1902 Encyclopedia > Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Munich, Bavaria, Germany

MUNICH (in German, München), the capital of the kingdom of Bavaria and the fourth largest town in the German empire, is situated in an elevated and barren plain to the north of the Bavarian Alps, in 48° 8' N. lat. and 11° 35' E. long. Owing to its lofty site (1700 feet above the sea) and the proximity of the Alps the climate is rather changeable, and its mean annual temperature, 49° to 50° Fahr., is little higher than that of many places much farther to the north. The annual rainfall is stated at nearly 30 inches. The situation of Munich is devoid of physical advantages, and the surrounding district is in no way remarkable for its wealth, but the construction of roads and railways has counterbalanced the lack of natural highways, while the central position of the town makes it easy of access from all parts of Europe.
Munich is divided into nineteen municipal districts, fourteen of which, including the old town, lie on the left bank of the small river Isar, while the suburban districts of Au, Haidhausen, Giesing, and Ramersdorf are on the opposite bank. The old town, still containing many narrow and irregular streets, forms a semicircle with its diameter towards the river, while round its periphery has sprung up the greater part of modern Munich, including the handsome Maximilian and Ludwig districts. The wall with which Munich was formerly surrounded has been pulled down, but some of the gates have been left standing. The most interesting of these is the Isar Thor, restored in 1835 and adorned with modern frescos. The Sieges Thor or gate of victory is a modern imitation of the arch of Constantine at Rome, while the stately Proi^ylaea is a reproduction of the gates of the Athenian Acropolis.

At the beginning of the present century Munich was in no way distinguishable from the crowd of second-rate German towns, but since the accession of Louis I. in 1825 it has undergone a metamorphosis of the most remarkable character. This splendour-loving prince devoted himself heart and soul to the embellishment of his "residence," and his successors have followed in his footsteps with such zeal that Munich is now almost unrivalled for archi-tectural magnificence among the smaller capitals of Europe, while its collections of art entitle it to rank alongside of Dresden and Berlin. Most of the modern buildings have been erected after celebrated prototypes of other countries and eras, so that, as has been said by Carriere, a walk through Munich affords a picture of the architecture and art of two thousand years. The want of local colouring is perhaps a blemish in this "museum of architecture," and it has also been objected that the prevailing uniformity of surface in the buildings does not produce sufficient contrast of light and shade. In carrying out his plans Louis I. was ably seconded by the architect Klenze, while the external decorations of painting and sculpture were mainly designed by Cornelius, Kaulbach, and Schwanthaler.

A large proportion of the most notable buildings in Munich are in two streets, the Ludwigstrasse and the Maximilianstrasse, the creations of the monarchs whose names they bear. The former, three-quarters of a mile long and 60 yards wide, chiefly contains buildings in the Renaissance style by Gartner. The most striking of these are the palaces of Duke Max and Prince Luitpold; the Odeon, a large building for concerts, adorned with frescos and marble busts; the war office; the royal library, in the Florentine Pala-tial style ; the blind asylum ; the Ludwigskirche, a success-ful reproduction of the Italian Romanesque style, containing a huge fresco of the Last Judgment by Cornelius; and, lastly, the university. At one end this street is terminated by the above-mentioned Sieges Thor, while at the other is the Feldherrnhalle or hall of the marshals, a copy of the Loggia dei Lanzi at Florence, containing statues of Tilly and Wrede. Adjacent is the church of the Theatines, an imposing though somewhat over-ornamented example of the Italian Rococo style; it contains the royal burial-vaults. In the Maximilianstrasse, which extends from Haid-hausen on the right bank of the Isar to the Max-Joseph Platz, King Maximilian II. tried to introduce an entirely novel style of domestic architecture, formed by the com-bination of older forms. At the east end it is closed by the Maximilianeum, an extensive and imposing edifice for the instruction of civil servants, adorned externally with large sculptural groups and internally with huge paintings representing the chief scenes in the history of the world. Descending the street towards the west we pass in succes-sion the national museum, the new gymnasium, the pro-vincial government buildings for Upper Bavaria (in which the composite style, of Maximilian has been most consistently carried out), and the mint. On the north side of the Max-Joseph Platz lies the royal palace, an extensive building, consisting of the Alte Residenz, the Konigsbau, and the Festsaalbau. The old palace, dating from 1601 to 1616, was designed by Peter Candid, and was formerly considered a very fine building. The apartments are handsomely fitted up in the Rococo style, and the private chapel and the trea-sury contain numerous interesting and valuable obj ects. The Festsaalbau, erected by Klenze in the Italian Renaissance style, is profusely adorned with mural paintings and sculptures, while the Konigsbau, a reduced copy of the Pitti Palace, contains a series of admirable frescos from the Niebelungenlied by Schnorr. Adjoining the palace are two theatres, the Residenz or private theatre, and the handsome Hoftheater, the largest theatre in Germany, accommodating 2500 spectators. The Allerheiligen-Hof-kirche or court-church is a tasteful little edifice in the Byzantine style with a Romanesque facade, somewhat recalling St Mark's at Venice.

