Thursday, 29 November 2012

Schwabing | Outstanding Jugendstil Art in a Cultural Borough of Munich.



Schwabing is as a sort of magic word linked to a magnificent artistic movement born in Germany, the outstanding Jugendstil art in a cultural borough of Munich, unique in its kind constantly highlighted by a captivating atmosphere, a very special district of one of the most fascinating German cities and visiting that urban marvel it is always a great experience that every tourist has to try once in a lifetime breathing the incomparable atmosphere of a site able to transmit vibrant sensations and marvellous feelings in a while once entered in its boundaries.

That magnificent big neighbourhood of that spectacular Bavarian city represents a piece of considerable history to remember forever for many historical and cultural reasons which marked many very important chronological stages of that stunning metropolis enchanting all Europe and also for that there is not another Schwabing in all that Nation and in the World.

Enclosed within the famous neighbourhoods of Neuhausen, Lehel, Milbertshofen and Maxvorstadt with its current 110,000 inhabitants it became officially a district of Munich in 1890 and since then it began in a very short time to be the cultural core of the major centre of Bavaria becoming one of most famous and favourite destinations for a large variety of prominent  artists, not only Germans but coming from several countries of the world.

The heart of that district was mainly developed in the 19th century around two relevant urban arteries such as Ludwigstrasse and Leopolstrasse which are still today very busy and bustling avenues well known for different kinds of activities arouse along that couple of iconic axes and all that large area enclosed between those emblematic boulevards quickly was transformed in a cultural and artistic cradle with Munich protagonist as epicentre and reference at international scale.

The origin of its name probably derives by Suuapinga which means in modern German language Schwabenland which translatation corresponds to land of solution and also that historic denomination is closely related to the incomparable spirit, soul, profile and essence of that stupendous  metropolitan legend.

The descendants of the famous and historic Swabian dynasty which ruled that land donated that territory to an ecclesiastic Institution consisting in the Monastery of Schäftlarn and later in the current area was also erected a small fortress.

The first official historic documentations certifying the existence of that fascinating and captivating place are dated the late 8th century. It was concretely in 782 when Schwabing was founded reaching in a very short time a notable relevance, a date which is furthermore previous to the official foundation of Munich which took place in the 12th century exactly in  1158.

A walk in that fascinating district is like to enter in a sort of magic place which immediately bewitches everybody generating the desire to discover and learn everything about that superb environment trying to know metre by metre its secrets and attractions including in its most remote corners.

Once there it is enough just a few minutes to understand that you are facing a true mine of culture, art and creativity are visible in a while in its streets, buildings, monuments, taverns and including in the air which spreads something highly appealing and in many cases difficult to explain.

Schwabing is a sort of a little world packed by several marvels and amazing things inside a big world rich of history and full of activities, indisputable landmark of that marvellous Bavarian municipality with an image which transformed itself from a simple rural site in an icon and symbol for the presence in different historic periods of famed thinkers, writers and philosophers who landed there choosing without hesitations that site as residence or returning in its boundaries very often.

A big merit of its successful fame, charm and appeal is undoubtedly due to that artistic movement so called Jugendstil developed in that quarter thanks to a multitude of renowned artists who projected created and developed in architecture, literature and also lifestyle all that which is still extremely alive nowadays showing all around its surface, a strong identity and an unmistakable image inherited since a long time ago extremely different than other neighbourhoods and that is certainly part of what makes that site unique and inimitable.

That charismatic borough was mainly developed with the construction of new superb buildings especially between 1899 and 1901, many of those works were led by the architect Theodor Fischer who launched and used that kind of German Art Nouveau as an instrument of progress, innovation, desire to establish a marked identification of new architectural canons and including a defined philosophical meaning.

That wonderful movement conquered very quickly many people worldwide not only for its magnificent architectural lines which brought a revolution in the entire artistic  panorama but also for its ideas, concepts and philosophy closely related to a contemporary renaissance in that time without equals.

The Jugendstil was in its kind an engine with a special spark able to switch on all the deepest inspirations of every single artist spreading with enthusiasm and fervent passion the immense desire to show the personal talent and skills in an action focused to leave indelible imprints and marks in urban settings with architectural masterpieces but much more in the society.

That district is formed by a dozen of blocks that you can from far to compare to the "apples" “present in several American cities, every corner of Schwabing boasts a very distinctive image of a place with strong own features so far from other city's areas equally beautiful but undoubtedly less appealing and not representing a sort of magnet able to magnetise and capture an immediate interest and all that is an indisputable quality of that emblematic site.

