Music is famous for its beer festival – The Oktoberfest – which is held every September and October and features parades, music concerts and other festivities. The first festival took place in 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields have been named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s fields”) in honour of the Crown Princess ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wies’n”. Nowadays the Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world, with some 6 million visitors from all around the world converging on the Theresienwiese each year.
Munich is also a very popular destination for visitors at Christmas Market time. Munich’s Christmas Market is held on the Marienplatz in the heart of the city centre. This historic market dates back to the 17th Century. Visitors flock to buy traditional Bavarian Christmas gifts including wood carvings from Oberammergau, gingerbread (Lebkuchen) from Nuremberg and glassware from the BavarianForest.
Munich also has a lot to offer the visitor at any time of year. The onion domes of the Cathedral Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) are an unmissable symbol of the city centre. The Church of St Peter is another important landmark in the city. Its tower offers one of the best viewpoints in the city and its ornate interior is decorated with old masters from the past 6 centuries. For car lovers, a visit to the BMWMuseum is surely a must. The EnglishGarden is high on the “must see” list of many visitors to Munich. One of the world’s largest urban public parks, larger than New York’s Central Park, the name refers to the style of informal landscape gardening which was popular in Britain from the mid-18th century, and is particularly associated with Capability Brown.
A city of contrasts, Munich can offer age-old traditions, designer boutiques, an active music scene and plenty of culture. Perhaps those visiting the beer festival this autumn will take time to explore and discover some of Munich’s many and varied attractions.