The Ludwigstrasse and the Maximilianstrasse both end at no great distance from the Marien Platz in the centre of the old town. Here stands the Frauenkirche, the cathedral-church of the archbishop of Munich-Freising, with its lofty cupola-capped towers dominating the whole town. Though scarcely a pleasing piece of architecture, it is imposing from its size, and interesting as one of the few examples of indigenous Munich art. On other sides of this square are the old town-house, restored in 1865, and the new town-house, the latter a handsome modern Gothic erection, freely embellished with statues, frescos, and stained-glass windows. The column in the centre of the square was erected to commemorate the defeat of the Protestants near Prague in the Thirty Years' War (1638).

Among the other churches of Munich—the town contains about forty in all—the chief place is perhaps due to St Boniface's, an admirable copy of an early Christian basilica. It is adorned with a cycle of religious paintings by Hess, and the dome is supported by sixty-four mono-liths of grey Tyrolese marble. The new parish church of Au, in the Early Gothic style, contains gigantic stained-glass windows and some excellent wood-carving; and the church of St John in Haidhausen is another fine Gothic structure. St Michael's, in the Renaissance style, erected for the Jesuits in 1583 to 1595, contains the monument of Eugene Beauharnais by Thorwaldsen. The facade is divided into stories, and the general effect is by no means ecclesiastical. St Peter's is interesting as the oldest church in Munich (12th century), though no trace of the original basilica remains. One of the two Protestant churches is also a tasteful Gothic building.

The valuable collections of Munich, in virtue of which it ranks among the art-centres of Europe, are enshrined in handsome and appropriate buildings, most of them in the new Maximilian suburb on the north side of the town. The old Pinakothek, erected by Klenze in 1826-1836 and somewhat resembling the Vatican, is embellished externally with frescos by Cornelius and statues of twenty-four celebrated painters by Schwanthaler. It contains a very valuable and extensive collection of pictures by the earlier masters, the chief treasures being the early German and Flemish works and the unusually numerous examples of Rubens. It also affords accommodation to 300,000 engravings, 10,000 draw-ings, and a large collec-tion of vases. Opposite stands the new Pina-kothek, the frescos on which, designed by Kaulbach, already show the effects of wind and weather. It is devoted to works by painters of the present century, among which Rottmann's Greek landscapes are per-haps the most important. The Glyptothek, a building by Klenze in the Ionic style and adorned with several groups and tingle statues, contains a valuable series of sculp-tures, extending from Assyrian and Egyptian monuments down to works by Rauch, Thor-waldsen, and other mo-dern masters. The cele-brated vEginetan marbles preserved here, found in the island of ^Egina in 1811, are perhaps the most important remains of archaic Greek sculpture. Opposite the Glyp-tothek stands the exhibi-tion building, in the Corinthian style, used for periodic exhibitions of art. Munich also con-tains several important private galleries, among which is Count Schack's unequalled collection of modern German pic-tures. The Kaulbach museum contains a selec-tion of the pictures and sketches left by the painter of that name ; and a collection has also been made of the models of Schwanthaler's works.

