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Munich is the capital city of Bavaria. Within the city limits, Munich has a population of more than 1.4 million, making it the third-most populous city in Germany.
Munich, located at the river Isar in the south of Bavaria, is famous for its beautiful architecture, fine culture, and the annual Oktoberfest beer celebration. Munich's cultural scene is second to none in Germany, with the museums even considered by some to outrank Berlin in quality. Many travelers to Munich are absolutely stunned by the quality of the architecture. Although it was heavily damaged by allied bombing during World War II, many of its historic buildings have been rebuilt and the city center appears mostly as it did in the late 1800s including its largest church, the Frauenkirche, and the famous city hall.
Quality of life
Munich can be consistently found in the top tier of quality-of-life-rankings of world cities. Monocle magazine even named it the world's most livable city in 2010. When Germans are polled about where they would like to live, Munich finds its way consistently at the top of the list. Within proximity of the Alps and some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe, it is not surprising that everyone wants to live here. Add to its benefits the beautiful architecture, especially Baroque and Rococo, green countryside which starts a mere half hour away on the S-Bahn, a beautiful park called Englischer Garten, the two best universities in Germany, a booming economy with global headquarters of many world-class companies, modern infrastructure, extremely low crime and the greatest beer culture on the planet - could there be anything wrong with Munich?
Munich International Airport (MUC) is the second busiest airport in Germany ranks seventh in Europe, handling 38 million passengers per year. Munich airport, which has been named for former Bavarian prime minister Franz Josef Strauß, is a major hub for Lufthansa and the Star Alliance.
Munich International Airport is located 30 km (18 mi) north-east of Munich, close to the town of Freising.
The best way to travel around Munich - without using your own feet - is the public transportation system consisting of suburban trains (S-Bahn), underground trains (U-Bahn), streetcars (Tram), and buses. There is only one ticket system, called MVV, which means you can use all modes of transportation with the same ticket.
Munich's City Center is easily navigable with all the must-sees easy to find by travellers. It is in the heart of Munich, where eyes gaze upon architectural masterpieces like the Neues Rathaus and Frauenkirche, and taste the wonderful Hofbräu beer all the while listening to "Take Me Home Country Roads" in the Hofbräuhaus. Since all suburban trains, subways, and trams have at least one stop in the vicinity of Munich's center, it is a great place to start any day of sightseeing.
What to see
The Odeonsplatz is a square at the southern end of the wide Ludwigstraße boulevard and northern beginning of the historic city center. It comprises the Italian high-Baroque style Theatine Church (Theatinerkirche) to the east, the Field Marshals' Hall (Feldherrnhalle) to the south, and the Munich Residence (Münchner Residenz) to the east of the square.
New City Hall/Glockenspiel (Neues Rathaus), Marienplatz 8. During the summer, a curious sight appears several times a day (11:00, 12:00, 17:00, 21:00) at Marienplatz. Hundreds of tourists begin craning their necks skyward to see the Glockenspiel work its magic on the front facade of the New City Hall (Neues Rathaus). As the automated clockwork figures come out to dance, the bells play and the tourists gape. But the glockenspiel is truly a piece of art - it was built of handmade parts long before automation was the buzzword of the day, and it's still entrancing. While watching the glockespiel from Mariensplatz is obviously free, climbing the bell tower of the city hall isn't.
Mariensäule (Column of Mary), Mariensplatz. A golden statue on a column, located in the middle of Marienplatz. The statue was built in honor of the Virgin Mary to celebrate the sparing of the city from the Swedes in the Thirty Years' War.
Old City Hall, Marienplatz 15. Built in 1474 and rebuilt after World War II to its original state. Today it houses a toy museum (Spielzeugmuseum). Outside you will find a statue of Juliet (Romeo's Juliet) which is a present by Munich's twin town Verona.
Special places to buy
Viktualienmarkt— This large open-air market sells everything from soup to nuts. Just off Marienplatz, generations of market families continue to hawk their wares from the same location. There are open air fruit and vegetable stands similar to those scattered around the city, as well as closed stands and little year-round trinket shops. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon on the way to and from work, Munich women stop by the market to pick up something from dinner - during midday it's a bit slower and therefore better for browsing.
Kaufingerstraße & Neuhauser Straße— Located between Marienplatz and Stachus, it is one of the main shopping streets of Munich. This is the place to go for medium range to high end clothing retail, however, there are plenty more stores than just clothing stores like the large retailers Karstadt and Kaufhof.
What to do
Oktoberfest — The first Oktoberfest took place on the 12 October 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. All citizens of Munich were invited to a meadow (Wies'n) situated in front of the city tower, subsequently renamed the Theresienwiese in honor of the bride.
Maibaumaufstellen — On the 1st of May (which is a public holiday in Germany) strange things happen in some Upper Bavarian villages and even in Munich... Men in Lederhosn and girls in Dirndln carrying long poles meet on the central square. With these poles an even longer white-blue pole is erected. There is usually an oompah band playing, booths selling food and drinks and tables where you can sit down and enjoy this non-touristy spectacle. The large white-blue pole you find in almost every village and dozens in Munich (e.g. on the Viktualienmarkt) is called Maibaum (meaning may tree - known in English as a maypole) and the villages compete who has the tallest and the straightest one.