The city is a major centre of art, advanced technologies, finance, publishing, culture, innovation, education, business, and tourism in Germany and Europe and enjoys a very high standard and quality of living, reaching first in Germany and fourth worldwide according to the 2015 Mercer survey. According to the Globalization and World Rankings Research Institute Munich is considered an alpha-world city, as of 2015.
The name of the city is derived from the Old/Middle High German term Munichen, meaning "by the monks", which in turn is derived from Mönch (which in the end derives from ancient Greek μοναχός). It derives from the monks of the Benedictine order, who ran a monastery at the place that was later to become the Old Town of Munich; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat of arms. Munich was first mentioned in 1158. From 1255 the city was seat of the Bavarian Dukes. Black and gold – the colours of the Holy Roman Empire – have been the city's official colours since the time of Ludwig the Bavarian, when it was an imperial residence. Following a final reunification of the Wittelsbachian Duchy of Bavaria, previously divided and sub-divided for more than 200 years, the town became the country's sole capital in 1506.
Catholic Munich was a cultural stronghold of the Counter-Reformation and a political point of divergence during the resulting Thirty Years' War, but remained physically untouched despite an occupation by the Protestant Swedes; as the townsfolk would rather open the gates of their town than risk siege and almost inevitable destruction. Like wide parts of the Holy Roman Empire, the area recovered slowly economically.
Having evolved from a duchy's capital into that of an electorate (1623), and later a sovereign kingdom (1806), Munich has been a major European centre of arts, architecture, culture and science since the early 19th century, heavily sponsored by the Bavarian monarchs. In 1918, during the German Revolution, the ruling house of Wittelsbach, which governed Bavaria since 1180, was forced to abdicate in Munich and a short-lived socialist republic was declared.
In the 1920s, Munich became home to several political factions, among them the NSDAP, which was founded in the city in 1920. Though the first attempt of the Nazi movement to take over the German government in 1923 with the Beer Hall Putsch, which was stopped by the Bavarian police in Munich with gunfire, the Nazis declared the city after their rise to power to be Hauptstadt der Bewegung (lit.: "Capital of the movement"). During World War II, Munich was heavily bombed and more than 50% of the entire city and up to 90% of the historic centre were destroyed.
The postwar period until 1949 was characterised by American occupation; after 1949, there was a great increase in population and economic power during the years of Wirtschaftswunder (lit.: "economic miracle"). Unlike many other German cities which were heavily bombed and destroyed during World War II, Munich rebuilt most of its traditional cityscape and added a modern face with the Olympic Stadium, while hosting the 1972 Summer Olympics. Especially since the 1980s, Munich and the surrounding region were characterised by strong economic growth, high-tech industries and scientific institutions, very low unemployment rates and a strong influx of people. The city is home to major corporations like BMW, Siemens, MAN, Linde, Allianz and MunichRE, as well as many small and medium-sized companies.
Munich is home to many national and international authorities, major universities, major museums and theatres. Its numerous architectural attractions, international sports events, exhibitions and conferences and its annual Oktoberfest attract considerable tourism. Munich is one of the most prosperous and fastest growing cities in Germany. It is a top-ranked destination for migration and expatriate location, despite being the municipality with the highest population density in Germany (4,500 people per km²). Munich hosts more than 530,000 people of foreign background, making up 37.7% of its population.
The first known settlement in the area was of Benedictine monks on the Old Salt Route. The foundation date is considered the year 1158, the date the city was first mentioned in a document. The document was signed in Augsburg. By then, the Guelph Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, had built a toll bridge over the river Isar next to the monk settlement and on the salt route.
In 1175, Munich received city status and fortification. In 1180, with the trial of Henry the Lion, Otto I Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria, and Munich was handed to the Bishop of Freising. (Wittelsbach's heirs, the Wittelsbach dynasty, ruled Bavaria until 1918.) In 1240, Munich was transferred to Otto II Wittelsbach and in 1255, when the Duchy of Bavaria was split in two, Munich became the ducal residence of Upper Bavaria.
Duke Louis IV, a native of Munich, was elected German king in 1314 and crowned as Holy Roman Emperor in 1328. He strengthened the city's position by granting it the salt monopoly, thus assuring it of additional income. In the late 15th century, Munich underwent a revival of gothic arts: the Old Town Hall was enlarged, and Munich's largest gothic church – the Frauenkirche – now a cathedral, was constructed in only 20 years, starting in 1468.
When Bavaria was reunited in 1506, Munich became its capital. The arts and politics became increasingly influenced by the court (see Orlando di Lasso, Heinrich Schütz and later Mozart and Richard Wagner). During the 16th century, Munich was a centre of the German counter reformation, and also of renaissance arts. Duke Wilhelm V commissioned the Jesuit Michaelskirche, which became a centre for the counter-reformation, and also built the Hofbräuhaus for brewing brown beer in 1589.
The Catholic League was founded in Munich in 1609.
In 1623, during the Thirty Years' War, Munich became electoral residence when Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria was invested with the electoral dignity, but in 1632 the city was occupied by Gustav II Adolph of Sweden. When the bubonic plague broke out in 1634 and 1635, about one third of the population died. Under the regency of the Bavarian electors, Munich was an important centre of baroque life, but also had to suffer under Habsburg occupations in 1704 and 1742.
In 1806, the city became the capital of the new Kingdom of Bavaria, with the state's parliament (the Landtag) and the new archdiocese of Munich and Freising being located in the city. Twenty years later, Landshut University was moved to Munich. Many of the city's finest buildings belong to this period and were built under the first three Bavarian kings. Especially Ludwig I rendered outstanding services to Munich's status as a centre of the arts, attracting numerous artists and enhancing the city's architectural substance with grand boulevards and buildings. On the other hand, Ludwig II, famous the world over as the fairytale king, was mostly aloof from his capital and focused more on his fanciful castles in the Bavarian countryside. Nevertheless, his patronage of Richard Wagner secured his posthumous reputation, as do his castles, which generate significant tourist income for Bavaria to this day. Later, Prince Regent Luitpold's years as regent were marked by tremendous artistic and cultural activity in Munich, enhancing its status as a cultural force of global importance (see Franz von Stuck and Der Blaue Reiter).
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, life in Munich became very difficult, as the Allied blockade of Germany led to food and fuel shortages. During French air raids in 1916, three bombs fell on Munich.
After World War I, the city was at the centre of much political unrest. In November 1918 on the eve of German revolution, Ludwig III and his family fled the city. After the murder of the first republican premier of Bavaria Kurt Eisner in February 1919 by Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley, the Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed. When Communists took power, Lenin, who had lived in Munich some years before, sent a congratulatory telegram, but the Soviet Republic was put down on 3 May 1919 by the Freikorps. While the republican government had been restored, Munich became a hotbed of extremist politics, among which Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists rose to prominence.
