15 June 2008

Happy Birthday Munich

From the Munich City website:
In 2008, Munich will be hosting a great summer of festivals: the Bavarian capital will be turning 850 and this will be celebrated extensively. For a European city, 850 years is not really very old. What is astonishing, however, is that the town was able to evolve from a monastery to an attractive hub of culture and high-tech of European proportions. Over time, Munich has maintained its flair as a city with much joie de vivre, and it has consistently been open to the avant-garde and progress. The motto of the birthday is “Building bridges” and it aims to connect the founding of the city with today’s lively, colourful and yet tradition-oriented urban culture.

Munich’s foundation goes back to Henry the Lion, who, in 1158, destroyed the Isar bridge on the old salt road, which lay somewhat to the north at the time. He then built a new bridge near “Munichen.” The city received market and minting rights in this context, which set the cornerstone for undreamt of growth into a city of over a million inhabitants.
The first public events were held this weekend with the City Foundation Festival. This is an annual event but was bigger this year for the anniversary. Odeonsplatz, Marienplatz and Stachus and the connecting streets were filled with stalls and stages. I did walk around the Festival area but left quickly. There were just too many people, all of them pushing and shoving, for it to be a pleasant experience.

Further events are planned through the summer. In July there will be a Festival weekend on St.-Jakobs-Platz, with an emphasis on the role and experience of the Jewish community in Munich. Later the same month there will be the Old Town Ring Road Festival. August will see the Isar Bridges Festival.

If you haven't made your summer holiday plans yet, Munich could be a good choice this summer. Just be prepared to pay a fortune for hotel rooms.

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