Someone often has compared that neighbourhood as a sort of mix of Greenwich Village of New York, Montmartre or Quarter Latin of Paris, Mala Strana of Prague, Brera of Milan or including in something to the Jordaan of Amsterdam not in terms of architectural profile but for  a very marked artistic spirit and for all what was created about cultural life in those places.

It is not easy to make a comparison among all those captivating realities but you can undoubtedly take something from all those famed bohemian districts of different cities and it is certain you will find similarities and some common aspects but Schwabing is simply Schwabing with all the best and unique things it offers.

Currently, that neighbourhood retains its very distinctive architectural style extremely rooted and greatly preserved with also some beautiful and well conserved Baroque masterpieces but it’s that style called Jugendstil the main protagonist, true artistic portrait of that site extremely successful  yesterday and greatly admired today. 

That kind of movement is classified in an ample niche of arts whose name originates from the magazine Jugend meaning young founded in 1896 by Georg Hirth, a charismatic figure born and bred in Schwabing. eminent journalist, publisher and writer who with his creation had the aim to popularize Art Nouveau and in the same year saw the light even Simplicissimus, a satirical weekly magazine created by Albert Langen and since then both celebrated their success with a strong impact and influence into the entire German society.

That late 19th century was a period mainly characterised by a sublime joie de vivre, enjoying the great intellectual vitality not only artistic but also social, political and philosophical in Schwabing, a site where lived for a period also famed figures as Lenin and Trotsky, two names in that time almost unknown but later able to change the history of their country.

That emergent urban reality was since then studied, admired, loved and taken as example for the relevant and numerous inspirations born there generated by the result of constant and continuous  meetings among characters always ready to produce and launch new ideas and proposals which left impressive and considerable cultural marks in its boundaries  but also transmitted the world several direct deep concepts and messages.

While Jugend was a sort of generator of modernist ideals Simplicissimus also played a role very special, a satirical and also provocative instrument which also thanks to its unusual sarcastic spirit was a great new attraction in the cultural and social life of the Bavarian city entering in the sympathy of the highest cultural spheres day by day with very influential impulses and signals of desire of innovation and in a very short time reaching popularity all Germany as something considered peculiar in some cases for many articles against the Church and the Kaiser but with a clear call to change the country.

That publication was in that time something unique in its kind and it became protagonist in a society which was in those years despite the presence of eminent minds from the other side pretty conservative and sometimes hostile to bohemian movements highlighted by a sharp criticism towards that " new cultural wave "who had a strong desire to mutate the world in a flash including considered by someone too related to revolutionary ideas with their major exponents compared to sort of martians who radically wanted to reverse the reality lived in that time.

The major part of the Jugendstil movement leaders with those new philosophies were not  loved especially by the high social class and the Ecclesiastic environment which often felt themselves derided and considered démodé and frequently challenged to mutate their schemes and visions often classified as totally retro.

For all that and more that Magazine received approvals by the most influential artistic bohemian nomenclature always searching new openings to launch strong signals a bit tired of the same unchanged social situations and it became a fresh intellectual resource highly innovative in a city which already had developed year by year a relevant cultural entourage with a good number of notorious characters ready to be protagonists but probably waiting for the right time to start all together that desired mutation.

Simplicissimus found its cultural headquarter a Literary Cafe which became a frequent destination of prominent figures such as Theodore Heine, Julius Beck, Ludwig Thoma, Frank Wederkind and Olaf Gulbransson among others. Next to them came other influential characters in the 20's such as Thomas Mann, Herman Hesse and Gustav Meyrink and all that created an incredible fascination because that instrument of information and that establishment started to work as a bipolar arm with a base and a means of communication.

They found a notable support in those popular exponents who had a queue of fans in the new generation who saw in that place and publication a sort of rosy future and something which was totally different than other medias poor of contents or gray taverns of that time considered standard and boring with a total lack of enthusiasm

For many young the magazine and that Cafe became the hope to escape from the routine atmosphere of a reality which needed to turn page reading news unique and extremely challenging frequenting a site listening someone very charismatic with innovative ideas.

That iconic Cafe was a sort of emblematic meeting point calling a multitude of other artists and philosophers who loved to express and illustrate their new messages related to literature, art, architecture, politic in a progressive way. It was a cradle of thinkers who in a short time captured the attention of the entire district, in a very short time the city, Germany, Europe with a quickly resonance just a few years later all around the world.

 Schwabing was transformed in a sort of great lively cultural theatre with a multitude of renowned personalities who frequented that Cafe expressing with enthusiasm many new concepts which became the intellectual vocabulary and vademecum of that artistic and philosophical movement linked to the always successful Jugend, all them with a common denominator mainly related to changes, hopes and dreams.

