Religious Sights Walking Tour (Self Guided), Munich

Religion has been an important part of Munich's life for a long time and this is reflected in the city's numerous churches, chapels and cathedrals. During the 18th and the 19th century, many of them were reconstructed into Baroque and Rococo styles to represent the wealth and greatness of the city. This tour will take you to the magnificent religious edifices of Munich.
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Religious Sights Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Religious Sights Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Munich (See other walking tours in Munich)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.5 Km or 4 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Ludwigskirche
  • Theatine Church
  • Allerheiligen-Hofkirche
  • Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church)
  • Asam Church
  • St. Anna Damenstift
  • St. Michael's Church
  • Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)
  • Abtei St. Bonifaz
  • Bennokirche

1) Ludwigskirche

The Ludwigskirche is a Catholic parish and university church located in the Ludwig Strasse in Munich. It is famous for its altar fresco that is the second largest in the world.

The Ludwigskirche was commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria as part of his plans to improve the city of Munich. It was designed by Friedrich von Gärtner in Neo Romanesque style. The church was built between the years 1829 and 1844. The bombs of World War II severely damaged the exterior and the present structure is the result of careful rebuilding and restoration completed in 1952.

The white stucco facade of the Ludwigskirche was created to complement the Theatine Church that is located diagonally opposite to the building. It has two steeples with six bells. The round arches are in the Rundbogenstil style that influenced buildings in Germany and in places in the Americas where German speaking people settled. The main feature in the interior is the fresco of the Last Judgement by Peter Cornelius over the high altar. It is 62 feet high and has a width of 38 feet. Cornelius also painted the three other large frescoes, ‘the Creator’, ‘Nativity’ and the ‘Crucifixion’ found inside the church.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Theatine Church

2) Theatine Church (must see)

The Theatine Church of St Cajetan is a Rococo structure that was the first Baroque style religious building in Munich. It was originally built for the order of Theatines from Italy.

The Theatine church was commissioned in 1662, by the elector, Ferdinand, and his consort, Henriette Adelaide of Savoy to give thanks for the birth of their long-awaited son and heir Max Emanuel. It was designed by the Italian architect, Agostino Barelli on the lines of the Sant'Andrea della Valle Church in Rome. The church is clad almost entirely in white stucco giving it a bright, airy Mediterranean appearance.

The design of the Theatine Church later influenced the architecture of many churches in Southern Germany. The original architect, Agostino Barelli was succeeded by another Italian, Enrico Zucalli, who designed the 71-meter high dome and two 70 meter high towers. The rococo façade was designed by François de Cuvilliers and his son in 1738. The interior stucco decorations were by the Italian sculptor Nicolo Petri and the statues were made by Germany’s Wolfgang Leutner. The great black altar was designed by Andreas Faistenberger. The crypt of the Theatine Church holds the graves of Max Emanuel and his parents and a small chapel within the church holds the graves of King Maximilian II and his consort.

Why You Should Visit:
There are a number of churches with fascinating interiors in Munich, and this one stands out among the others - the white interior.
The white marble with beautiful ornate work is very beautiful in natural light, while the exterior is famous for its yellow color and rococo style.
Free to enter and nicely air-conditioned – a great spot for a break on a hot summer day.

You can conveniently visit this church before or after spending time at Residenz nearby.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6:30am-7:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

3) Allerheiligen-Hofkirche

The Allerheiligen-Hofkirche was the main church where the Bavarian Royal family worshiped and is nestled within the Residenz Royal Palace. It is used as a venue for events and concerts today.

The Allerheiligen-Hofkirche was constructed between 1826 and 1837 during the renovation of the Residenz Royal Palace commissioned by King Ludwig I. His instructions to the architect, Leo von Klenze was to design the church on the lines of the Capella Palatina, a richly decorated Byzantine church located in Palermo, Italy. The final design also contained elements from St. Marks in Venice. The church was completely ruined by the bombs of World War II. It remained in a damaged state until 1986. Restoration was completed only in the year 2003.