In 1923, Adolf Hitler and his supporters, who were concentrated in Munich, staged the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic and seize power. The revolt failed, resulting in Hitler's arrest and the temporary crippling of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), which was virtually unknown outside Munich. The city again became a Nazi stronghold when the party took power in Germany in 1933. The party created its first concentration camp at Dachau, 16 kilometres (9.9 miles) north-west of the city. Because of its importance to the rise of National Socialism, Munich was referred to as the Hauptstadt der Bewegung ("Capital of the Movement"). The NSDAP headquarters were in Munich and many Führerbauten ("Führer-buildings") were built around the Königsplatz, some of which still survive.
The city is known as the site of the culmination of the policy of appeasement by Britain and France leading up to World War II. It was in Munich that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain assented to the annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland region into Greater Germany in the hopes of sating the desires of Hitler's Third Reich.
Munich was the base of the White Rose, a student resistance movement from June 1942 to February 1943. The core members were arrested and executed following a distribution of leaflets in Munich University by Hans and Sophie Scholl.
The city was heavily damaged by allied bombing during World War II – it was hit by 71 air raids during five years.
After US occupation in 1945, Munich was completely rebuilt following a meticulous and – by comparison to other war-ravaged West German cities – rather conservative plan which preserved its pre-war street grid. In 1957, Munich's population surpassed 1 million. The city continued to play a highly significant role in the German economy, politics and culture, giving rise to its nickname Heimliche Hauptstadt ("secret capital") in the decades after World War II.
Munich was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics, during which Israeli athletes were assassinated by Palestinian fedayeen in the Munich massacre, when gunmen from the Palestinian "Black September" group took hostage members of the Israeli Olympic team.
Most Munich residents enjoy a high quality of life. Mercer HR Consulting consistently rates the city among the top 10 cities with the highest quality of life worldwide – a 2011 survey ranked Munich as 4th. The same company also ranks Munich as the 39th most expensive in the world and most expensive major city in Germany. Munich enjoys a thriving economy, driven by the information technology, biotechnology, and publishing sectors. Environmental pollution is low, although as of 2006 the city council is concerned about levels of particulate matter (PM), especially along the city's major thoroughfares. Since the enactment of EU legislation concerning the concentration of particulate in the air, environmental groups such as Greenpeace have staged large protest rallies to urge the city council and the State government to take a harder stance on pollution. Today, the crime rate is low compared with other large German cities, such as Hamburg or Berlin. For its high quality of life and safety, the city has been nicknamed "Toytown" among the English-speaking residents. German inhabitants call it "Millionendorf", an expression which means "village of a million people". Due to the high standard of living in and the thriving economy of the city and the region, there was an influx of people and Munich's population surpassed 1.5 million by June 2015, an increase of more than 20% in 10 years.
Munich lies on the elevated plains of Upper Bavaria, about 50 km (31.07 mi) north of the northern edge of the Alps, at an altitude of about 520 m (1,706.04 ft) ASL. The local rivers are the Isar and the Würm. Munich is situated in the Northern Alpine Foreland. The northern part of this sandy plateau includes a highly fertile flint area which is no longer affected by the folding processes found in the Alps, while the southern part is covered with morainic hills. Between these are fields of fluvio-glacial out-wash, such as around Munich. Wherever these deposits get thinner, the ground water can permeate the gravel surface and flood the area, leading to marshes as in the north of Munich.
Munich's city climate lies between the humid continental climate (Köppen classification: Dfb) and the oceanic climate (Köppen classification: Cfb).
The city centre lies between both climates, while the airport of Munich has a humid continental climate. The warmest month, on average, is July. The coolest is January.
Showers and thunderstorms bring the highest average monthly precipitation in late spring and throughout the summer. The most precipitation occurs in June, on average. Winter tends to have less precipitation, the least in February.
The higher elevation and proximity to the Alps cause the city to have more rain and snow than many other parts of Germany. The Alps affect the city's climate in other ways too; for example, the warm downhill wind from the Alps (föhn wind), which can raise temperatures sharply within a few hours even in the winter.
Being at the centre of Europe, Munich is subject to many climatic influences, so that weather conditions there are more variable than in other European cities, especially those further west and south of the Alps.
At Munich's official weather station, the highest and lowest temperatures ever measured are 37 °C (99 °F), on 13 August 2003, and −31.6 °C (−24.9 °F), on 12 February 1929.
From only 24,000 inhabitants in 1700, the city population doubled about every 30 years. It was 100,000 in 1852, 250,000 in 1883 and 500,000 in 1901. Since then, Munich has become Germany's third largest city. In 1933, 840,901 inhabitants were counted, and in 1957 over 1 million.
In July 2017, Munich had 1.42 million inhabitants; 300,129 of those did not have German citizenship. The city has strong Turkish and Balkan communities. The largest groups of foreign nationals were Turks (43,309), Albanians (30,385), Croats (24,866), Serbs (24,439), Greeks (22,486), Austrians (21,411), and Italians (20,847). 37% of foreign nationals come from the European Union.
About 45% of Munich's residents are not affiliated with any religious group, and this ratio represents the fastest growing segment of the population. As in the rest of Germany, the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches have experienced a continuous decline in membership. As of 31 December 2016, 32.4% of the city's inhabitants were Roman Catholic, 11.6% Protestant and 0.3% Jewish. In 2011, 7.5% were Muslim migrants from 21 countries of origin. About 3% adhere to other Christian denominations. There is also a small Old Catholic parish and an English-speaking parish of the Episcopal Church in the city.
Munich's current mayor is Dieter Reiter of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. Munich has been governed by the SPD for all but six years since 1948. This is remarkable because Bavaria – and particularly southern Bavaria – has long been a conservative stronghold, with the Christian Social Union winning absolute majorities among the Bavarian electorate in many elections at the communal, state, and federal levels, and leading the Bavarian state government for all but three years since 1946. Bavaria's second most populous city, Nuremberg, is also one of the very few Bavarian cities governed by a SPD-led coalition.
As the capital of the Free State of Bavaria, Munich is an important political centre in Germany and the seat of the Bavarian State Parliament, the Staatskanzlei (the State Chancellery) and of all state departments.
Several national and international authorities are located in Munich, including the Federal Finance Court of Germany and the European Patent Office.
Since the administrative reform in 1992, Munich is divided into 25 boroughs or Stadtbezirke, which themselves consist of sometimes quite distinct smaller quarters.