The scientific collections of Munich are on a par with its galleries of art. The immense collection in the above-mentioned Bavarian national museum, illustrative of the march of progress from the Roman period down to the present day, is superior in completeness and proportion to the similar collections at South Kensington and the Hotel de Cluny. On the walls is a series of well-executed frescos of scenes from Bavarian history, occupying a space of 16,000 square feet. The ethnographical museum, the museum of plaster casts, the cabinet of coins, and the collections of fossils, minerals, and physical and optical instruments are also worthy of mention. The art union, the oldest and most extensive in Germany, possesses good collections of modern works. The chief place among the scientific insti-tutions is due to the Academy of Science, founded in 1759, to which some of the above-mentioned collections belong. The royal library, containing 1,000,000 printed volumes and numerous valuable manuscripts, occupies the third place among the libraries of the world. The antiquarium is a collection of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities in the old palace. The observatory is admirably equipped with fine instruments by the celebrated Fraunhofer.

At the head of the educational institutions of Munich stands the university, founded at Ingolstadt in 1472, removed to Landshut in 1800, and transferred thence to Munich in 1826. It has a staff of about 130 professors and lecturers, and in 1882 was attended by 2183 students. In addition to the four usual faculties there is a fifth, of political economy. In connexion with the university are medical and other schools, a priests' seminary, and a library of 200,000 volumes. The polytechnic institute, contained in a handsome brick edifice, adorned with medallions of celebrated architects, mathematicians, and naturalists, is also attended by a large number of students, Munich contains three gymnasia or grammar-schools, a real-gymnasium, a military academy, a veterinary college, two industrial schools, a commercial school, a school for architects and builders, several normal schools, a conservatory of music, a dramatic training school, and about twenty-five elementary schools. Among the numerous benevolent institutions the most prominent are the asylums for the blind, the deaf and dumb, and the insane, and the general hospital. The general prison in the suburb of Au is considered a model of its kind; and a large military prison has just been erected. Amongst the other public buildings which call for mention are the crystal palace, 765 feet in length, erected for the great exhibition of 1854; the slaughter-houses, covering 9 acres of ground; the Wittelsbach palace, in the Early English Pointed style; the post-office; the arsenal, containing a military museum; the new railway station, the art-industrial in-stitution, the Maximilian barracks, the corn hall, and the aquarium. Among the numerous monuments with which the squares and streets are adorned, the most important are the colossal statue of Maximilian II. in the Maximilianstrasse, the equestrian statues of Louis I. and the elector Maximilian, and the obelisk erected to the 30,000 Bavarians who perished in Napoleon's expedi-tion to Moscow.

Munich is well supplied with public parks. The English garden, to the north-east of the town, is 600 acres in extent, and was laid out by the celebrated Count Rumford in imitation of an English park. On the opposite bank of the Isar, above and below the Maximilianeum, extend the Gasteig promenades, commanding fine views of the town. To the south-west of the town is the Theresienwiese, a large common where the popular festivals are celebrated. Here is situated the Ruhmeshalle or hall of fame, a Doric colonnade containing busts of eminent Bavarians. In front of it is a colossal bronze statue of Bavaria, 170 feet high, designed by Schwanthaler. An admirable view is obtained from its summit. The finest of the cemeteries of Munich is the southern cemetery, outside the Sendlinger Thor. The dead-houses in the cemeteries are used for the strange custom of keeping the corpses several days before interment, dressed in their usual attire and exposed to public view. The botanical garden, with its large palm-house, and the Hofgarten, surrounded with arcades con-taining fine frescos of Greek landscapes by Rottmann, complete the list of public parks.
The population of Munich amounted at the census of 1880 to 230,023 inhabitants, of whom 110,033 were males and 119,990 females. These lived in 8791 dwelling-houses, and formed 53,457 households. The garrison numbers about 7000 men. Only 37 per cent, of the in-habitants are born in Munich, most of the remainder coming from the country districts of Bavaria (53 per cent.) and other parts of Germany (5£ per cent.). Another census was taken in 1882 to elicit the occupations of the inhabitants, when it was found that 148,913 persons, or considerably more than half the population (64 per cent.), were supported by trading and manufacturing, while of the remainder 27,592 (12 per cent.) belonged to the official, military, and professional classes, 30,038 (13 per cent.) had no profession, and 24,237 (10'5 percent.)were engaged in domestic ser-vice. The population has been quintupled since 1801, when it was only 48,885. In 1680 it was 20,000, in 1783 it was 38,000. The annual death-rate is high, exceeding 30 per thousand. This is, however, mainly accounted for by the abnormal mortality among children, after allowance for which the rate is not over 20 per thousand. About 85 per cent, of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics, and many of Munich's most characteristic features are due to the fact that it is the centre of Roman Catholicism in southern Germany. Since the census of 1875 the number of Pro-testants in Munich has increased by 32 per cent., while the Roman Catholics have increased by 13J per cent. only Munich is the seat of the archbishop of Munich-Freising, and of the general Protestant consistory for Bavaria. About thirty newspapers are published here, including the principal Ultramontane sheets of south Germany. Some of the festivals of the Roman Church are celebrated with considerable pomp; and the people also cling to various national fetes, such as the Metzgersprung, the Schäfflertanz (occurring septennially), and the great October festival in the Theresienwiese. The popular life of Munich may be said to revolve round its breweries and beer-gardens, where the manners and customs of the people may be conveniently studied.