 That site ans magazines represented in their kinds for that borough of Munich as a flag to wave , a kind of coat of arms to exhibit considered venerated emblems for that Jugendtstil all focused to be leader and example to follow with or without utopias highlighted by an extreme creativity applied to the reality with the aim to create an atmosphere which had a simple but marked message saying "all is possible and nothing is impossible".

Schwabing for all that in many cases was the charismatic spirit able to transmit a large mass of ordinary people new realities who started to believe in a new Germany and all that crossed borders with that quarter of Munich reaching a considerable popularity  abroad.

 Unfortunately the Cafe was totally destroyed by the allied bombing in the tragic event linked to the 2nd World War. After the devastation which took place in those sad 40's it was rebuilt and it is visible today at 57 Turkenstrasse identified with the name Alter Simpl. The previous active life continued to be in that new headquarter alive as before despite a new era with many mutations due to the times of the post-war.

There was also apart literature and press movement which together were in their kinds the pioneers of that considerable success as arms of promulgation  also a great boom in architecture thanks to Jugend magazine which was the gateway to create talented emergent architects who developed works which nobody could imagine since then with outstanding masterpieces which conquered Europe in a while.

The Jugendtstil architectural projects were in their kinds the identical expression in art of what represented what people read  launching new innovative lines highlighted by high facades, sinuous outlines and with decorations studied to live in harmony with all what there was around them representing allegoric figures, stained glass windows, different materials and tonalities, all was permitted without to disfigure the urban environment.

The main concept was that to suprise, spreading creative expressions of art leaving marks the human eye could appreciate in a while,all with the mission to transmit joie de vivre also in the aesthetic representations escaping from the past opening a new cycle.

The sacred Jugendstil vademecum said no clons, every artist had to show his skills and true talent able to write an indelible signature visible in a building including in the smallest details as a corner of a pediment, an hidden part of an outline in the upper section of a structure or in lateral section of a side wall too.
 
Unfortunately the war destroyed many important buildings in the district but today you can still admire a good number of beautiful examples of that sumptuous style and all them pretty well preserved. 

Munich Institutions very sensitive in the preservation of that historic, architectural and cultural patrimony of the city it always defended the image of Schwabing which is synonym of  pure art and that cultural district is still greatly conserved with efforts because it is part of the Bavarian, German and the world history yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever.

That neighbourhood in different periods created new generations of artists gaining fame with an impressive presence of poets, intellectuals, musicians, composers, painters including revolutionaries and not just architects, jounalists, philosphers or writers who embellished with their stunning gems or inspired that special quarter.

All that mix of eminent characters and distinguished figures in a sort of unitary movement created the myth of Schwabing. Several prominent minds gave life to that Munich area which was centuries ago a small and peaceful village becoming an icon of the most important Bavarian city which also thanks to that became a cultural capital well known worldwide.

The borough has several attractions starting from the former central Feilitzschplat a wide bustling square later called Münchner Freiheit crossed by the eternally lively avenue Leopoldstrasse.

Its name changed more than once and in 1933 in the period in which the National Socialist Party started to rule Germany the name was Danziger Freiheit which translated means the Freedom of Danzig, the current Polish city of Gdansk once part of Germany.

After the 2nd World War concretely in 1947 the name was further mutated as previously mentioned in Münchner Freiheit in memory of the resistance group Freiheitsaktion Bayern which translated means the Action for Freedom of Bavaria which called all the citizens in an intense rebellion against the regime with a large protest for the total devastation of the city which was waiting for the arrival of the American troops.

The history of that event related to that date is through the horror of those terrible years lived in Munich. That group was composed by approximately 500 people who on April of 1945 occupied the state radio broadcasting advertisements located north of Schwabing
with that action  invited the the inhabitants to  to leave the support of the Third Reich.

All that happened immediately after the former Governement transmitted by radio a message to the population to resist until the end, a message which had as main phrase a no surrender to the enemy but that people wanted a peaceful solution which would prevent further the destruction of the entire city and above all more victims and other tragic undesired events.

The outcome of that act of opposition like many others in that time was almost unfortunate however many years later in the collective memory of Munich runs that history as reminiscent the impetus and the courage to say enough and that is the area in which a tangible scenery evokes the twilight of the 2nd World War.

Münchener Freiheit is for many people a site to remember forever as seat of an act in city which was originally the stronghold of the National Socialist Party since the 30's much more than the capital of the country Berlin.

The square is currently a popular meeting point for locals and tourists, there are some cosy cafes on both sides and in front of one of them was placed a statuedepicting the actor Helmut Fischer called Munich Franze.