Allach-Untermenzing (23), Altstadt-Lehel (1), Aubing-Lochhausen-Langwied (22), Au-Haidhausen (5), Berg am Laim (14), Bogenhausen (13), Feldmoching-Hasenbergl (24), Hadern (20), Laim (25), Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt (2), Maxvorstadt (3), Milbertshofen-Am Hart (11), Moosach (10), Neuhausen-Nymphenburg (9), Obergiesing (17), Pasing-Obermenzing (21), Ramersdorf-Perlach (16), Schwabing-Freimann (12), Schwabing-West (4), Schwanthalerhöhe (8), Sendling (6), Sendling-Westpark (7), Thalkirchen-Obersendling-Forstenried-Fürstenried-Solln (19), Trudering-Riem (15) and Untergiesing-Harlaching (18).
The city has an eclectic mix of historic and modern architecture, because historic buildings destroyed in World War II were reconstructed, and new landmarks were constructed. A survey by the Society's Centre for Sustainable Destinations for the National Geographic Traveller chose over 100 historic destinations around the world and ranked Munich 30th.
At the centre of the city is the Marienplatz – a large open square named after the Mariensäule, a Marian column in its centre – with the Old and the New Town Hall. Its tower contains the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. Three gates of the demolished medieval fortification survive – the Isartor in the east, the Sendlinger Tor in the south and the Karlstor in the west of the inner city. The Karlstor leads up to the Stachus, a grand square dominated by the Justizpalast (Palace of Justice) and a fountain.
The Peterskirche close to Marienplatz is the oldest church of the inner city. It was first built during the Romanesque period, and was the focus of the early monastic settlement in Munich before the city's official foundation in 1158. Nearby St. Peter the Gothic hall-church Heiliggeistkirche (The Church of the Holy Spirit) was converted to baroque style from 1724 onwards and looks down upon the Viktualienmarkt, the most popular market of Munich.
The Frauenkirche is the most famous building in the city centre and serves as the cathedral for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. The nearby Michaelskirche is the largest renaissance church north of the Alps, while the Theatinerkirche is a basilica in Italianate high baroque, which had a major influence on Southern German baroque architecture. Its dome dominates the Odeonsplatz. Other baroque churches in the inner city which are worth a detour are the Bürgersaalkirche, the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, the St. Anna Damenstiftskirche and St. Anna im Lehel, the first rococo church in Bavaria. The Asamkirche was endowed and built by the Brothers Asam, pioneering artists of the rococo period.
The large Residenz palace complex (begun in 1385) on the edge of Munich's Old Town, Germany's largest urban palace, ranks among Europe's most significant museums of interior decoration. Having undergone several extensions, it contains also the treasury and the splendid rococo Cuvilliés Theatre. Next door to the Residenz the neo-classical opera, the National Theatre was erected. Among the baroque and neoclassical mansions which still exist in Munich are the Palais Porcia, the Palais Preysing, the Palais Holnstein and the Prinz-Carl-Palais. All mansions are situated close to the Residenz, same as the Alte Hof, a medieval castle and first residence of the Wittelsbach dukes in Munich.
Lehel, a bourgeoise quarter east of the Altstadt, is characterised by countless well-preserved (and in parts excellently reconstructed) town houses, giving a thorough impression of the "old Munich" outside of the main tourist routes. St. Lukas is the largest Protestant Church in Munich.
The inner city has been recreated in the virtual world of Second Life and can be visited for a virtual sight seeing tour.
Four grand royal avenues of the 19th century with magnificent official buildings connect Munich's inner city with its then-suburbs:
The neoclassical Briennerstrasse, starting at Odeonsplatz on the northern fringe of the Old Town close to the Residenz, runs from east to west and opens into the impressive Königsplatz, designed with the "Doric" Propyläen, the "Ionic" Glyptothek and the "Corinthian" State Museum of Classical Art, on its back side St. Boniface's Abbey was erected. The area around Königsplatz is home to the Kunstareal, Munich's gallery and museum quarter (as described below).
Ludwigstrasse also begins at Odeonsplatz and runs from south to north, skirting the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, the St. Louis church, the Bavarian State Library and numerous state ministries and palaces. The southern part of the avenue was constructed in Italian renaissance style, while the north is strongly influenced by Italian Romanesque architecture. The Siegestor (gate of victory) sits at the northern end of Ludwigstraße, where the latter passes over into Leopoldstraße and the district of Schwabing begins.
The neo-Gothic Maximilianstraße starts at Max-Joseph-Platz, where the Residenz and the National Theatre are situated, and runs from west to east. The avenue is framed by elaborately structured neo-Gothic buildings which house, among others, the Schauspielhaus, the Building of the district government of Upper Bavaria and the Museum of Ethnology. After crossing the river Isar, the avenue circles the Maximilianeum, home of the state parliament. The western portion of Maximilianstraße is known for its designer shops, luxury boutiques, jewellery stores, and one of Munich's foremost five-star hotels, the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten.
Prinzregentenstrasse runs parallel to Maximilianstraße and begins at Prinz-Carl-Palais. Many museums can be found along the avenue, such as the Haus der Kunst, the Bavarian National Museum and the Schackgalerie. The avenue crosses the Isar and circles the Friedensengel monument, then passing the Villa Stuck and Hitler's old apartment. The Prinzregententheater is at Prinzregentenplatz further to the east.
In Schwabing and Maxvorstadt, many beautiful streets with continuous rows of Gründerzeit buildings can be found. Rows of elegant town houses and spectacular urban palais in many colours, often elaborately decorated with ornamental details on their façades, make up large parts of the areas west of Leopoldstraße (Schwabing's main shopping street), while in the eastern areas between Leopoldstraße and Englischer Garten similar buildings alternate with almost rural-looking houses and whimsical mini-castles, often decorated with small towers. Numerous tiny alleys and shady lanes connect the larger streets and little plazas of the area, conveying the legendary artist's quarter's flair and atmosphere convincingly like it was at the turn of the 20th century. The wealthy district of Bogenhausen in the east of Munich is another little-known area (at least among tourists) rich in extravagant architecture, especially around Prinzregentenstraße. One of Bogenhausen's most beautiful buildings is Villa Stuck, famed residence of painter Franz von Stuck.
