Although it is still a relatively young city, Munich’s charisma extends far beyond the Bavarian borders. Around the 11th century a few monks settled on the Isar – hence the name (apud Munichen – with the monks). Because of its strategic location at a bridge and also at the intersection of two trade routes, the city soon became the residence of the Wittelsbach family who reigned as dukes, electors and kings of Bavaria. The city experienced a boom in the Baroque era and finally also in the 20th century. Munich became the capital of Art Nouveau – but also of the National Socialist movement. In 1919 Hitler already tested the demonic effect of his speeches in the Hofbräukeller. Although Munich is a high-tech location today, the Bavarian folklore is lovingly cared for, especially in the last week of September when the Oktoberfest beer festival takes place.
Biggest festival in the world on the Oktoberfest site, the Theresienwiese
To mark of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese on 12 October 1810 a grand celebration was held in Munich, thereafter to be repeated annually. In 1813 the festivities were canceled because Bavaria was involved in the Napoleonic Wars. After that the Oktoberfest grew from year to year. Climbing trees, bowling lanes and swings were added. In 1818 the first carousel was erected. The Munich city council took over the organization of the festivities in 1819. In the late 19th century, the Oktoberfest developed more and more into the folk festival known all over the world today. It was extended in time and brought forward to coincide with the Indian Summer (Altweibersommer) – the usually beautiful and warm last days of September. For the Oktoberfest, the Munich breweries brew a special beer, which must have an original wort of at least 13.5% and contain about 5.8% to 6.4% alcohol by volume.
Romantic Road: From Munich to the Rhine Valley