Munich is one of Germany’s biggest and most popular cities to visit. The Bavarian culture, the white-and blue flag, the traditional costumes, and the Oktoberfest are entities of a metropole which are often copied all around the world. But exploring the city and getting to know its landmarks and history will only teach you about the more formal aspects of Munich. Here are twelve facts about Munich you probably didn’t know about:
1. The oldest building is a bathroom
What a surprise! Usually one would expect the oldest building in a city or town to be a church. Not so in the case of Munich. During archaeological excavations at the Marienhof, workers found a latrine from 1260. The toilette was located outside the primary city gates, showing that the Munich of the 13th century was already bigger than historians had thought so far.
2. It harbours the oldest cinema in the world
The Neues Kino Gabriel is most likely the oldest cinema in the world. It has existed since 1906 and it’s been open ever since. The Guinness Book of World Records names the Pionier Cinema in the Polish Szczecin as the oldest cinema, however it wasn’t established until 1907.
3. It gave Jugendstil its name
The architectural style Jugenstil was established in the city of Munich. The eponym was the magazine Jugend, edited since 1896 by Georg Hirth. There are several Jugendstil buildings in the city districts of Schwabing, Neuhausen or Haidhausen.
4. BMW has its own zip code
The well-established and popular car manufacturer BMW does not only have its headquarters in Munich, it even has the luxury of having its own zip code. The digits that no other address has are 80788.
5. There is a music loop at the metro station
Since the year 2000, the same twelve pieces of music have been playing in 300-minute loops at the metro stations Odeonsplatz and Goetheplatz. This might be fascinating to visitors, but locals probably don’t even notice the music anymore.
6. You can draw a straight line to Mecca
Interesting fun fact. If you would draw a straight line from the north tower of the Frauenkirche to the tower of the Heilig-Geist-Kirche and extend that line over 5000 kilometres, you would end up in the city of Mecca, a holy place to Islam.
7. It provides the intro to a famous TV series
Within the German speaking Europe, few TV shows are so famous and long living as Tatort, a multi-location and cast crime show. Equally famous is the intro, in which a pair of legs are running through the picture. These shots were filmed in Munich’s old airport Riem.
8. The first photograph in Germany was taken here
Two Munich scientists, Carl August von Steinheil and Franz Ritter von Kobell, shot a photograph of the Frauenkirche, the most famous landmark of Munich, months before the photographic process of daguerreotype was introduced in France in 1939. The negative of the film roll still exists today. The four-centimetre wide relict can be marvelled at in the Deutsche Museum in Munich.
9. Plasticine was invented in Munich
Plasticine is a modern integrant in any child’s toy repertoire. The fun for modelling was invented in Munich. Pharmacist Franz Kolb owned a pharmacy in the city, and his invention was intended for his artist friends, who had problems using modelling clay in the cold winter months for their work. Nowadays, it has moved past its intended purpose to become a constant companion to any person’s childhood.
10. A pretzel is included in a church fresco
The Heilig-Geist-Kirche is located at the Viktualienmarkt since the 13th century. The church is decorated with a gothic-baroque fresco under the ceiling, and has one tiny, funny detail. It shows a man, dressed in blue, holding a pretzel. The picture illustrates the so-called “pretzel donation”. In the 13th century, a charitable “pretzel knight” provided the poor citizens once a year with free baked goods.
11. The escalators pick up speed during Oktoberfest
Millions of people join the best-known festivity of Munich every year — the Oktoberfest. The management of such huge crowds is a challenge to the municipality and the tourism sector. One fun fact of how the city attends to the amounts of people that pass through it is the resetting of the escalator speed. In order to get people more quickly from A to B, the escalator speed is increased during Oktoberfest. While you’re waiting for this year’s edition, check out 10 places to drink a beer in Munich.
12. Jimmy Hendrix smashed his first guitar here
The American guitar player and singer Jimmy Hendrix is still considered as one of the best in his field to have ever lived. He sadly even made it into the famous “Club 27”, a posthumous collective term for a group of talented musicians who died too early at age 27. One other thing than playing his guitar, that Hendrix is famous for, is the smashing of his instrument on the stage. He first included this act into a concert on November 9, 1966, when he was playing in the Munich club, Big Apple.
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Did you know any of these facts about Munich? Which ones took you by surprise? Let us know in the comments. And remember: if you need student accommodation, you’ll find the perfect student home on Uniplaces. We have rooms in Munich!