Two large baroque palaces in Nymphenburg and Oberschleissheim are reminders of Bavaria's royal past. Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace), some 6 km (4 mi) north west of the city centre, is surrounded by an impressive park and is considered to be one of Europe's most beautiful royal residences. 2 km (1 mi) northwest of Nymphenburg Palace is Schloss Blutenburg (Blutenburg Castle), an old ducal country seat with a late-Gothic palace church. Schloss Fürstenried (Fürstenried Palace), a baroque palace of similar structure to Nymphenburg but of much smaller size, was erected around the same time in the south west of Munich. The second large baroque residence is Schloss Schleissheim (Schleissheim Palace), located in the suburb of Oberschleissheim, a palace complex encompassing three separate residences: Altes Schloss Schleissheim (the old palace), Neues Schloss Schleissheim (the new palace) and Schloss Lustheim (Lustheim Palace). Most parts of the palace complex serve as museums and art galleries. Deutsches Museum's Flugwerft Schleissheim flight exhibition centre is located nearby, on the Schleissheim Special Landing Field. The Bavaria statue before the neo-classical Ruhmeshalle is a monumental, bronze sand-cast 19th-century statue at Theresienwiese. The Grünwald castle is the only medieval castle in the Munich area which still exists.
St Michael in Berg am Laim might be the most remarkable church in the suburbs. Another church of Johann Michael Fischer is St George in Bogenhausen. Most of the boroughs have parish churches which originate from the Middle Ages like the most famous church of pilgrimage in Munich St Mary in Ramersdorf. The oldest church within the city borders is Heilig Kreuz in Fröttmaning next to the Allianz-Arena, known for its Romanesque fresco. Especially in its suburbs, Munich features a wide and diverse array of modern architecture, although strict culturally sensitive height limitations for buildings have limited the construction of skyscrapers to avoid a loss of views to the distant Bavarian Alps. Most high-rise buildings are clustered at the northern edge of Munich in the skyline, like the Hypo-Haus, the Arabella High-Rise Building, the Highlight Towers, Uptown Munich, Münchner Tor and the BMW Headquarters next to the Olympic Park. Several other high-rise buildings are located near the city centre and on the Siemens campus in southern Munich. A landmark of modern Munich is also the architecture of the sport stadiums (as described below).
In Fasangarten is the former McGraw Kaserne, a former US army base, near Stadelheim Prison.
Munich is a densely-built city but still offers numerous public parks. The Englischer Garten, close to the city centre and covering an area of 3.7 km2 (1.4 sq mi) (larger than Central Park in New York), is one of the world's largest urban public parks. It contains a famous nudist area, numerous bicycle and jogging tracks as well as bridle-paths. It is considered the "green lung" of Munich and one of the city's best-loved features. It was designed and laid out by Benjamin Thompson, Count of Rumford, for both pleasure and as a work area for the city's vagrants and homeless. Nowadays it is entirely a park, its southern half being dominated by wide and extremely well-kept open areas, hills, monuments and beach-like stretches (along the streams Eisbach and Schwabinger Bach), which get crowded in summer. In contrast, its less-frequented northern part is much more quiet, idyllic and natural-seeming, at times resembling a natural preserve more than an urban public park: it has lots of old trees, thick undergrowth, winding streams, hidden meadows and is pervaded by numerous romantic pathways. Multiple Biergartens can be found in both parts of the Englischer Garten, the most well known being located at the Chinese Pagoda.
Other large green spaces are the modern Olympiapark, Westpark, and the parks of Nymphenburg Palace (with the Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg to the north), and Schleissheim Palace. The city's oldest park is the Hofgarten, near the Residenz, dating back to the 16th century. Best known for the largest beergarden in town is the former royal Hirschgarten, founded in 1780 for deer, which still live there.
The city's zoo is the Tierpark Hellabrunn near the Flaucher Island in the Isar in the south of the city. Another notable park is Ostpark located in the Ramersdorf-Perlach borough which also houses the Michaelibad, the largest waterpark in Munich.
Munich is home to several professional football teams including Bayern Munich, Germany's most successful club and a multiple UEFA Champions League winner. Other notable clubs include 1860 Munich, who were long time their rivals on a somewhat equal footing, but at the moment play in the Regionalliga Bayern (4th tier) due to a relegation on financial grounds; and former Bundesliga club SpVgg Unterhaching now playing in the 3. Liga.
FC Bayern Munich Basketball currently playing in Beko Basket Bundesliga.
The city hosted the final stages of the FIBA EuroBasket 1993, where the German national basketball team won the gold medal.
The city's ice hockey club is EHC Munich.
Munich hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics, where the Munich Massacre took place. It was one of the host cities for the 2006 Football World Cup, which was not held in Munich's Olympic Stadium, but in a new football specific stadium, the Allianz Arena. Munich bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, but lost to Pyeongchang. In September 2011 the DOSB President Thomas Bach confirmed that Munich would bid again for the Winter Olympics in the future.
There are three annual road running events in Munich, the Munich Marathon in October, the company run B2Run in July and the New Year's Run on 31 December.
Public sporting facilities in Munich include ten indoor swimming pools and eight outdoor swimming pools, which are operated by the Munich City Utilities (SWM) communal company, while swimming within Munich's city limits is also possible in several artificial lakes such as for example the Riemer See or the Langwieder lake district.
Munich has a reputation as a surfing hotspot, offering the world's best known river surfing spot, the Eisbach wave, which is located at the southern edge of the Englischer Garten park and used by surfers day and night and throughout the year. Half a kilometre down the river, there is a second, easier wave for beginners, the so-called Kleine Eisbachwelle. Two further surf spots within the city are located along the river Isar, the wave in the Floßlände channel and a wave downstream of the Wittelsbacherbrücke bridge.
The Bavarian dialects are spoken in and around Munich, with its variety Upper Bavarian (Oberbayrisch). Austro-Bavarian has no official status by the Bavarian authorities or local government, yet is recognised by the SIL and has its own ISO-639 code.
The Deutsches Museum or German Museum, located on an island in the River Isar, is the largest and one of the oldest science museums in the world. Three redundant exhibition buildings that are under a protection order were converted to house the Verkehrsmuseum, which houses the land transport collections of the Deutsches Museum. Deutsches Museum's Flugwerft Schleissheim flight exhibition centre is located nearby, on the Schleissheim Special Landing Field. Several non-centralised museums (many of those are public collections at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) show the expanded state collections of palaeontology, geology, mineralogy, zoology, botany and anthropology.
The city has several important art galleries, most of which can be found in the Kunstareal, including the Alte Pinakothek, the Neue Pinakothek, the Pinakothek der Moderne and the Museum Brandhorst. Alte Pinakothek's monolithic structure contains a treasure trove of the works of European masters between the 14th and 18th centuries. The collection reflects the eclectic tastes of the Wittelsbachs over four centuries, and is sorted by schools over two sprawling floors. Major displays include Albrecht Dürer's Christ-like Self-Portrait, his Four Apostles, Raphael's paintings The Canigiani Holy Family and Madonna Tempi as well as Peter Paul Rubens two-story-high Judgment Day. The gallery houses one of the world's most comprehensive Rubens collections. Before World War I, the Blaue Reiter group of artists worked in Munich. Many of their works can now be seen at the Lenbachhaus.
