Remember the museum neighborhood that we stopped by from my last blog? Yes, Munich is a city that filled with history and art, and, for those who are interested with World War II history, the following part will possibly be your treat. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not into war history at all, but somehow when it comes to the city that have such a profound relevance with war and art, I simply cannot resist to do my ‘due diligence’ in order to make this trip much meaningful and worthwhile.
Now leaving the Alte Pinokothek and walk along the Arcisstraße towards to the famous plaza – Königsplatz, now standing in the junction of Arcisstraße and Brienner straße, you are now entering the heart of the most notorious and evil neighborhood during the Third Reich rule, this neighborhood is literally the core of the NZ with all the prominent official buildings and monuments lying along the area, especially, along the Brienner Straße. The first buidling that I am taking you to, is the currently known Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, the Munich Music and Theater School, but before it becomes the school, this is one the significant office for Hitler called „Führerbau“, where the Munich Agreement was signed here in 1938 for the annexation of Sudentenland. Right after WWII, the building was survived from bombing, it was then occupied by the US forces which used as a collecting point for gathering all the stolen art by the NZs, which in turn to be returned to all their country of origins. What intrigued me the most, is the architecture design of the buidling, which, it truly expresses the character of the Third Reich – power, coldness (or ruthless), hardship and unspeakable terror and barbarism, one can simply pick from the details from the atrium, the clean-cut neoclassical-like columns and rustic copper-brown marble staircase, all in upright straight line with absolutely no excessive ornamentation, very unlike the ancient majestic European architectural style that known, the color and materials are earthy, giving the kind of hardship but at the same time, it reflects the power and ambition with the open atrium, just imagine the flag was hanging inside, and the seriousness of the officials that walking around with the stepping sound from their black military boots, it‘s sober and intimidating at the same time. If you are lucky enough to have a visit in Room 15 on the first floor, that‘s where Hitler‘s office located, and according to my research work, the fireplace and the ceiling lamp are original from the former office which still exist until now.
Departing from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München to the left towards the junction of Brienne Straße, now you arrived in another historic evidence of the Third Reich, the ruin site of the former ‚Ehrentempel‘ (English as ‚Temple of honor‘), which used to house the sarcophagi of the 16 members of the party who had been killed in the failed putsch, later after WWII, both temples on each side of the street were destroyed by the US Army as part of the denazification. Walking down to the Brienner Straße towards Karolinenplatz, a new white modern building can be found on your left which apparently stands out from the other old architecture around, that’s because this building is only completed in spring 2015, this relatively new NS Documentation Centre is the museum that recorded the history of the National Socialism in Munich, a multiple floors inside the museum takes you to a terrifying journey of the evolvement of this entire movement starting to the top floor down to the ground floor, clear and vivid with the photos and detailed information that ones will simply mortify by the traumatic and difficult time and history happened in barely half a century ago.
Now leaving the former core of the evil’s neighborhood, let’s turn to something joyous, historic and spectacular, starting with a short walk from the renowned Marienplatz to the Alte Peter, one of the oldest church in Munich, then walk up to the 300-step tower and reach the top, there you will experience one of the most spectacular view of the Munich city ever, although it could be an exhausting exercise, it’s still worth a walk after all to see the beauty of the city from high above. Walk back to the ground and have a quick visit at the Viktualienmarkt, a famous market that shows the typical Bavarian daily life with lines of tents that sells fruits, flowers and local handcrafted works, to local delicacies which you can eat round the clock, enjoying the authentic Bavarian life and feel how it looks like.
After some local delight, time to walk off some of your food with some exercise, walk down the Sendlinger Straße and look for another spectacular church on that street, the Asam’s Church (‘Asamkirche’) is the place that one cannot miss, especially for those who loves Baroque interior, the oldest church in Munich built by the Asam brothers during early to mid 18th century, the spectacular details of the interior and the fresco art that reflects the holy spirit are astonishing beautiful, you may simply wondered how these can be created so impeccably with such refined details that those artisans have spent their time and effort to achieve this magnificent work.
When I came to a city, I simply like to find some history of it, that makes no difference when I came to Munich, if you have the same kind of thought and having an eager to discover the history of Munich, then Münchner Stadtmuseum is the perfect place for you to go, only about 10 minutes walk from the Asam Church, the museum situates on the Sankt Jakobs Platz, showcases the history of the birth of this significant Bavarian city, how it evolves through religion, monarch ruled, and the typical Municher’s daily life in the past, from their household living, the difficult period of moving houses even the entertainment for children, it’s a very interesting discovery for those who are intrigue with Munich the city and the people. Right next to the Münchner Stadtmuseum, you can find a very understated museum which is the Nationalsozialismus in München, this one of course, is another history about the city which during the dark ages under the Third Reich ruling period, this small museum (which the fare will be included in the ticket of the Münchner Stadtmuseum upon purchase) showcases even more artifacts about the National Socialism, such as photos, the uniforms, some of the documents and publications, for those who are interested with WWII history, this museum will definitely be informative and at the same time, modifying when ones read the story panel after panel, the terrifying and sad history that leaves such a deep trauma and scar in the city as well as the people’s memory, which becomes a constant reminder of the significance of humanity, compassion and peace.
Yes, Munich is truly an incredibly beautiful city with so many places that waiting for us to discover, I can keep on going but I believe I have marked the period for this Munich special for now. During my journey, I learnt that the new motto of Munich is “Munich loves you”, well, I have a respond to this beautiful city too: ‘München, ich liebe dich auch.’
To my dear readers, please do not hesitate to share with me about Munich if you have any special or interesting places that you have visited before, which, I haven’t mention in this and previous blog post about Munich, please leave a comment, will be great to hear your story and experience.