During the period of Advent on that iconic urban space is celebrated the beautiful Christmas Market which is undoubtedly a great attraction, a special event which is something unique in its kind for its lively and fascinating atmosphere to live day by day with extreme enthusiasm, an appointment in which Munich next to its famed Oktoberfest shows all its superb beauty and charm, so magic, vibrant and extremely bustling.

Dominated by the image of the futuristic tram station inaugurated in 2009 which is also the terminal of the tram number 23 that relevant cross point is framed by a few examples of Jugendstil architectural masterpieces in particular the house situated at the civic number 151 in Leopolstrasse, a great work linked to that kind of iconic style.

On the north side lies Erlöserkirche the splendid Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer which is the oldest Protestant Church of the district, a Religious building which was built between 1899 and 1901 by the architect Theodor Fischer.

 Münchner Freiheit considered the beating heart of that borough also has its Metro station, a relevant focal point of the Bavarian Capital crossed by the lines 3 and 6 which run in two different directions and it is one of the first tube stations of Munich established in 1971. In 2008 and 2009 it was completely rearranged by a talented lighting designer called Ingo Maurer.

The side walls of the subway station are painted in lemon yellow colour and the pillars in a dark blue ceramic tonality while the colour of the branches were arranged in a kind of mystical manner  stood out with a play of special trendy light. 

The building is projected on the ceiling creating a very attractive atmosphere because it is covered by mirror squares and also in that despite for someone it is a building pretty peculiar it reflects the artistic soul and spirit of Schwabing.

The signs with the name of the station are either in blue, the same colour of the line 6 while the orange is the tonality used for the line 3. Also in that kind of aesthetic choices admiring that place you will understand why that neighbourhood is so special and that view is a simply appetiser before to see the rest of that unique and distinctive borough.

From the station heading south down the street Leopoldstrasse walking for approximately one kilometre you can reach Siegestor, an iconic point of the city lined up the Gate of Victory with a passage packed by busy shops, cosy bars, fine restaurants, interesting bookstores, clubs, famous cinemas, street vendors, a very bustling hallway frequented by thousands of residents and tourists every day.

Over time around Schwabing were created many areas with spaces for wildlife outdoor in locations which are also witnessing of the growth and history of the entire district.

One of them is certainly Luitpold Park, a wide green lung inaugurated in 1911 in honour of the 90 years of the Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria and it is also famous because it became the deposit of rubble after the 2nd World War.

There it can be seen a hill approximately 10,0 metres high made by the remains of destroyed houses transported in that verdant space when the inhabitants were trying to rebuild the city at the end of that infamous historic event of the 40's.

Luitpoldpark was a present which Munich donated the Prince Regent Luitpold in occasion of his birthday in 1911 and instead of a cake with 90 candles was arranged that park with 90 lime trees and a monument consisting in a central Obelisk dedicated to that Royal figure.

In the middle of that large environment you will notice a captivating building consisting in a Baroque house called Bambergerhaus. That construction was originally located in the city of Bamberg and a wealthy merchant of Munich in 20 years cut in pieces it transporting all its sections to the Capital of Bavaria placing that structure once rebuilt in the place you can see nowadays currently hosting a restaurant.

The northern side of that  magnificent huge area consists of a 37, 0 meters high artificial mound created by the rubble of materials and on the top you can see a memorial cross.

That section in addition is submerged in a colony of gardens called Schräbergärten, a beautiful scenic setting in which was established a very big public swimming pool called Georgemschwaige only open during summer season.

Behind the School of Psychology the park continues west of the neighbourhood in proximity of the area corresponding to the district of Neuhausen and not far is situated the iconic Nymphenburg Palace, former summer residence of the Kings of Bavaria, a stunning complex which boasts among the most attractive gardens of the city and Germany.

That immense verdant marvel is one of the largest of the metropolis, it is as marvellous festival of colours in spring, very frequented in summer enjoying  sunny days, pretty romantic in autumn but also very captivating in winter when it is covered by snow.

Another attraction you can not miss is Seehundbrunnen situated in Viktoriaplatz, a very charming square consisting in a fountain which name translated means fountain of the seal, a relevant landmark highlighted by a splendid jet of water.

Erected in 1936 by the sculptor Emil Manz, an artist who was specialised in works representing animals with excellent results as you can admire in that stunning example which is one of his most iconic representations and masterpieces all time.

You can admire another monumental  fountain is located in Ernst Toller Platz, a further superb square of Schwabing and it is that of sieben Zwegen representing the the fairytale seven dwarfs. It was a notable work created by Barbara Hamann and upright in 1999 in front of the Gymnasiums Oskar Von Miller funded by a bequest that the city got from a couple who had decided to build it.