An important collection of Greek and Roman art is held in the Glyptothek and the Staatliche Antikensammlung (State Antiquities Collection). King Ludwig I managed to acquire such famous pieces as the Medusa Rondanini, the Barberini Faun and figures from the Temple of Aphaea on Aegina for the Glyptothek. Another important museum in the Kunstareal is the Egyptian Museum.
The famous gothic Morris dancers of Erasmus Grasser are exhibited in the Munich City Museum in the old gothic arsenal building in the inner city.
Another area for the arts next to the Kunstareal is the Lehel quarter between the old town and the river Isar: the Museum Five Continents in Maximilianstraße is the second largest collection in Germany of artefacts and objects from outside Europe, while the Bavarian National Museum and the adjoining Bavarian State Archaeological Collection in Prinzregentenstrasse rank among Europe's major art and cultural history museums. The nearby Schackgalerie is an important gallery of German 19th-century paintings.
The former Dachau concentration camp is 16 km (10 mi) outside the city.
Munich is a major European cultural centre and has played host to many prominent composers including Orlando di Lasso, W.A. Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Max Reger and Carl Orff. With the Munich Biennale founded by Hans Werner Henze, and the A*DEvantgarde festival, the city still contributes to modern music theatre. Some of classical music's best-known pieces have been created in and around Munich by native composers, for example Richard Strauss's famous tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra or Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.
The Nationaltheater, where several of Richard Wagner's operas had their premieres under the patronage of Ludwig II of Bavaria, is the home of the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Orchestra. Next door, the modern Residenz Theatre was erected in the building that had housed the Cuvilliés Theatre before World War II. Many operas were staged there, including the premiere of Mozart's Idomeneo in 1781. The Gärtnerplatz Theatre is a ballet and musical state theatre while another opera house, the Prinzregententheater, has become the home of the Bavarian Theatre Academy.
The modern Gasteig centre houses the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. The third orchestra in Munich with international importance is the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Its primary concert venue is the Herkulessaal in the former city royal residence, the Munich Residenz. Many important conductors have been attracted by the city's orchestras, including Felix Weingartner, Hans Pfitzner, Hans Rosbaud, Hans Knappertsbusch, Sergiu Celibidache, James Levine, Christian Thielemann, Lorin Maazel, Rafael Kubelík, Eugen Jochum, Sir Colin Davis, Mariss Jansons, Bruno Walter, Georg Solti, Zubin Mehta and Kent Nagano. A stage for shows, big events and musicals is the Deutsche Theater. It is Germany's largest theatre for guest performances.
Munich's contributions to modern popular music are often overlooked in favour of its strong association with classical music, but they are numerous: the city has had a strong music scene in the 1960s and 1970s, with many internationally renowned bands and musicians frequently performing in its clubs. Furthermore, Munich was the centre of Krautrock in southern Germany, with many important bands such as Amon Düül II, Embryo or Popol Vuh hailing from the city. In the 1970s, the Musicland Studios developed into one of the most prominent recording studios in the world, with famous bands such as the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Queen recording albums there. Munich also played a significant role in the development of electronic music, with genre pioneer Giorgio Moroder, who invented synth disco and electronic dance music, and Donna Summer, one of disco music's most important performers, both living and working in the city. In the late 1990s, Electroclash was substantially co-invented if not even invented in Munich, when DJ Hell introduced and assembled international pioneers of this musical genre through his International DeeJay Gigolo Records label here. Other examples of notable musicians and bands from Munich are Konstantin Wecker, Willy Astor, Spider Murphy Gang, Münchener Freiheit, Lou Bega, Megaherz, FSK, Colour Haze and Sportfreunde Stiller.
Music is so important in the Bavarian capital that the city hall gives permissions every day to 10 musicians for performing in the streets around Marienplatz. This is how performers such as Olga Kholodnaya and Alex Jacobowitz are entertaining the locals and the tourists every day.
Next to the Bavarian Staatsschauspiel in the Residenz Theatre (Residenztheater), the Munich Kammerspiele in the Schauspielhaus is one of the most important German language theatres in the world. Since Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's premieres in 1775 many important writers have staged their plays in Munich such as Christian Friedrich Hebbel, Henrik Ibsen and Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
The city is known as the second largest publishing centre in the world (around 250 publishing houses have offices in the city), and many national and international publications are published in Munich, such as Arts in Munich, LAXMag and Prinz.
At the turn of the 20th century, Munich, and especially its suburb of Schwabing, was the preeminent cultural metropolis of Germany. Its importance as a centre for both literature and the fine arts was second to none in Europe, with numerous German and non-German artists moving there. For example, Wassily Kandinsky chose Munich over Paris to study at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste München, and, along with many other painters and writers living in Schwabing at that time, had a profound influence on modern art.
Prominent literary figures worked in Munich especially during the final decades of the Kingdom of Bavaria, the so-called Prinzregentenzeit (literally "prince regent's time") under the reign of Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria, a period often described as a cultural Golden Age for both Munich and Bavaria as a whole. Among them were luminaries such as Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann, Paul Heyse, Rainer Maria Rilke, Ludwig Thoma, Fanny zu Reventlow, Oskar Panizza, Gustav Meyrink, Max Halbe, Erich Mühsam and Frank Wedekind. For a short while, even Vladimir Lenin lived in Schwabing, where he wrote and published his most important work, What Is to Be Done? Central to Schwabing's bohemian scene (although they were actually often located in the nearby Maxvorstadt quarter) were Künstlerlokale (artist's cafés) like Café Stefanie or Kabarett Simpl, whose liberal ways differed fundamentally from Munich's more traditional localities. The Simpl, which survives to this day (although with little relevance to the city's contemporary art scene), was named after Munich's famous anti-authoritarian satirical magazine Simplicissimus, founded in 1896 by Albert Langen and Thomas Theodor Heine, which quickly became an important organ of the Schwabinger Bohème. Its strikingly modern caricatures and biting satirical attacks on Wilhelmine German society were the result of countless of collaborative efforts by many of the best visual artists and writers from Munich and elsewhere.
