The official Frauenkirche, the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Der Dom zu unserer lieben Frau), is the main church in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, in southern Germany. This is the largest Gothic church in southern Germany.
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The recognizable silhouette of the church with two towers has long been the hallmark of Munich. Frauenkirche is located in the very center of the city, next to the Marienplatz square.
The history of the Frauenkirche dates back to the 13th century, when the growing city began to be missed by Peterskirche. In the north of the city, at the then fortress wall, they decided to build a new church and dedicate it to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Two hundred years later, this church was not big enough.
According to one legend, the then ruling Duke Sigismund, while hunting in the suburban forests, had the idea that Munich lacked a large church, which could be seen from afar, and on which travelers traveling to the city could orient themselves. So Frauenkirche was originally conceived as a symbol of the city.
By the way, the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary is today the tallest building in the historical part of Munich. Such will remain, as the Munich decided at a recent referendum. And in 1468, construction began on a three-nave brick Gothic church.
When the money ran out, Pope Sixtus IV himself came to the rescue, declaring absolution for anyone who undertook a pilgrimage to Munich and made a donation there in the amount of a weekly salary. So the huge Frauenkirche was built in record time – it took only twenty years.
The dimensions of the Frauenkirche are impressive: 109 meters in length, 40 meters in width, 37 meters – the height of the walls, and the height of the towers – 98.5 meters.
The architect Frauenkirche, Jörg von Halspach, specifically chose such proportional sizes, his creation was to resemble a polished diamond and the Temple of the Lord on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Recognizable domes of both church towers were completed only in 1525, their unusual shape for Germany is also associated with a reminder of the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem.
The interior of the cathedral was organized in accordance with the post-Gothic style typical of that time. A visitor who has just entered the premises of the church cannot make a complete impression of the size of the church; at first he sees only rows of white columns supporting the star ceilings of the church. The multi-colored, richly decorated stained-glass windows of the church’s windows on a sunny day are repeatedly bizarrely reflected on white columns, this radiance should have resembled a precious crystal, which is the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
True, in connection with this feature of the Frauenkirche, a completely different legend arose. One of the versions of which says that the church, which was just built, but not consecrated, was very dissatisfied with the devil, and, turning into a man, he went zealously to look at it. Since the church was still not quite ready, one of its stones was imprinted in one of the stones, and the fact that a spur is clearly visible in the imprint proves who its owner was. So, the devil went into the church and began to laugh out loud, because the church does not have a single window, and left without causing any harm to it. A trace of it is still being shown to all tourists, coming up with new versions of the event.
Imprint of the devil’s foot in Frauenkirch, © Anna_08
Wealthy parishioners and senators made numerous gifts to the Frauenkirche, so in the 16th century, according to the new fashion, the Frauenkirche received numerous Baroque decorations. However, after Frauenkirche received the status of a cathedral in 1821, it was decided to return to the original, strict Gothic interior design.
During World War II, the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary was almost completely destroyed. Recovery took a decade.
One of the main attractions of Frauenkirche is the cenotaph (that is, a tombstone without a grave) of Kaiser Ludwig IV of Bavaria. Cenotaph is located near the main entrance, on the right side. The magnificent monument to the great Wittelsbach was made in 1622 by Hans Krumper, commissioned by Duke Maximilian I.
The cenotaph is richly decorated with symbols and bronze figures of the dukes and Kaisers from the Wittelsbach dynasty. A large crown crowns the monument, once again emphasizing that we are talking about the emperor. The royal origin of the clan was extremely important for Maximilian I, and the crown on the monument, as, incidentally, the monument itself, did not appear by chance, since at that time the duke waged a fierce struggle for the inheritance of the Spanish crown.