That work consists of seven pointed caps of bronze similar to headgear of fairy midgets and from the top of each comes out a jet of water rather weak.The name refers to Ernst Toller who wrote letters from a prison in which he remained aisled for five years starting in 1919 for having participated in the Bavarian socialist riots. Toller wrote:"I send you a book of fairytale because it frees us from the curse of being nothing more than human being, because the tale is sister to every animal, every flower and every watercourse".

The famous magazine as previously mentioned gave its name to a literary Cafe-Bistro that after being destroyed by bombing was rebuilt with the name Alter Simpl located in Türkenstrasse at the civic number 57 and it is a must deserving a visit for all what it represented for Schwabing. 

Highlighted by its light facade with protagonist a large red bulldog logo placed under its name in gothic characters the interior is very captivating rustic and at the same time very stylish and welcoming highlighted in a spacious environment by appealing smoke-stained walls and trendy dark wooden tables.You can stop there to breathe the atmosphere of that emblematic site enjoying a cool beer or tasting some of its specialities such as the typical Weisswurst, Schweinsbraten, Burgers or a delicious Schnitzel too.

Despite the war destroyed many bars, studios, houses and villas some great masterpieces of stunning Jugendstil were saved, restored and refurbished and today they still show their majestic and stylish architectural image of the past.

 You can see some great examples absolutely outstanding at the following addresses and places  : 11-22 Römerstrasse 11 Ainmillerstrasse, 19 Franz Joseph Strasse, Pacelli Palast at 8-10 Georgenstrasse, 77 Leopoldstrasse and a series of houses overlooking Leopoldpark, all them are among the best works made in Munich and Germany and they worth to be seen of course.

Taking a look to those fabulous buildings you will be certainly delighted, in architecture the Jugendstil movement is in some cases similar for canons, concepts and ideas to the Catalan Modernism but with its own identity. 

That kind of art is an exaltation of applied and graphic arts with the mission to create something of unique and inimitable able to generate a strong visual impact with a respect for the architecture of the past as possible inspiration in determined kinds of lines but with the development and glorification of the new.

The Jugendstil in Germany took partially inspiration from the notorious British movement called Arts & Craft but it was probably much more influenced by the Belgian-French School led by the famed master from Antwerp Henry Van de Velde, architect but also interior designer and painter  very active in his motherland, France  but also with a notable influence in Germany with some relevant works in Weimar, Cologne, Hagen and Jena.

The concept of that magnificent movement is pretty deep starting from the word Jugend which means Youth reflecting something of new and young and stil which means style. That kind of architecture is characterised in the execution of new shapes using abstract phases, with the presence of some hard lines but at the same time soft and highlighted by sinuous curves meeting themselves in points stratetically studied, something without equals and made to surprise at first sight.

Another aspect is that in the final result of a work had to be exalted the sublimation of an individual creativity, a specific imprint of a work linked to that philosophy, elements, details, figures and representations have to be the product of a clever mind, does not exist to copy or to establish a vulgar replica.

In some cases despite the innovative style some artists added to the new something partially taken by the old executed in a modern key as a pediment but decorated and shaped in a different way and you will notice in some examples despite the extreme research of a creative execution of a line  there is also in some details a loyal respect of the most severe symmetry in determined sections of the layout because one of the main concepts it is pure creativity but never bizarre or anomalous inventions.

The Jugendstil was protagonist along all the National territory from Hamburg to Stuttgart but the most important centres and prestigious schools were undoubtedly Munich and Darmstadt.That kind of German Art Nouveau later particularly influenced the Baltic and Scandinavian countries in which born very interesting movements with strong inspirations taken by that movement born and bred in Germany.

That style found in those places for ideas, affinity and urban environments probably some of the most favourite sites to develop new artistic expressions but in many cases the artistic inspirations of those Nordic artists and architects found in the German masters their reference and undoubtedly a great source and example to follow for their more acclaimed works. (I wrote a post about Cat House in Riga linked to that if you are interested)

Leopoldstrasse is another local highlight, a great boulevard which starts from the district of Maxvorstadt leading through the quarter and another neighbourhood called Milbertshofen. It is the extension of Ludwigstrasse until Siegestor where that artery changes name to Leopoldstrasse crossing Münchner Freiheit Platz and leading to the northern suburbs of Munich.

That large and busy avenue as says its name is dedicated to Leopold of Bavaria son of the Prince Regent Luitpold emblematic and historic figure who had a strong and charismatic influence in that Southern German State and member of a dynasty who made the history of the entire land. 

The imposing Sankt Ludwig Kirche Parish and University Church of the borough is another site you cannot miss during the visit of. Elevated during the reign of King Ludwig I by the architect Friedrich von Gärtner, that talented artist assembled a clever and creative mix of styles taking Neo-Romanesque and Byzantine inspirations linking them and honouring with the name of the Saint that iconic Monarch.