The commerce and manufactures of Munich are scarcely commensurate with its artistic importance, though it has lately begun to take rank among the great industrial centres. It has long been celebrated for its artistic handicrafts, such as bronze-founding, glass-staining, silver-smith's work, and wood-carving, while the astronomical instruments of Fraunhofer and the mathematical instru-ments of Ertl are also widely known. Lithography, which was invented at Munich at the end of last century, is still extensively practised here. The other industrial products include wall-paper, railway plant, machinery, gloves, and artificial flowers. Perhaps the most charac-teristic industry, however, is the preparation of the national beverage. In 1879 upwards of 28 million gal-lons of beer were brewed in Munich, only one-fifth of which was sent to other parts of Bavaria or exported. This represents an annual consumption of at least 125 gallons per head of population, while the rate in England is only 40 gallons per head. Trade, especially in grain and artistic goods, is now rapidly growing. Four important markets are held at Munich annually.

History. —The history of Munich, as distinct from that of Bavaria, has been very uneventful. The Villa Munichen or Forum ad Monachos, so called from the monkish owners of the ground on which it lay, was first called into prominence by Duke Henry the Lion, who established a mint here in 1158, and made it the em-porium for the salt of Hallein and Eeichenhall. The dukes of the Wittelsbach house occasionally resided at Munich, and in 1255 Louis the Severe made it his capital, having previously surrounded it with walls and a moat. The town was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1327, after which the emperor Louis the Bavarian, in recognition of the devoted loyalty of the citizens, rebuilt it very much on the scale it retained down to the beginning of the present century. Among the following rulers those who did most for the town in the erection of handsome buildings and the foundation of schools and scientific institutions were Albert V. (1550-1579), William V. (1579-1596), Maximilian I. (1597-1651), Max Joseph (1745-1777), and Charles Theodore (1778-1799). In 1632 Munich was occupied by Gustavus Adolphus, and from 1705 to 1715, and again in 1742, it was in possession of the Austrians. In 1791 the fortifications were razed, and room thus made for the enormous development the city has since experienced. The modern history of Munich may be dated from the accession of King Louis I. in 1825, since which, as already indicated, nearly all the most handsome streets and buildings of the town have been constructed. Like the Bavarians in general, the citizens of Munich are naturally inclined to adhere to the traditionary both in politics and in religion, but of late the population has become permeated with more advanced ideas.

Munich's importance in the history of art is entirely of modern growth, and may be dated from the acquisition of the iEginetan marbles by Louis I., then crown prince, in 1812. Among the emi-nent artists of this period whose names are more or less identified with Munich were Klenze, Ohlmüller, Gartner, and Ziebland, the architects; Cornelius, Kaulbach, Schnorr, and Rottmann, the painters ; and Schwanthaler, the sculptor. The art of fresco-painting may be said to have been resuscitated in Munich during this reign, and the artistic handicrafts of bronze-founding and glass-staining were also practised with a success previously unknown in modern days. Munich is still the leading school of painting in Germany, but the romanticism of the earlier masters has been abandoned for drawing and colouring of a thoroughly realistic char-acter. Piloty and W. Diez stand at the head of this school.

Authorities.—Mittheilungen des statistischen Bureaus der Stadt München, vols,
i.-v., 1875-1882 ; Söltl, München mit seinen Umgehungen, 1854 ; Reber, Bau-technischer Führer durch die Stadt München, 1876; Trautwein, Führer durch München, 12th ed., 1881; Daniel, Handbuch der Geographie, new ed., 1882-1883. (J. F. M.)

The above article was written by: J. Findlay Muirhead.

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