Our time in Munich is rapidly coming to an end, as tomorrow morning we fly to Paris, which will be the final stop on our journey this year. So today we decided to visit a few more sights with Peter and Rosita, who have graciously volunteered to act as our private tour guides for the last ten days!
We met them at 10:00 AM on the Königsplatz ("King's Square"), a sprawling square on the western side of Munich that was built in the style of European Neoclassicism in the 19th-century. Today it's a focal point of the city's cultural life, with the surrounding area home to many museums and galleries.
As we popped-up from the U-bahn station, the monumental size of the Königsplatz became apparent, with blue skies and grassy fields serving as backdrop for three massive buildings that frame the square--the Propylaea (meaning "gate building", finished 1862), which was patterned after the monumental entrance to the Acropolis in Athens; the State Museum of Classical Art, which houses antiquities (1848); and the Glyptothek, built between 1816-1830, which displays ancient Greek and Roman sculpture.
During the nefarious Nazi regime, the Königsplatz would become the setting for mass rallies, military
Former Nazi building where Hitler had an office (now the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich).
parades and even book burnings. Two Honor Temples (Ehrentempel) were erected at the east side of the Königsplatz to "enshrine" the remains of the sixteen Nazis killed in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, who were worshipped by Nazis as martyrs. Both of these temples were demolished by the U.S. Army in 1947.
One building of the Nazi party constructed next to the temples still exists, the Führerbau, where the infamous Munich Agreement was signed in 1938. Today it's a school for music and theatre (Hochschule für Musik und Theater München).
Close to the square, and adjacent to the Führerbau, sat the Brown House, which served as the national headquarters of the Nazi Party. It was largely destroyed by an Allied bombing raid in 1943, and the rubble was cleared away.
In 2005 the government of Bavaria announced that the site would become the home of a Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism. This center finally opened in 2015, and since we were passing by it on our way to the Alte Pinakothek art museum, we made an unscheduled stop and spent the better part of an hour walking around four floors of multimedia exhibits.
Each floor focuses on a particular time period, beginning with the chaotic days after WWI that facilitated the rise of extremist political parties. Several other floors document the fateful and tragic consequences that arose as Munich became the capital of the Nazi movement. Sadly, as some exhibits made painfully clear, the hatred and bigotry that spawned the Nazi movement continue to inspire some extremist groups to this day.
After continuing our walk to the Alte Pinakothek museum, Peter and Rosita pointed out the complex of buildings that comprise the Technical University of Munich (TUM) (Technische Universität München) campus, which is one of the most notable institutes of technology in Germany.
They suggested we use the elevators to reach the rooftop viewing deck, where there is a small outdoor terrace and snack bar with a panoramic view of the city. Peter ordered some sort of fruity drinks, served in ice-filled glass mugs, which were the perfect refreshments as we lingered awhile on the sun-soaked terrace and surveyed the Munich skyline. By the time we descended to street level, and reached the main entrance to the Alte Pinakothek next door, it was almost 12:30 PM--we had spent so much time
at the Nazi Documentation Center and TUM, that a brief, one hour visit of the museum would have to suffice.
The Alte Pinakothek is one of the oldest art galleries in the world and houses a significant collection of Old Master paintings. The name Alte (Old) Pinakothek refers to the time period covered by the collection—from the 14th- to the 18th-century. The nearby Neue Pinakothek covers 19th-century art, and the Pinakothek der Moderne exhibits modern art.
While Peter and Rosita visited a nearby exhibition, we entered the museum. Dee remained on the ground floor, while I ascended the monumental stair cases leading to the first floor, where I focused my attention on some German, Dutch, and Italian masters (particularly from the Renaissance era). As is the case with the Louvre (Paris) and the Hermitage (St. Petersburg, Russia), the number of works on display is as staggering as it is overwhelming.
I was able to locate some famous paintings by da Vinci, Rubens, Titian, Rembrandt, Botticelli and Raphael as I walked through a dozen or so rooms of the gallery that runs the entire length of this impressive museum. However, before I knew it, an hour had passed,
Rosita and Peter
so I hustled downstairs where Dee, Peter and Rosita were waiting. By this time, it was 1:30 PM and stomachs were growling, so Peter found a place nearby the museum where we could have a farewell lunch.
The Brasserie Tresznjewski, with its eclectic decor and mainly Bavarian menu, turned out to be a nice experience. After lunch Peter and Rosita accompanied us on a street car ride back to the stop nearest our apartment, then walked with us a bit before we said our farewells to these two very special people.
They were kind enough to take us under their wings during our stay, and without the moments, places and conversations we shared together, our experience in Munich would not have been as rewarding as it turned out to be. So, we thank them both for the memories we will treasure always, while sending them hugs, kisses, and an open invitation to visit us in Florida in the near future! Wir lieben euch beide!
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