The silhouette of that splendid Religious construction is certainly a great attraction, a superb masterpiece because it presents two styles very different for lines and architectural concepts extremely far each other in terms of execution and it is pretty difficult to match in a fusion them but you can admire how all is harmoniously combined making the view absolutely stunning.

Simply beautiful are the twin majestic towers with arched windows and spires perfectly established in symmetry with the central body highlighted by a stupendous high facade boasting a magnificent rose window reminiscent the most finest and classical Romanesque style placed beneath a gable upper section and above a line of five statues inserted in scenic  niches. The lower section is also wonderful with a marvellous portico formed by splendid columns with vaulted arcades in a stylish and refined composition simply outstanding.

Inside you can admire a magnificent fresco The Last Judgement by Peter Cornelius which is the second largest in the world after that one painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti in the famous Sistine Chapel in Rome, great attraction in Vatican.

The square overlooked by the University is named after the Scholl brothers’ members of a student movement born in 1942 and inspired by the Professor Kurt Huber, a teacher of philosophy and member of the Catholic Alliance.

The passive resistance put in place the matrix non-violent and non-military which consisted of an active anti-Nazi propaganda which spread to other German Universities especially in Berlin through a massive sending of letters known as The Letters of the White Rose.

As expected the reaction of the regime was harsh and hard, a 25 years old student of medicine named Hans old and Sofia, a 21 years old student of biology were soon discovered, tried, sentenced to death for high treason and beheaded. On the pave which covers the square are reproduced some written evidence of their courage and initiative while in the main lobby visible is also a memorial and an interesting photographic exhibition.

Siegestor is that majestic monument representing in its kind a sort of triumphal entrance of the borough. It is a clear inspiration taken from the famous Arch of Constantine in Rome and it marks the end of Ludwigstrasse and the beginning of Leopoldstrasse. 

That imposing monument was erected between 1843 and 1852 following a project by Friedrich von Gärtner who was inspired by that famous Roman monumental and imposing construction erected in the Italian capital in honour of an emblematic Emperor and its three arches reminiscent of the architecture of the Feldherrnhalle. That monument was elevated to celebrate the Bavarian army and its role played in the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, a historic event representing a considerable triumph of the history of Bavaria against a powerful enemy.

That stunning gate divides two districts of Munich such as Maxvorstadt at south and at north Schwabing and for all what it historically represents it is certainly one of the most representative landmarks not only of the district but of the entire city.

That impressive construction is storied with reliefs representing scenes of battles and medallions bearing personifications of the provinces of Bavaria such as Upper Bavaria depicting a farm in the Alps, Upper and Middle Franconia with craft works and farming, Low Franconia represented by vineyards, cereals and navigation and also the Upper Palatinate with depicted the symbol of textile products.

The work was studied and executed to represent every corner of the land transmitting the importance of every local territory with their main resources and linked in a unique and unitary monument meaning broterhood, union and strenght.

That majestic masterpiece was commissioned by King Ludwig I with that clear message and it was seriously damaged during the 2nd World War. A large part of the main central body
was largely destroyed during the bombings and it was later partially rebuilt trying to re-give it its original aspect. Some years later in the 50's there was an intense and laborious and today it shines all its splendour just like during its glorious past. 

On the top of the arch you will notice the presence of a statue of Bavaria on a chariot pulled by lions.On it was added an inscription by Wilhelm Hausenstein which says "Dem geweiht Sieg, vom Krieg zerstört, zum Frieden mahnend" which translated means dedicated to the victory, destroyed by the war, a symbol of Peace.

Not far from that local icon you can easily reach the Academy of Fine Arts, a famed Institute which had very distinguished professors and students frequented by prominent people such as Franz von Stuck, Giorgio De Chirico, Paul Klee and Vassilij Kandinsky among others.

At the civic number 36 of Leopoldstrasse is situated the Walking Man an impressive sculpture representing a giant 17,0 metres high and which adorns the facade of the modern Munich Re one of the largest insurers in the world. That historical site of that company is housed in a beautiful building dated the 20th century located in Königinstrasse at the civic number 107.

For all the lovers of Baroque art Schloss Suresnes is certainly a must. It is an enchanting castle located in the famous street Werneckstrasse and also called Werneckschlössl, it is undoubedtly one of the most important constructions erected in that architectural style which as the nearest Austria also influenced several artists of Bavaria.