The period immediately before World War I saw continued economic and cultural prominence for the city. Thomas Mann wrote somewhat ironically in his novella Gladius Dei about this period: "München leuchtete" (literally "Munich shone"). Munich remained a centre of cultural life during the Weimar period, with figures such as Lion Feuchtwanger, Bertolt Brecht, Peter Paul Althaus, Stefan George, Ricarda Huch, Joachim Ringelnatz, Oskar Maria Graf, Annette Kolb, Ernst Toller, Hugo Ball and Klaus Mann adding to the already established big names. Karl Valentin was Germany's most important cabaret performer and comedian and is to this day well-remembered and beloved as a cultural icon of his hometown. Between 1910 and 1940, he wrote and performed in many absurdist sketches and short films that were highly influential, earning him the nickname of "Charlie Chaplin of Germany". Many of Valentin's works wouldn't be imaginable without his congenial female partner Liesl Karlstadt, who often played male characters to hilarious effect in their sketches. After World War II, Munich soon again became a focal point of the German literary scene and remains so to this day, with writers as diverse as Wolfgang Koeppen, Erich Kästner, Eugen Roth, Alfred Andersch, Elfriede Jelinek, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Michael Ende, Franz Xaver Kroetz, Gerhard Polt, John Vincent Palatine and Patrick Süskind calling the city their home.
From the Gothic to the Baroque era, the fine arts were represented in Munich by artists like Erasmus Grasser, Jan Polack, Johann Baptist Straub, Ignaz Günther, Hans Krumpper, Ludwig von Schwanthaler, Cosmas Damian Asam, Egid Quirin Asam, Johann Baptist Zimmermann, Johann Michael Fischer and François de Cuvilliés. Munich had already become an important place for painters like Carl Rottmann, Lovis Corinth, Wilhelm von Kaulbach, Carl Spitzweg, Franz von Lenbach, Franz von Stuck, Karl Piloty and Wilhelm Leibl when Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a group of expressionist artists, was established in Munich in 1911. The city was home to the Blue Rider's painters Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Alexej von Jawlensky, Gabriele Münter, Franz Marc, August Macke and Alfred Kubin. Kandinsky's first abstract painting was created in Schwabing.
Munich was (and in some cases, still is) home to many of the most important authors of the New German Cinema movement, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Edgar Reitz and Herbert Achternbusch. In 1971, the Filmverlag der Autoren was founded, cementing the city's role in the movement's history. Munich served as the location for many of Fassbinder's films, among them Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. The Hotel Deutsche Eiche near Gärtnerplatz was somewhat like a centre of operations for Fassbinder and his "clan" of actors. New German Cinema is considered by far the most important artistic movement in German cinema history since the era of German Expressionism in the 1920s.
In 1919, the Bavaria Film Studios were founded, which developed into one of Europe's biggest film studios. Famous directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, John Huston, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, Claude Chabrol, Fritz Umgelter, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wolfgang Petersen and Wim Wenders made films there. Among the internationally well-known films produced at the studios are The Pleasure Garden by Alfred Hitchcock, The Great Escape by John Sturges, Paths of Glory by Stanley Kubrick, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory by Mel Stuart and both Das Boot and The Neverending Story by Wolfgang Petersen. To this day, Munich remains one of the centres of the German film and entertainment industry.
The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, arguably the most famous beer hall worldwide, is located in the city centre. It also operates the second largest tent at the Oktoberfest, one of Munich's most famous attractions. For two weeks, the Oktoberfest attracts millions of people visiting its beer tents ("Bierzelte") and fairground attractions. The Oktoberfest was first held on 12 October 1810 in honour of the marriage of crown prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The festivities were closed with a horse race and in the following years the horse races were continued and later developed into what is now known as the Oktoberfest. Despite its name, most of Oktoberfest occurs in September. It always finishes on the first Sunday in October unless the German national holiday on 3 October (Tag der deutschen Einheit, i. e., "Day of German Unity") is a Monday or Tuesday – then the Oktoberfest remains open for these days.
Münchner Weißwurst ('white sausage') was invented here in 1857. It is a Munich speciality. Traditionally eaten only before noon – a tradition dating to a time before refrigerators – these morsels are often served with sweet mustard and freshly baked pretzels.
Munich is famous for its breweries and the Weissbier (or Weißbier / Weizenbier, wheat beer) is a speciality from Bavaria. Helles, a pale lager with a translucent gold colour is the most popular Munich beer today, although it's not old (only introduced in 1895) and is the result of a change in beer tastes. Helles has largely replaced Munich's dark beer, Dunkles, which gets its colour from roasted malt. It was the typical beer in Munich in the 19th century, but today it is more of a speciality. Starkbier is the strongest Munich beer, containing 6%–9% alcohol. It is dark amber in colour and has a heavy malty taste. It is available and popular during the Lenten Starkbierzeit (strong beer season), which begins on or before St. Joseph's Day (19 March). The beer served at Oktoberfest is a special type of Märzen beer with a higher alcohol content than regular Helles.
There are countless Wirtshäuser (traditional Bavarian ale houses/restaurants) all over the city area, many of which also have small outside areas. Biergärten (beer gardens) are the most famous and popular fixtures of Munich's gastronomic landscape. They are central to the city's culture and serve as a kind of melting pot for members of all walks of life, for locals, expatriates and tourists alike. It is allowed to bring one's own food to a beer garden, however, it is forbidden to bring one's own drinks. There are many smaller beer gardens and around twenty major ones, providing at least one thousand seats, with four of the most famous and popular in the Englischer Garten: Chinesischer Turm (Munich's second largest beer garden with 7,000 seats), Seehaus, Hirschau and Aumeister. Among locals, connoisseurs and well-informed tourists, Augustiner-Keller, near Hauptbahnhof (central station) at Arnulfstraße, is one of the most popular beer gardens in the city, since it is the only one in which Munich's most popular beer, Augustiner, is drawn from wooden barrels. Nockherberg, Hofbräukeller (not to be confused with the Hofbräuhaus) and Löwenbräukeller are other famous beer gardens. Hirschgarten is the largest beer garden in the world, with 8,000 seats.
There are six main breweries in Munich:
Also popular, though not from Munich and thus without the right to have a tent at the Oktoberfest, are especially Tegernseer and Schneider Weisse, the latter of which has a major beer hall in Munich just as the Munich breweries do. Smaller breweries are becoming more prevalent in Munich, such as Giesinger Bräu. However, these breweries do not have tents at Oktoberfest.
The Viktualienmarkt is Munich's most popular market for fresh food and delicatessen. A very old feature of Munich's Fasching (carnival) is the dance of the Marktfrauen (market women) of the Viktualienmarkt in comical costumes.
The Auer Dult is held three times a year on the square around Mariahilf church and is one of Munich's oldest markets, well known for its hardware, trinkets and antiques.
Three weeks before Christmas, the Christkindlmarkt opens at Marienplatz and other squares in the city, selling Christmas goods.
