Munich (myōō´nĬk), Ger. München (mün´khən), city (1994 pop. 1,255,623), capital of Bavaria, S Germany, on the Isar River near the Bavarian Alps. It is a financial, commercial, industrial, transportation, communications, and cultural center. Its industries produce precision and optical instruments, electrical appliances, clothing, chemicals, motor vehicles, and beer. Munich is also a major center for film production and book publishing, and is home to one of Europe's largest wholesale produce markets. The city is a major tourist and convention center; a new airport handling both domestic and international flights was opened in 1992.
Points of Interest
Among the city's chief attractions are the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), a twin-towered cathedral built from 1468 to 1488; the Renaissance-style St. Michael's Church (1583–97); the Theatinerkirche (17th–18th cent.), a baroque church; Nymphenburg castle (1664–1728), with a porcelain factory (founded 1747) and the nearby Amalienburg (1734–39), a small rococo hunting château; the new city hall (1867–1908); Propyläen (1846–62), a monumental neoclassic gate; and the large English Garden (laid out 1789–1832). The city also has several leading museums, including the Old Pinakothek (built 1826–36), the reconstructed New Pinakothek, and the Modern Pinakothek, which house distinguished collections of art; the Bavarian National Museum (built 1894–99); the Schack-Galerie; the Glyptothek (built 1816–30); and the German Museum, which has wide-ranging exhibits on science, technology, and industry. The seat of an archbishop, Munich has a famous university (founded 1472 at Ingolstadt; transferred in 1802 to Landshut and in 1826 to Munich) in addition to a technical university, a conservatory of music, an opera, numerous theaters, and many publishing houses. Other educational institutions include academies of art, music, military studies, philosophy, film, and television. Munich is also noted for its lively Fasching (Shrove Tuesday) and Oktoberfest (October festival) celebrations. The 1972 Olympic summer games were centered at Munich, and the striking Allianz Arena, with its diamond-patterned polymer skin, is on the city's northern edge.
Situated near a settlement (Munichen) that was established in Carolingian times, Munich was founded (1158) by Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony and of Bavaria. In 1255 it was chosen as the residence of the Wittelsbach family, the dukes of Bavaria; it later became (1506) the capital of the dukedom. During the Thirty Years War, Munich was occupied (1632) by Gustavus II of Sweden. In 1806 the city was made capital of the kingdom of Bavaria. Under the kings Louis I (1825–48), Maximilian II (1848–64), and Louis II (1864–86), Munich became a cultural and artistic center, and it played a leading role in the development of 19th- and 20th-century German painting.
After World War I the city was the scene of considerable political unrest. National Socialism (Nazism) was founded there, and on Nov. 8, 1923, Adolf Hitler failed in his attempted Munich "beer-hall putsch" —a coup aimed at the Bavarian government. Despite this fiasco, Hitler made Munich the headquarters of the Nazi party, which in 1933 took control of the German national government. Michael Cardinal Faulhaber, the archbishop of Munich, was one of the few outspoken critics of the National Socialist regime. In Sept., 1938, the Munich Pact was signed in the city; in 1939 Hitler suppressed a Bavarian separatist plot there. Munich was badly damaged during World War II, but after 1945 it was extensively rebuilt and many modern buildings were constructed.