Marienplatz is Munich’s most famous plaza and is located in the heart of the Old Town.

Marienplatz has been the physical and cultural center of Munich since 1158. It is currently named after the Marian Column located in the center of the square but it was originally call Schrannenplats or Grain Market Square because it was the main marketplace in the Middle Ages.

In addition to being the site of the Old and New Town Halls, the popular city square is the site of important public events and festivities.

Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)

The first thing that you will notice when entering into Marienplatz is the massive Neues Rathaus building. It is 300 ft. long and has an elaborately decorated façade with turrets, arches and hundreds of statues. The architecture looks like it was built in the Middle Ages but it was constructed between 1867 and 1909. The upper tower has nice views over Munich and is open for the public to climb of just €3.

Statues span the entire length of the building on multiple floors. Pictures of a few of the statues are shown in the photos below.

Rathaus Glockenspiel

The Neues Rathaus tower houses the Rathaus Glockenspiel. The clock has a show every day at 11 a.m. and at noon. The plaza fills up as crowds gather in front of the tower to hear the 43 bells of the Glockenspiel chime and to watch the 32 life sized figures reenact historical Bavarian events. At the end of the show a golden bird chirps 3 times.

There are two levels of action figures to watch during the show. The upper level has a series of characters doing multiple activities including jousting, playing instruments, carrying flags, swordsmen and court jesters.

The lower level characters hold a rope above their heads and perform a circular celebration dance. The dance is a representation of a traditional barrel maker’s dance that started in 1517. It was started at the end of the Plague in Munich that had taken almost half of Munich’s citizens. The special dance with hoops performed in the streets to make people go out and smile again. The dance is still performed every 7 years in Marienplatz between the 6th of January and Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday to observe the original performance.

Mariensaule (Column of Mary)

In the center of Marienplatz is the Mareinsaule or the Column of Mary which the plaza is named after. The monument was built in 1638 in celebration of the end of the Swedish occupation. On the pedestal of the monument is a statue on each corner representing the city’s overcoming of war, plaque, famine and heresy. The column is topped by the golden statue of Virgin Mary.

Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)

The Altes Rathaus is located on the east side of Marienplatz and served as the town hall for over 500 years. In 1874 the building became too small and Munich’s municipality moved to its current location in the New Town Hall.

The Dust on My Shoes

Marienplatz is a large plaza in the heart of old town Munich. Any visit to Munich’s Old Town will undoubtedly include spending time in Marienplatz. The top feature of the plaza is New Town Hall. It has an amazing façade that will capture your attention with the stunning tower, spires along the front roof line, turrets on the ends of the building and many statues along the entire length of the building.

The most popular attraction is watching the Rathaus Glockenspiel clock show. It is a simple show but it is worth seeing so I suggest planning your visit to Marienplatz during the time of the clock show.

In addition to seeing the plaza, there are restaurants around the plaza the serve al fresco dining and the plaza makes a wonderful setting for enjoying a meal.

I travel to see places and to experience the culture. Marienplatz is a place where you can do both at the same time.

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