Munich Frauenkirche - History and Facts | History Hit

Munich Frauenkirche

Munich, Bavaria, Germany

The Munich Frauenkirche is one of the city’s most iconic sites.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Munich Frauenkirche

A late Gothic, 3-nave hall church, the Munich Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) is one of the city’s most iconic sites. Begun in 1468 over the site of an earlier church, the Munich Frauenkirche was consecrated in 1494. However, it was not until the 16th century that Frauenkirche got its most famous additions: a pair of onion-dome topped towers. Inside, visitors can see fantastic artworks spanning several centuries.

Munich Frauenkirche history

The Gothic cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Munich and officially known as “Zu Unserer Lieben Frau” (Cathedral Of Our Dear Lady). Erected by the Munich-based architect and master builder Jörg von Halsbach in the 15th century, the building was constructed using bricks to save money due to the lack of quarries in the region. Apart from the tops of the two towers, the building was completed in 1488 after 20 years of construction work.

During the War of the Succession of Landshut, cannons were set up on the roofless towers to defend the city against attackers. Their hallmark helmed roofs weren’t added until 1525. The style was adopted from the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, which at the time was thought to be the ancient Solomon’s Temple.

After suffering heavy damage during the air raids of the Second World War, the Frauenkirche was reconstructed between 1948 and 1955 with a plainer design and fewer embellishments. Later stages of renovation saw more ornate features being added on a gradual basis. Today, the cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising.

According to legend, the famous footprint in the entrance hall was made by the devil himself. He made a bet with the master builder for his soul, that there would be no windows in the church. Upon return to the aforementioned place, he could not see any windows at first, as they were covered by the columns. Out of joy at the supposed ignorance of the people, he stamped up and left his footprint in the ground. The legend follows that the breeze that can be felt around the church is the devil still attempting to tear it down after realising his mistake.

Munich Frauenkirche today

Today, the double towers of the Frauenkirche are visible from far and wide, a key characteristic of the Munich skyline. Inside, the nave is 109 meters long, 40 meters wide and 37 meters high and can accommodate an impressive 20,000 people. In 2004, Munich residents voted in a city wide referendum to pass a bill preventing the construction of new buildings in Munich that exceed the height of the Frauenkirche’s 98 metres.

Visitors can visit the magnificent interior and even climb all the way up the south tower for spectacular views of Munich, although be aware that there are 86 steps until the lift!

Getting to Munich Frauenkirche

The site is easily accessible by public transport, the nearest subway station is Marienplatz. The Frauenkirche is on bus route 62.

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