|Location||Marienplatz (St. Mary’s Square), 80331 Munich, Germany, Europe|
|Getting there||Subway U 3 and U6, subway stop: Marienplatz|
Marienplatz – Mary’s Square, St. Mary, Our Lady’s Square
Marienplatz (Mary’s Square, St. Mary, Our Lady’s Square) is a square in the city center of Munich, Germany. It has been the city’s main square since 1158.
Marienplatz was named after the Mariensaule, a Marian column erected in its center in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation. Today the Marienplatz is dominated by the New City Hall (Neues Rathaus) on the north side, and the Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus, a reconstructed gothic) council hall with a ballroom and tower) on the east side.
The Mariensaule is topped by a golden statue of the Virgin Mary standing on a crescent moon as the Queen of Heaven, created in 1590. The figure was originally located in the Frauenkirche. Mariensaule in Munich was the first column of this type built north of the Alps and inspired erecting other Marian columns in this part of Europe.
In the Middle Ages, markets and tournaments were held in this city square. The Glockenspiel in the tower of the new city hall was inspired by these tournaments and draws millions of tourists a year. Furthermore, the pedestrian zone between Karlsplatz and Marienplatz is a crowded area with numerous shops and restaurants.
At each corner of the column’s pedestal is a statue of a putto, created by Ferdinand Murmann. The four putti are each depicted fighting a different beast, symbolizing the city’s overcoming of adversities: war represented by the lion, pestilence by the cockatrice, hunger or famine by the dragon, and heresy by the serpent.
During Advent, Munich’s oldest traditional Christmas market (“Christkindlmarkt”) takes place here.
The Glockenspiel in the tower balcony of the Neues Rathaus is also world-famous and worth seeing. Since 1908, figurines representing stories from Munich’s history twirl on two levels daily at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. (the 5 p.m. performance doesn’t occur from November through February).
The figures perform the Schäfferltanz or Cooper’s dance, which was originally performed in 1517 at the Marienplatz to commemorate the end of the plague.
- The original Old Town Hall or Altes 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.
- The building was destroyed once again during the Second World War but rebuilt afterward following the original fifteenth-century plans.