Top Religious Sites 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 self guided tour takes you to the magnificent religious edifices of Munich.
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Top Religious Sites Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Top Religious Sites Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Munich (See other walking tours in Munich)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)
  • St. Michael's Church
  • St. Anna Damenstift
  • Asam Church
  • Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church)
  • Allerheiligen-Hofkirche
  • Theatine Church
Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

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

The Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) is the seat of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising. Its two towers are the landmarks of the city and command spectacular views over Munich and the neighboring Alps.

The church sits on the site of a former 12th-century Marian Chapel. In 1468, Prince Sigismund of Bavaria ordered that it be replaced with a larger temple, dedicated to the Holy Virgin. The simple, red brick Gothic structure was designed by Jörg von Halspach and Lukas Rottaler, and was completed and consecrated in 1494. Its two towers with onion domes were added in 1525. The building suffered great damage from the World War II bombings: the roof collapsed and the north tower was heavily destroyed. Carefully restored after the war, the Frauenkirche once again became a popular place of worship in the city.

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

As this is the city's mother church, no photos are encouraged in consideration of those who come to pray here regularly.
In the nave of the church, there's the Devil's Footprint or Teufelstritt. If you step in it, you're likely to be engulfed in flames that will hollow your skull and cause your head to shrink, a la Herman Dietrich in "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
Visiting the church is kostenlos (free), but be prepared 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
St. Michael's Church

2) St. Michael's Church

The St. Michael Church in Munich is the largest Renaissance-style religious building 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.

The church was first built between the years 1583 and 1588 and was designed by an unknown architect. It had an extensive barrel vaulted roof and a tower. The latter 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 Church is a masterpiece of design. Its façade is divided by three cornices horizontally with figures portraying the agenda of the Counter Reformation. The figure of 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
St. Anna Damenstift

3) 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
Asam Church

4) Asam Church (must see)

The official name of this building, popularly known as the Asam Church, is the St. Johann Nepomuk Church. Albeit small, this temple is renowned for having the most opulent interiors of all the religious sites in Munich.

The сhurch was built between 1733 and 1746 by brothers Cosmas Damian and Egid Quirin Asam, hence the name, and was dedicated to the Bohemian monk, named Johann Nepomuk, who was revered as a martyr for having been drowned in the Danube on the orders of King Wenceslaus after refusing to divulge the confessions of the Queen. The Asam brothers intended this church to be their family’s private, but eventually were forced to make it public.

The Asam Church is one of the finest examples of the late German Baroque architecture. It has 12 rows of pews for a small family congregation. The interiors are covered in frescoes painted by Cosmas Damian Asam. A lavish fresco on the ceiling portrays the drowning of Saint Nepomuk. The high altar has four twisted columns with a glass shrine containing a wax figure of the saint. 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 done between 1975 and 1982.

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

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 the gold and other bling have more of a chance to shine.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church)

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

Affectionately called “Alter Peter” (Old Pete) by the locals, Peterskirche is said to be the site around which the city of Munich has evolved. Originated in the 12th century, it occupies the place of an older, 8th-century monastery and pre-Merovingian church.

The monks who lived in the monastery called the hill “Petersberg” (Peter’s Hill). The city is subsequently named after these monks, as “Munchen” derives from the German word “Monch” which means monk. A Bavarian Romanesque temple was first built on this spot in 1180; it burned down in 1327. The present church dates back to 1368. Its spire-topped steeple and Baroque choir were added in the 17th century. Severely damaged during World War II, the building was carefully restored to its original appearance later on.

Inside Peterskirche, you will find 15th-century Erasmus Grasser’s sculpture and paintings by Johann Baptist Zimmerman. Another key attraction is the gilded skeleton of St. Mundita, adorned with precious stones. Visitors can climb 306 steps to the upper platform of the steeple for a breathtaking view across Munich and further afield, towards the Alps, on a clear day. Color-coded circles at the lower platform indicate visibility conditions. A white circle means the climb is worthwhile and the Alps are visible from the up there.

It's worth to pay a few euros to climb to the tower's top for a 360° view of Munich. The climb is not easy and definitely not for those with fear of heights – only for the adventurous lot!
If you come before noon, you can get a brilliant view of the Glockenspiel clock in action at Marienplatz without having to jostle with tourists down there.
The are two viewing binoculars allowing to soak up the atmosphere (colored rooftops, etc.).
Note: it might get windy and cold up there.

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

6) 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
Theatine Church

7) Theatine Church

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

The Theatine church was commissioned in 1662 by the elector Ferdinand and his consort, Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, in gratitude 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 look.

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 created a 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 made by the Italian sculptor, Nicolo Petri, and the statues 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:
Amid the multitude of churches with fascinating interiors in Munich, this one truly stands out for its white appearance.
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.

Convenient to visit before or after spending time at the nearby Residenz.

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

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