Nightlife in Munich is located mostly in the city centre (Altstadt-Lehel) and the boroughs Maxvorstadt, Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt, Au-Haidhausen and Schwabing. Between Sendlinger Tor and Maximiliansplatz lies the so-called Feierbanane (party banana), a roughly banana-shaped unofficial party zone spanning 1.3 kilometres (0.8 miles) along Sonnenstraße, characterised by a high concentration of clubs, bars and restaurants. In recent years, the Feierbanane has become the mainstream focus of Munich's nightlife and tends to get quite crowded, especially on weekends. It also has sparked some debate among city officials regarding alcohol-related security issues and the party zone's general impact on local residents as well as day-time businesses.
Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt's two main quarters, Gärtnerplatzviertel and Glockenbachviertel, are both considered decidedly less mainstream than most other nightlife hotspots in the city and are renowned for their many hip and laid back bars and clubs as well as for being Munich's main centres of gay culture. On warm spring or summer nights, hundreds of young people can be seen gathering at Gärtnerplatz, where they lay down in the grass to relax, talk with friends and drink beer, occupying most of the square's available space in the process.
Maxvorstadt has many smaller bars that are especially popular with university students, whereas Schwabing, once Munich's first and foremost party district with legendary clubs such as Big Apple, PN, Domicile, Hot Club, Piper Club, Tiffany, Germany's first large-scale disco Blow Up and the underwater nightclub Yellow Submarine as well as many bars such as Schwabinger 7 or Schwabinger Podium, has lost much of its nightlife activity in the last decades, mainly due to gentrification and the resulting high rents. It has become the city's most coveted and expensive residential district, attracting affluent citizens with little interest in partying.
Since the mid-1990s, the Kunstpark Ost and its successor Kultfabrik, a former industrial complex that was converted to a large party area near München Ostbahnhof in Berg am Laim, hosted more than 30 clubs and was especially popular among younger people and residents of the metropolitan area surrounding Munich. The Kultfabrik was closed at the end of the year 2015 to convert the area into a residential and office area. Apart from the Kultfarbik and the smaller Optimolwerke, there is a wide variety of establishments in the urban parts of nearby Haidhausen. Before the Kunstpark Ost, there had already been an accumulation of internationally known nightclubs in the remains of the abandoned former Munich-Riem Airport.
Munich nightlife tends to change dramatically and quickly. Establishments open and close every year, and some survive only a few months, while others last many years. Beyond the already mentioned venues of the 1960s and 1970s, nightclubs with international recognition in recent history included Tanzlokal Größenwahn, Atomic Cafe, Ultraschall, KW – Das Heizkraftwerk, Natraj Temple and Babalu Bar. From 1995 to 2001, Munich was also home to the Union Move, one of the largest technoparades in Germany.
Munich has two directly connected gay quarters, which basically can be seen as one: Gärtnerplatzviertel and Glockenbachviertel, both part of the Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt district. Freddie Mercury had an apartment near the Gärtnerplatz and transsexual icon Romy Haag had a club in the city centre for many years.
Munich has more than 100 night clubs and thousands of bars and restaurants within city limits.
Some notable nightclubs are: popular techno clubs are MMA Club (Mixed Munich Arts), Blitz Music Club, Harry Klein, Rote Sonne, Grinsekatze, Bullitt, Bahnwärter Thiel, Bob Beaman, Pimpernel, Charlie and Palais. Popular mixed music clubs are Call me Drella, Cord, Wannda Circus, Theaterfabrik, Tonhalle and Backstage. High society clubs are the P1 and Pacha Munich. Some notable bars (pubs are located all over the city) are Charles Schumann's Cocktail Bar, Havana Club, Sehnsucht, Bar Centrale, Ksar, Holy Home, Eat the Rich, Negroni, Die Goldene Bar and Bei Otto (a bavarian-style pub).
The Circus Krone based in Munich is one of the largest circuses in Europe. It was the first and still is one of only a few in Western Europe to also occupy a building of its own.
Munich is a leading location for science and research with a long list of Nobel Prize laureates from Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1901 to Theodor Hänsch in 2005. Munich has become a spiritual centre already since the times of Emperor Louis IV when philosophers like Michael of Cesena, Marsilius of Padua and William of Ockham were protected at the emperor's court. The Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) and the Technische Universität München (TU or TUM), were two of the first three German universities to be awarded the title elite university by a selection committee composed of academics and members of the Ministries of Education and Research of the Federation and the German states (Länder). Only the two Munich universities and the Technical University of Karlsruhe (now part of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) have held this honour, and the implied greater chances of attracting research funds, since the first evaluation round in 2006.
Grundschule in Munich:
Gymnasiums in Munich:
Realschule in Munich:
International schools in Munich:
The Max Planck Society, an independent German non-profit research organisation, has its administrative headquarters in Munich. The following institutes are located in the Munich area:
Munich has the strongest economy of any German city and the lowest unemployment rate (3.0% in June 2014) of any German city of more than a million people (the others being Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne). The city is also the economic centre of southern Germany. The initiative "Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft (INSM)" (New Social Market Economy) and the magazine WirtschaftsWoche (Business Weekly) awarded Munich the top score in its comparative survey for the third time in June 2006. Munich topped the ranking of the magazine Capital in February 2005 for the economic prospects between 2002 and 2011 in 60 German cities.
Munich is a financial centre and a global city and holds the headquarters of Siemens AG (electronics), BMW (car), MAN AG (truck manufacturer, engineering), Linde (gases), Allianz (insurance), Munich Re (re-insurance), and Rohde & Schwarz (electronics). Among German cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants, purchasing power is highest in Munich (€26,648 per inhabitant) as of 2007. In 2006, Munich blue-collar workers enjoyed an average hourly wage of €18.62 (ca. $20).
The breakdown by cities proper (not metropolitan areas) of Global 500 cities listed Munich in 8th position in 2009. Munich is also a centre for biotechnology, software and other service industries. Munich is also the home of the headquarters of many other large companies such as the aircraft engine manufacturer MTU Aero Engines, the injection moulding machine manufacturer Krauss-Maffei, the camera and lighting manufacturer Arri, the semiconductor firm Infineon Technologies (headquartered in the suburban town of Neubiberg), lighting giant Osram, as well as the German or European headquarters of many foreign companies such as McDonald's and Microsoft.
Munich has significance as a financial centre (second only to Frankfurt), being home of HypoVereinsbank and the Bayerische Landesbank. It outranks Frankfurt though as home of insurance companies such as Allianz and Munich Re.
Munich is the largest publishing city in Europe and home to Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany's largest daily newspapers. The city is also the location of the programming headquarters of Germany's largest public broadcasting network, ARD, while the largest commercial network, Pro7-Sat1 Media AG, is headquartered in the suburb of Unterföhring. The headquarters of the German branch of Random House, the world's largest publishing house, and of Burda publishing group are also in Munich.
