Munich: Viktualienmarkt, St. Peter’s Church, Marienplatz, Alte Pinakothek

On my first (half) day in Munich (or, locally, München) I visited a couple of public squares, one of which was a market, a church, and an art gallery. But, before getting into those, some impressions of the bit of Munich I saw today.

Munich, at least during my walkabout, and I assume always, restricted several streets in the centre of the city, including some wide ones, to pedestrians. And the streets that allowed cars had generous sidewalks. Being primarily a pedestrian when I travel, I approve. Wholeheartedly.

However, once I got even a bit out the centre, into the museum district to visit that art gallery, cars were king. The district still had generous sidewalks, but also wide streets, with cars whizzing by. Traffic lights seemed to favour drivers, not pedestrians.

The buildings were a mix of old and newish. Although, you have to keep in mind that I’m a Torontonian. My idea of old is probably not a European’s idea of old. While some of the buildings undoubtedly deserved to be categorized as such, some probably slipped into that category only because of my Toronto lens.


Viktualmarkt is an open-air market in a fair sized public square. When I was there, it was bustling. Very bustling. I suspect that’s because it was mid-day on a Saturday.

The market contained stalls offering a variety of meats, cheeses, produce and flowers. There were also a number of stalls serving food to eat in situ.

In the centre of Viktualmarkt sat a large number of tables. I’m not sure if they belonged to a single establishment or if they were for the market generally. During my visit, all of the tables were packed, with many people standing. Much beer was consumed, although not by me.

I think I arrived when people were gathering for some sort of sports match. Either that or a large number of people simultaneously, but independently, decided to don identical red and white tee-shirts bearing a team logo. And they, from time-to-time, spontaneously burst into what sounded like a team cheering song. I’m willing to believe either explanation.


Marienplatz (Mary’s Square) is a large public square. When I was there it was filled with people, including some members of Falong Dafa who did their exercises and handed out literature in front of Falong Dafa banners. Without people, the square itself would be barren.

I say “the square itself” because the large New Town Hall dominates one side of Marienplatz. The New Town Hall is younger than it looks. It looks ancient, but its construction started in “only” 1867 and finished in “only” 1908. “Only” is in quotes because of that me-being-a-Torontonian thing. Canada’s birth dates from the year construction started on Munich’s “New” City Hall.

The city hall is famous for its glockenspiel. Unfortunately, it performs a show only at 11:00, 12:00 and, from March to October, 5:00 p.m. I wasn’t there at one of those times today. I’m hoping to see it in action tomorrow or the next day. Stay tuned.

St. Peter’s Church (Munich)

St. Peter’s Church is a mid-sized church built in the 14th century located near Marienplatz. It’s beautiful, but after visiting churches in Vienna, Prague and Regensburg, I’m churched out. Sorry, St. Peter’s. It’s not you. It’s me. You deserve much more credit than I’m giving you here.

How do religious people do it? How do they go to church, no matter how beautiful, week-in and week-our? After a few weeks, I’d be taking god’s name in vain, and far worse than in vain, left, right and center.

But, enough about me.

The church has a tower. Yay, another tower to climb! (Actually, I’m not joking about that one. I usually enjoy the views from towers. As I did at this one.) The narrow walkway around the top provided great views of Munich.

Alte Pinakothek

Alte Pinakothek is an art gallery in Munich’s museum district. What more can I say? I’m not an art connoisseur. It had impressive paintings, including many by some of the old masters.

Peter Paul Reuben's "The Last Judgement"
Peter Paul Reuben’s “The Last Judgement”

The biggest painting in the gallery, both in size and stature, was Peter Paul Reubens’ The Last Judgement. It was huge. The audio guide included with admission to the Alte Pinakothek said it was about six metres high and may be the largest canvas painted in Europe.

The designer of the gallery designed the room containing The Last Judgement specifically for the painting. Hence, again according the audio guide, it is the only painting in the whole gallery that has hung in the same spot since the Alte Pinakothek opened in 1836.

According to the audio guide, The Last Judgement depicts the time when believers will rise up to heaven and nonbelievers will receive damnation. I could be wrong, but I think I spotted my likeness in the lower part of the painting.

In my vast experience of art galleries, “vast” being said thoroughly sarcastically, Alte Pinakothek is a mid-sized gallery among the major galleries of the world. I judge size based on how long before I finish plowing through them my eyes glaze over and my brain goes into deep hibernation. I got through most of the gallery before that happened. Then again, the lower galleries were closed to install a new exhibit, so I had that going for me.

The photos below show the front of the Alte Pinakothek and a very small sample of the pictures inside.

Random Street Scenes

As a bonus, here are some of the streetscapes I saw while walking from one site to another. I post the last one without comment. Well, I guess I posted all of them without much comment. But I particularly post the last one without comment.

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