Arrived in Munich from Nuremberg in the late morning and went directly to the Alte Pinakothek whose collection goes back to Wilhelm IV from 1508 to 1550 so over centuries an impressive collection has been assembled. The three to four hours were well spent in this museum.

The Rogier van der Weyden altar piece is the finest in the collection.

What intrigued me was not only the color and composition but also the small crucifix above the child Jesus. A small detail that one has to find; however it is the key that unlocks the unity of crib and cross.

Detail of van der Weyden altar piece

Detail of van der Weyden altar piece

Here are a few more paintings fitting the season.


Leonardo Da Vinci, Maria mit Dem Kinde

Fra Filippo Lippi, Annunciation


On my way to the museum I stopped by the Theatinerkirche which stands next to Feldherrnhalle. It is a magnificent baroque church whose construction ended in 1690. The picture of the church after the 1945 bombing and then comparing it to the church of today reminds one of the awesome task of reconstruction.
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Organ at St. Michael (upper church)

Leaving the Pinakothek I walked to the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, which is a Baroque church dedicated to the Trinity. It is one of the few historic buildings that avoided the bombing of 1945.

Michaelskirche is truly a monumental church from the late 16th century. I was overwhelmed when I walked in because it massive. I read that the barrel vaulting is second largest after Saint Peter in Rome.

From there I walked over to Bürgersaal and entered the lower church which is a shrine to Father Rupert Mayer who was an opponent of Nazism. He was beatified in 1987.

Tomb of blessed Ruppert Mayer

Tomb of blessed Ruppert Mayer

The Bürgersaal was built in the early 1700 for a Marian congregation. Although it was heavily damaged in the 1945 bombings the church still features original frescos.
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From there I walked to Karlstor which is the west entrance and part of the medieval fortifications.

I continued the walk down Neuhauser Strasse where the major Christmas market is set up. There were many booths selling Nativity scenes which is a big part of Munich Christmas culture. The city prides itself that there are 32 costly creches set up in the center city.
As I walked through the market I was stuck by the one selling stars.

Christmas market in Munich.

Christmas market in Munich.

Then on to the Frauenkirche which was partially bombed in 1945 but rebuilt in its Gothic style. The few treasures that escaped the bombing in 1945 are beautifully displayed as well as the monumental tomb of Emperor Ludwig IV of Bavaria.

From there I concluded the evening walk at the Neo Gothic Rathaus which was also rebuilt after the bombings of 1945 in Marienplatz which is Munich’s central square. The facade features the glockenspiel whose bells ring while mechanical knights fight a tournament and a crowd dances. This walk from Karlstor around Marienplatz to the Altes Rathaus in the midst of the Christmas market helps one realize that Munich was a bastion of Catholicism during the Reformation, and its churches witness that is was also a center of the Counter-Reformation that revitalized Catholicism.