The Bavaria Film Studios are located in the suburb of Grünwald. They are one of Europe's biggest and most famous film production studios.
Franz Josef Strauss International Airport (IATA: MUC, ICAO: EDDM) is the second-largest airport in Germany and seventh-largest in Europe after London Heathrow, Paris Charle de Gaulle, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Madrid and Istanbul Atatürk. It is used by about 34 million passengers a year, and lies some 30 km (19 mi) north east of the city centre. It replaced the smaller Munich-Riem airport in 1992. The airport can be reached by suburban train lines S8 from the east and S1 from the west of the city. From the main railway station the journey takes 40–45 minutes. An express train will be added that will cut down travel time to 20–25 minutes with limited stops on dedicated tracks. A magnetic levitation train (called Transrapid), which was to have run at speeds of up to 400 km/h (249 mph) from the central station to the airport in a travel time of 10 minutes, had been approved, but was cancelled in March 2008 because of cost escalation and after heavy protests. Lufthansa opened its second hub at the airport when Terminal 2 was opened in 2003.
In 2008, the Bavarian state government granted a license to expand Oberpfaffenhofen Air Station located west of Munich, for commercial use. These plans were opposed by many residents in the Oberpfaffenhofen area as well as other branches of local Government, including the city of Munich, which took the case to court. However, in October 2009, the permit allowing up to 9725 business flights per year to depart from or land at Oberpfaffenhofen was confirmed by a regional judge.
Despite being 110 km (68 mi) from Munich, Memmingen Airport has been advertised as Airport Munich West. After 2005, passenger traffic of nearby Augsburg Airport was relocated to Munich Airport, leaving the Augsburg region of Bavaria without an air passenger airport within close reach.
München Hauptbahnhof is the main railway station in the city. It is one of the three long distance stations in Munich, the others being München Ost and München-Pasing. München Hauptbahnhof sees about 450,000 passengers a day, which puts it on par with other large stations in Germany, such as Hamburg Hauptbahnhof and Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof. It and München Ost are two of in all 21 stations in Germany classified by Deutsche Bahn as a category 1 station. The mainline station is a terminal station with 32 platforms. The subterranean S-Bahn with 2 platforms and U-Bahn stations with 6 platforms are through stations.
The first Munich station was built about 800 metres to the west in 1839. A station at the current site was opened in 1849 and it has been rebuilt numerous times, including to replace the main station building, which was badly damaged during World War II.
For its urban population of 2.6 million people, Munich and its closest suburbs have one of the most comprehensive and punctual systems in the world, incorporating the Munich U-Bahn (underground railway), the Munich S-Bahn (suburban trains), trams and buses. The system is supervised by the Munich Transport and Tariff Association (Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund GmbH). The Munich tramway is the oldest existing public transportation system in the city, which has been in operation since 1876. Munich also has an extensive network of bus lines.
The extensive network of subway and tram lines assist and complement pedestrian movement in the city centre. The 700m-long Kaufinger Strasse, which starts near the Main train station, forms a pedestrian east-west spine that traverses almost the entire centre. Similarly, Weinstrasse leads off northwards to the Hofgarten. These major spines and many smaller streets cover an extensive area of the centre that can be enjoyed on foot and bike. The transformation of the historic area into a pedestrian priority zone enables and invites walking and biking by making these active modes of transport comfortable, safe and enjoyable. These attributes result from applying the principle of "filtered permability", which selectively restricts the number of roads that run through the centre. While certain streets are discontinuous for cars, they connect to a network of pedestrian and bike paths, which permeate the entire centre. In addition, these paths go through public squares and open spaces increasing the enjoyment of the trip (see image). The logic of filtering a mode of transport is fully expressed in a comprehensive model for laying out neighbourhoods and districts – the Fused Grid.
The main railway station is Munich Hauptbahnhof, in the city centre, and there are two smaller main line stations at Pasing, in the west of the city, and Munich Ostbahnhof in the east. All three are connected to the public transport system and serve as transportation hubs.
ICE highspeed trains stop at Munich-Pasing and Munich-Hauptbahnhof only. InterCity and EuroCity trains to destinations east of Munich also stop at Munich East. Since 28 May 2006 Munich has been connected to Nuremberg via Ingolstadt by the 300 km/h (186 mph) Nuremberg–Munich high-speed railway line.
The trade fair transport logistic is held every two years at the Neue Messe München (Messe München International).
The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Munich, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 56 min. 11% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 10 min, while 6% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 9.2 km, while 21% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.
Munich is an integral part of the motorway network of southern Germany. Motorways from Stuttgart (W), Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Berlin (N), Deggendorf and Passau (E), Salzburg and Innsbruck (SE), Garmisch Partenkirchen (S) and Lindau (SW) terminate at Munich, allowing direct access to the different parts of Germany, Austria and Italy.
Traffic, however, is often very heavy in and around Munich. Traffic jams are commonplace during rush hour as well as at the beginning and end of major holidays in Germany. There are few "green waves" or roundabouts, and the city's prosperity often causes an abundance of obstructive construction sites. Other contributing factors are the extraordinarily high rates of car ownership per capita (multiple times that of Berlin), the city's historically grown and largely preserved centralised urban structure, which leads to a very high concentration of traffic in specific areas, and sometimes poor planning (for example bad traffic light synchronisation and a less than ideal ring road).
Cycling has a strong presence in the city and is recognised as a good alternative to motorised transport. The growing number of bicycle lanes are widely used throughout the year. Munich cyclists have a reputation for being quite daring or even careless, being frequently seen as a nuisance by drivers, especially when their numbers multiply in the warmer months. Cycle paths can be found alongside the majority of sidewalks and streets, although the newer and/or renovated ones are much easier to tell apart from pavements than older ones. The cycle paths usually involve a longer route than by the road, as they are diverted around objects, and the presence of pedestrians can make them quite slow.
A modern bike hire system is available within the area bounded by the Mittlerer Ring.
The Munich agglomeration sprawls across the plain of the Alpine foothills comprising about 2.6 million inhabitants. Several smaller traditional Bavarian towns and cities like Dachau, Freising, Erding, Starnberg, Landshut and Moosburg are today part of the Greater Munich Region, formed by Munich and the surrounding districts, making up the Munich Metropolitan Region, which has a population of about 6 million people.
South of Munich, there are numerous nearby freshwater lakes such as Lake Starnberg, Ammersee, Chiemsee, Walchensee, Kochelsee, Tegernsee, Schliersee, Simssee, Staffelsee, Wörthsee, Kirchsee and the Osterseen (Easter Lakes), which are popular among the people of Munich for recreation, swimming and watersports and can be quickly reached by car and a few also by Munich's S-Bahn.