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    Myths and legends of Munich

    Reveal some of the best kept secrets of Munich’s old town...


    A brewery or rather a beer hell? Formerly a brewery, the oldest brewery in Munich has a hectic history. A little gross too. Originally designed without toilets like any ordinary brewery, it gradually expanded and became a gathering place for beer lovers. The poor men wouldn’t even let the lack of toilets keep them from enjoying their beloved drink. To empty their bladder, visitors to Hofbräuhaus had no choice but to use the outdoor gutters.

    However, it was risky to leave their seats next to long tables, and often they would come back to see their cup of beer and their seats would be taken.  By necessity, the invention is created!  As they got tired of losing their seat to someone else, they started doing their business under the table!  To warn people in front of the imminent danger of splashing, they invented another invention of a cane to hit people sitting at the table! No one appreciated the bruises that resembled those of the Black Plague and so they decided to give the cane a makeover.  The improved cane contained a channel inside with the main purpose of channeling urine into the ditches under the table.  Fortunately, modern times have seen the birth of the toilet and nowadays Hofbräuhaus has a toilet for every sex.


    The Four Lions of the Residence

    The magnificent residence of the Bavarian kings and dukes still occupies an important place in the old town. Guarded by four lions day and night, the castle is always a favorite place for tourists. It is rare that a bystander misses the opportunity to touch the lions and rub his head for good luck. Not everyone knows that these famous lions have a very special role! The four lions of the Residence are no less than treasurers of virtue! Representing the four cardinal virtues that every leader of a state should have: Prudence, Justice, Strength, and Temperament.

    Prudence - The leader must know how to lead and lead his people through difficult times.  This is symbolized by an image of a ship on the shield held by a lion.

    Justice - The coat of arms held by the second lion have a bright sun representing the light in judgment so necessary by a just leader.

    Strength - The sharp rock shaken by rising waves, represented on the shield held by the third lion, shows the strength that a perfect sovereign must possess.

    Temperament - A clock engraved on the shield held by the fourth lion suggests that the perfect rule must be patient and intelligent enough to recognize the ideal time for a decision.

     The Four Lions of the Residence


    The imposing city hall of Marienplatz can mislead you and make you believe that it is an old building.  The truth is, it was erected only a little over a hundred years ago.  Built in neo-Gothic style, this symbol of Munich looks truly spectacular.  The elaborate façade hides many details inspired by the Middle Ages that contain some of the most interesting myths and legends of Munich.

    A dragon statue glances at passers-by in Wurmeck, the western corner of City Hall, but the name is not new.  It dates back to the seventeenth century when black death ravaged Europe and killed more than 7,000 Munich citizens.  It was believed that a huge wingless dragon flew over the city and brought the plague with its poisoned breath.  Several brave men managed to kill the monster with a cannon shot at the very place where Wurmeck is today.  If you get close enough, you will see not only the statue of the dragon but also the statues of the people who are running for their lives and the brave dragon killers who saved the city.


    Putti at the Column of Saint Mary

    Saint Mary is the most revered figure in the Bavarian religious pantheon.  A gold pillar dedicated to Patrona Bavariae was placed in Marienplatz, the main square of Munich named after it.  The curious thing is the addition of four putti, infant cherubim armed typical of the Baroque period.  The four victorious angels are there to fight the evils that followed the Thirty Years' War that ravaged Europe: famine, plague, war and heresy, represented by a dragon, basil, lion and snake.  The pillar is the preferred meeting point in the old city of Munich.

    Putti à la Colonne de Sainte Marie


    Germany is home to the Old Salt Road, the main medieval network of trade routes that were used for the transport of salt, the white gold of the past that made many people rich at the time. A well-to-do German couple decided to pay it back to society by giving free pretzels to the poor and homeless in Munich once a year. A rider on a grey horse rode in the city and shared pretzels with the poor. One year, the rider did not have enough food for everyone and the raging crowd took him off the horse and attacked him. It is still represented in some frescoes in the churches of the old city of Munich. Literally translated, brezenreiter means a rider with pretzels.

    A rider with pretzels.


    Once upon a time, there was a renowned goldsmith in Munich whose workshop was at the west tower of the old fortification of the city.  According to legend, the unhappy silversmith was commissioned by a prosperous man to create an expensive piece of jewelry.  One day, the precious jewel simply disappeared.  Naturally, everyone blamed him on the poor silversmith and he was sentenced to an unjust death.

    While the man was being taken through the tower of the door, also known as Schöner Turm (a beautiful tower), to be executed, he shouted: 'One day you will discover the truth, you will realize that I am not guilty! Shortly after the execution, they found a Jackdaw’s nest on the tower and said there was a jewel. It is believed that even today the souls of unjustly executed people still roam the region. Be careful at night.

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