The picturesque square known as Marienplatz has been at the heart and soul of Munich since the city's foundation. While its current name owes its origins to the famous Marian Column located in the centre of the square, it was originally called Schrannenplatz, or Grain Market Square, as it was the main marketplace in the Middle Ages.
Marienplatz has played host to important public events and festivities for as long as it has existed, and over the years it has managed to maintain its role as one of the most beloved areas of Munich.
Strolling through the square
Marienplatz today is surrounded by some of the city's most emblematic places of interest:
- Mariensäule, or Column of St Mary: erected in the centre of the square in 1638 in celebration of the end of the Swedish occupation, the towering column is topped with a golden statue of the Virgin Mary and surrounded by four cupids symbolising Munich's triumph over war, the plague, heresy and famine.
- Neues Rathaus, or New Town Hall: a striking Neo-Gothic building that has been home to the city's government offices since it opened in 1874. You can climb its tower for views over Munich for just €3.
- Rathaus Glockenspiel: as well as grotesque gargoyles and a turret-climbing dragon, the Neues Rathaus's façade also features a glockenspiel. Every day at 11 am and 12pm (and 5 pm in summer) the 43 bells and 32 figures of this elaborate "cuckoo clock" re-enact a historical tournament and the Schäfflertanz, or cooper's dance.
- Altes Rathaus, or Old Town Hall: with more than 500 years of history and many stories surrounding it, the former government building has conserved Medieval look despite several reconstructions over the years.
- Fischbrunnen: this fountain, located in front of the New Town Hall, can trace its history back to the Middle Ages. The current Fischbrunnen was designed in 1864 and rebuilt after being destroyed in World War II, and it remains one of the city's most popular meeting points.
Enchanting & unmissable
The heart and soul of the Altstadt (Old Town), Marienplatz is Munich, and it deserves to be enjoyed. Plan your visit around the chimes of the Glockenspiel!