on the Olympic Village which ended, after a failed resque attempt , in the death of the 11 hostages and five terrorists.

The controversial decision was made "that the games must go on".

My memories of the event are the feeling of shock and the sound of helicopters.


The Munich Oktoberfest

inside a beer-tent


Every year the Oktoberfest takes place during the last week of September at the Theresienwiese ("Wies'n") at the foot of the statue of Bavaria and officially starts when "o'zapft is"( when the first barrel is tapped). There is also the parade of the breweries with horse-drawn wagen loaded with beer barrels, as they arrive at the Theresienwiese.

Each brewery has their own large "bierzelt" on "the Wies'n". Two well-known names are "Löwenbräu" and "Paulaner".
The Oktoberfest is one of largest festival in Europe (the world?) and every year attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.

statue of bavaria


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