Situated at short distance of a corner leading to Feilitzschstrasse, it was built between 1715 and 1718 by Johann Baptist Gunetzrhainer taking as model the famed Château de Suresnes situated close to Paris. Erected to host the Secretary of the Cabinet Wilhelm Von Franz who spent some months there during the exile of the Prince Regent Maximilian II Emanuel of Bavaria from 1919 to 1921 it was also the residence of the famous painter Paul Klee while currently is the seat of the Catholic Academy

The streets around that superb palace correspond to the oldest part of the neighbourhood also called Alt Schwabing in which it is possible to discover about 750 small splendid houses and in addition some elegant and stylish Art Nouveau villas so in the case you love fine architecture in that special area you will have the chance to spend all the time you desire enchanted by other different kinds of styles ranging from Baroque, Liberty to most contemporary types of constructions.

Worth a visit Stadtpfarrkirche, the Church dedicated to St. Ursula because that Religious Temple is the second Parish Church of Munich and it is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of Neo-Renaissance Churches established in Germany.

The construction started in the 19th century when Schwabing grew more and more, concretely in 1887 in the times the district was elevated to the rank of city some years before to be incorporated in the Municipality of Munich.

The former Parish Church of medieval origin was located in the heart of the borough and it could no longer hold all the parishioners. The draft of a new structure more spacious and dignified as that younger Sacred seat is located in the new quarter zone south-west of the oldest core of the district were entrusted to August Thiersch and despite it is not old it represents a relevant historic symbol of the neighbourhood.

The new Church was dedicated to that Saint who was already the Patroness giving her name to the old Sacred seat while the other one was dedicated of St. Sylvester.

With the development of that new Sacred construction Thiersch tried to give a appealing image to the quarter and he built a Basilica with three naves in clear Renaissance style by copying inside the Basilica of the Holy Spirit erected in the Tuscan Capital Florence by the famous Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi. Next to that splendid red brick construction was also erected a majestic tower which dominates the entire district.

Towards east lies Englischer Garten, the beautiful English Garden which extends from the neighbourhood reaching the outskirts of another urban territory. Its range covers almost to the northern boundary of the city and south to Talkirche in an area in which is situated Munich Zoo.

It is for its ample size one of the largest parks in the world well known for its natural style stripped of a symmetrical and formal English environmental setting but also linked for inspiration to the style of French gardens for the arrangements of the plants and specific flowered sections.

That site was opened in 1789 by Benjamin Thompson Count Rumford and although the first goal was its creation the project was originally planned to develop a military space. Just some years later was decided to dedicate all that gardened area as a public park permitting the access to the entire community.

Currently it is packed by people every day enjoying sport activities, cycling and there is also a frequent presence of musicians, horseback riders, visitors enjoying a cool drink and a highlight is also the attractive Chinesischer Turm the Chinese Tower, a construction elevated to give a touch of exotic Oriental appeal to that attractive huge verdant corner of the district.

A curiosity about Schwabing is that the entrepreneur Hermann Einstein, father of the Nobel laureate, the scientist Albert Einstein illuminated for the first time with electric light the district  in which he lived with his family in an elegant villa and that illumination was also protagonist in occasion of the edition of the Oktoberfest celebrated in 1885.

In that cultural borough of Munich lived a long list of artists and it is a must to mention many of them simply to know which kind of cultural mine hosted that special place starting from several painter such as Paul Klee, Vassilij Kandinsky, Alexej Javlenskj, Giorgio De Chirico, Franz von Stuck, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Lovis Corinth.

In addition that district was also the residence of many important writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke, Henrik Ibsen, Ludwig Ganghofer, Michael Georg Conrad, Heinrich Mann, Thomas Mann and Oskar Panizza and also home of revolutionaries such as as Vladimir Lenin, Nadezhda Krupskaya, Leon Trotsky, Erich Mühsam, Ernst Toller, Eugen Levine, Julius Martow, Georg Strasser and Julian Marchlewski.

The scientists who chose to live in Schwabing are part of another endless directory including Werner Heisenberg, Jonathan Zenneck, Wilhelm Wien and Arnold Sommerfeld but also actors and dancers as Alexander Sacharoff Alexander, Clara Ziegler enjoyed to fix their residence in that captivating corner of the Bavarian Capital.

Finally apart that superb number of prominent minds other people linked to other events such as Adolf Hitler, Alfred Rosenberg and Ernst Röhm.

It is undoubtedly a big and remarkable group of notorious characters  but all that simply to mention which kind of place was Schwabing calling as a siren famed people related to the most different arts and who left important and relevant marks inspiring later new generations of artists.

Munich is a young city with a high quality of life and it offers many chances for entertainment with a vibrant nightlife and a great choice to have fun spending an evening with the chance to find a big variety of places for every taste one of the iconic destination for a multitude of people is in Schwabing.