The Allerheiligen-Hofkirche forms part of the Residenz Royal Palace complex and was dedicated to Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. It has a private entrance from the palace for the Royal family. The public entrance faces the Marstallplatz. The entrance has a Deesis surrounded by a Gothic ornamental gable with the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul on either side. The interior has a nave with two domes and an apse. The paintings in the chapel depict St. Maximilian and St. Anne. Most of the interior ornamentation was lost during the war and the recreated church is a simple structure housing a hall for musical performances with 200 seats.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church)

4) Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church) (must see)

Affectionately called Old Peter by the locals, Peterskirche is said to be the site around which the city of Munich developed. It dates back to the 12th century and occupies the site of an older 8th-century monastery and church.

The Peterskirche stands on the site of a former pre-Merovingian Church. The monks who lived in the monastery called the hill, Petersbergl or Peter’s Hill. The city is named after these monks. Munchen is from the German word Monch meaning monk. A Bavarian Romanesque structure was first built in 1180. It burned down in 1327. The present church dates back to 1368. The Steeple topped spire and Baroque choir were added in the 17th century. The building was severely damaged during World War II but carefully restored later to resemble the original structure.

The interior of the Peterskirche has Erasmus Grasser’s sculpture from the 15th century and paintings by Johann Baptist Zimmerman. A popular attraction among visitors is the gilded skeleton of St. Mundita that is adorned with precious stones. Visitors can climb 306 steps to reach the upper platform of the steeple to get breathtaking views across Munich and as far as the Alps on a clear day. Color-coded circles at the lower platform give an indication about the view from the top. A white circle tells visitors that the climb is worthwhile and that the Alps are visible from the upper platform.

Be sure to pay a few euros to climb to the tower top for a 360° view of Munich. The climb is not easy and the view is not for those afraid of heights – but for the adventurous, it's well worth-while.
If you can, try to head up for just before 11am or 12 noon, as then you can get a brilliant view of the glockenspiel clock in action in Marienplatz, without having to jostle with fellow tourists.
The are also two viewing binoculars that let you soak in all the colored rooftops that you see; however, note that it can get really windy and cold up there.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-5:30pm; Sat-Sun: 10am-5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Asam Church

5) Asam Church (must see)

The official name of the building popularly known as the Asam Church is the St. Johann Nepomuk Church. This small church has the most opulent interiors among religious buildings in Munich.

The Asam Church was built by brothers Cosmas Damian and Egid Quirin Asam. It was constructed between 1733 and 1746 and dedicated to a Bohemian monk named Johann Nepomuk who was revered for his noble deeds. He was drowned in the Danube on the orders of King Wenceslaus for refusing to divulge the confessions of the Queen. The Asam brothers intended the Church as their family’s small private place of worship but were forced by the citizens of Munich to allow access to all.

The Asam Church is one of the finest examples of late German Baroque architecture. It has 12 rows of pews for a small family congregation. The interiors are covered with frescoes painted by Cosmas Damian Asam. A lavish fresco in the ceiling portrays the drowning of Saint Nepomuk. The high altar has four twisted columns with a glass shrine containing a wax figure of Saint Nepomuk. There is a beautiful sculpture depicting God the father bending over the crucified Christ in the cornice. The interior ornamentation today is the result of careful restoration between the years 1975 and 1982.

Why You Should Visit:
Gaudy and baroque in a very unique way you do not see often. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in decoration: fresco, marble, stucco and acres of gilding compete for attention. Such heavy decoration may not be to everyone's taste, but it's hard not to marvel here.

As with everything, try going early in the morning to avoid crowds blocking your photos (avoid mass times).
It's best to try to visit on a sunny day so that that the gold and other bling have more of a chance to shine.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Anna Damenstift

6) St. Anna Damenstift

The Women’s Collegiate Church of St. Anna is located in the historic Old Town of Munich. The collegiate was once a religious refuge for ladies from aristocratic families.

The St. Anna Damenstift was commissioned by the elector, Charles Albert who later became the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII. The collegiate began as an abbey for nuns of the Salesian order and later became the order of St. Anna, restricted to ladies from aristocratic families. Many daughters of the ruling family of Bavaria served as its Abbesses. The church was designed by Johann Baptist Gunetzrhainer and the interiors were decorated by brothers, Cosmas Damian Asam and Egid Quirin Asam. It was consecrated in 1735. The church was severely damaged during the World War II bombings and the external walls were almost completely destroyed. The baroque interiors survived the wreckage and the building was restored only in the year 1980.

