Alter Peter (Old Peter), as it is lovingly known by the people of Munich, affords one of the best views over the city’s rooftops. It is the tower to Munich’s oldest church, Peterskirche, which is located just behind Marienplatz.
Anyone prepared to ascend the 300+ steps up to the viewing platform in the 91-metre tower should expect to arrive out of breath, though in return you will enjoy magnificent views across Munich and – on a clear day – even as far as the Alps.
The church of St. Peter sits on top of a small hill, now known as the Petersbergl, and has a history that stretches back as far as the 12th century. The first church there was built shortly after the city of Munich was founded in the year 1158. Renovations followed in 1180 and 1220, before the whole site was rebuilt in the second half of the 13th century and following the city fire in 1327. The heart of this second building still stands today.
Eight bells hang in the church tower, including four historical examples from the Late Middle Ages and the Baroque era. If you visit the tower, you can even catch a glimpse of them through the window to the belfry. The smallest and oldest bell in Alte Peter is the Arme Sünder (the “Poor Sinners” bell), which stems back to the period after the city fire of 1327 and used to ring out during executions on Marienplatz. These days, it hangs behind a barred window on the bottom floor of the tower.
Another thing that makes Alte Peter so unique is its large number of clocks: The tower has eight clocks in total. The Munich-based comic Karl Valentin, who is known for his whimsical sense of humour, came up with the following answer as to why there are so many clock faces on the tower: “Well, of course, it’s so that eight people can check the time at once!”