On the other hand although it is is not outrageous as other cities in Germany as the stunning and coquetry Berlin or the eternally bustling Hamburg, so famous for their trendy clubs and always more than ready with new proposals also the major centre of Bavaria offers all that with several sites very trendy and loved by many people with that district as protagonist.

The Green Room Bar is one of them much frequented by students, it offers excellent cocktails and beers, good music and it is a pleasant place highlighted by a very lively atmosphere. 

The disco Pacha is part of the best branch of the most famous clubs with seat in Ibiza from which took its name and also the staff and its environment is characterised by the presence of the best DJ of Munich who bright the most trendy music and sounds just like that establishment located on that Spanish island.  

Skyline situated in Leopoldstrasse at the civic number 82 is another famous disco-club while the disco-bar Reitschule is a famous meeting place for every kind of public and it has been for some years a famous landmark of the district, a site which offers several chances to enjoy electronic or underground music but other proposals with themes linked to Brazilian nights or traditional Caribbean Rhythms.

Drinking and eating out in Schwabing is another great opportunity for a visitor thanks to the presence of a big variety of cosy restaurants and snack bars serving delicious food for that worth a mention L´Osteria, Koriander, Wirsthaus zur Brez’n, Caffè Florian, the latter with the same name of the famous Venetian Cafe,  Sarovar and Passaparola among others.

Another special feature in addition is that Munich is one of the safest cities in the world and there are not several problems walking around the city anytime including at night, a quality which makes different the Bavarian capital than other cities in the world and you will see all that in the district.

But what makes so special Schwabing and why many people choose or chosen to live in that area or why that emblematic borough is the district most visited in Munich ?...It seems a question of one million of dollars but the reasons could be many.

The answer could be incorporated in a very long list of deep topics and special aspects. The versatility of its trendy bars, the variety of its several cosmopolitan restaurants, a good presence of chic boutiques and the incredible number of different shops it offers obviously next to an incredible cultural life due to its proximity to the University and the School of Fine Arts.

In addition to all that very relevant is undoubtedly the prestige and name linked to its legendary past which is  probably that alive essence continuing to be alive than ever and that incomparable air which will be present forever as a magic aura representing something of eternal for many people combined to its captivating charm anytime during a day unique and inimitable starting for the ample selection of places to go to enjoy an aromatic coffee in the morning, a great dinner at evening or a sparkling cocktail at night.

That neighbourhood is a reference of culture in many of its marked details also for someone is a symbol of a veiled transgression, no book or the most talented writers could describe Schwabing associated with the spirit of innovation and madness that permitted to thinkers, musicians and painters who were attracted by that unmistakable atmosphere breathed in that place able to create something of magically suggestive and fantastically appealing and it is also all that which captures the attention of every visitor still nowadays.

It was and is the traditional bohemian district of Munich in which they argued and with  many chats at the tables of captivating taverns there was always an interesting varied range of subjects and themes as main protagonists and perpetual new ideas to transmit.

Probably all signals which never ceased to exist continuing also in modern and contemporary times welcoming all those who want to continue to remember that in an environment highly attractive and more than trendy simply sitting to enjoy a cool beer and treating to talk about a large variety of topics linked to philosophy, art and new innovative proposals to launch…

Undoubedtly is also that outstanding Jugendstil art so present and immediately visible in that cultural borough of Munich as clear historic landmark which always gave and give new impulses, inputs and inspirations also in recent times and continues in its kind to be something of highly distinctive, immortal and admired more than ever.

That local stunning architecture, its charming houses and lively streets are a stupendous frame of a fantastic picture which witnessed an explosive atmosphere during many years in which everything seemed possible and probably all that happens in current times too.

All that developed a long time ago never died and of course it was transmitted in the best way to the new generations decades by decades, year by year, day by day until today. Schawbing never lost its charm, prestige and its unmistakable spirit which makes that area so different than other metropolitan districts identifying itself as an indelible and inimitable signature in a book which deserves to be read and in its kind a reality that nobody can change or delete.

For all that and more it is so special and if you are planning a trip to that beautiful city called Munich Schwabing is absolutely a must and worth a special visit which will delight you.

It is a place unique to enjoy metre by metre and that unmatchable atmosphere reminding a vibrant history born many years ago continuing to live in the present in the minds of a multitude of people capturing the attention of every tourist of every age is simply translated with a word”Schwabing" that cultural borough of Munich which is always as an open doorway and gateway to welcome all people today and every time just like in its glorious past.

Francesco Mari






Recommended Accommodations in the case you want to spend your stay in the area of Schwabing.

Mercure Hotel München Schwabing
Fleming´s Hotel Munich Schwabing
H´Hotello H´9
Hotel La Maison
Cosmopolitan Hotel

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Thanks a lot to read and note.