Today, the St. Anna Damenstift serves as a parish church of Munich’s St. Peter parish. The convent has been converted into a high school. Noteworthy treasures inside the church are the altarpiece of the Virgin and Child by Joseph Ruffini and the frescoes in the bay, on the dome ceiling and the choir room by Cosmas Damian Asam.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Michael's Church

7) St. Michael's Church

The St. Michael's Church in Munich is the largest religious structure built in Renaissance style north of the Alps. It is managed by the Jesuit order and was built by the Duke of Bavaria, William IV, as a center for the Counter Reformation in response to Martin Luther’s protestant reforms of Christendom.

St. Michael’s Church was first built between the years 1583 and 1588 and was designed by an unknown architect. The church had an extensive barrel vaulted roof and a tower. The tower collapsed and damaged the newly constructed choir in 1590. After the accident, a grand choir and transept were added to the original structure and the church was consecrated in 1597.

The St. Michael’s Church is a masterpiece of design. The facade is divided by three cornices horizontally with figures portraying the agenda of the Counter Reformation. The figure of the Archangel Michael by sculptor Hubert Gerhard is placed on the ground floor niche. The stone figures in the other niches are of Dukes and Kings of Bavaria. The interior has a nave without aisles that gives it a bright and airy appearance. There is a magnificent Triumphal Arch in front of the choir. The three story high altar has another sculpture of St Michael fighting the devil by Christoph Schwarz as the altarpiece. The crypt holds the graves of members of the Wittelsbach Royal family who ruled Bavaria and those of the sculptor, Giovanni da Bologna and Eugène de Beauharnais, the son of Napoleon’s wife Josephine.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

8) Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) (must see)

The Frauenkirche is the seat of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising. Its two towers are landmarks of the city and command spectacular views over Munich and the Alps.

The Frauenkirche occupies the site of a former 12th century Marian Chapel. Prince Sigismund of Bavaria ordered the construction of a larger church dedicated to the Holy Virgin on the site in 1468. The simple Gothic structure was designed by Jörg von Halspach and Lukas Rottaler. The red brick church was completed and consecrated in 1494. The two towers with onion domes were added in 1525. The church was damaged during the World War II bombings. The roof collapsed and the north tower suffered severe damage. It was restored after the war and is a popular place of worship in the city.

The striking Gothic structure of the church is simple and dignified with little ornamentation. The Gothic vaulting over the nave and chancel is supported by two simple octagonal pillars. Windows are cleverly hidden behind columns making it look as if the church has only one window above the chancel. Treasures in the interior that survived the bombings are a painting called The Protecting Cloak, by Jan Polack, and the cenotaph of the Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV created by Hans Krumpper.

This is the city's mother church so photos are discouraged, and the needs of people coming to pray have to be considered.
In the nave of the church, you'll find the Devil's Footprint or Teufelstritt. If you step in it, you'll be engulfed in flames that hollow your skull and cause your head to shrink, a la Herman Dietrich in "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
To visit the church is kostenlos (free), but you will have to pay a small fee if you want to take the lift up the south tower, instead of hoofing it.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7:30am-8:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Abtei St. Bonifaz

9) Abtei St. Bonifaz

The Abtei St. Bonifaz is a Benedictine Monastery located in the heart of Munich. Today, it rents out cells for those who wish to lead the life of a monk for a short time and perform charitable services.

The Abtei St. Bonifaz was established by King Ludwig I with a view to reinstate the spiritual life of the country that was destroyed by secularization. It was built between 1835 and 1850 in Byzantine style. The tomb of King Ludwig I is located in the church. The building was damaged by the World War II and partially restored after the war. Today, the monks look after the homeless and also offer education services. The Abbey is a member of the Bavarian Congregation of the Benedictine Confederation.

The Abtei St. Bonifaz is managed by 12 Benedictine Monks. Lay people and clerics are welcome for meditation and living life in peace and quiet for a short term. Cells are rented by the day or week. Guests at the monastery live the life of the monks. They rise early, attend prayers, help with the housekeeping and gardening and interact with the monks. Traditional German meals are served by the monks to their guests along with a choice of soft drinks and beer.
Sight description based on wikipedia

10) Bennokirche

Bennokirche is a Catholic church in Munich. It was built in the first half of the 19th century with donations from the Wittelsbach family. This Neo-Romanesque building features two tall towers on the outside and frescoes and drawings on the inside. The western façade has a five-storey, 64-meter high twin tower. Seven bells hang from the towers and the bell on the south tower is rung on special occasions.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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