Panoramic view of the Neues Rathaus in Munich with the Frauenkirche in the background.

Marienplatz

Marienplatz: the heart of Munich

There’s always something going on in this world-famous square – whether it’s the Christmas market, the city’s anniversary celebrations, the Glockenspiel, championship celebrations for FC Bayern or public gatherings for a variety of occasions. Here you can find out everything you need to know about Marienplatz.

Marienplatz (square) has been at the centre of the city since Munich was founded by Henry the Lion in 1158. It was the point at which all of the new city’s most important streets met and for centuries it was the centre of Munich's life. And even today, between the Isartor and Stachus, Odeonsplatz and Sendlinger Tor, Marienplatz is a popular meeting place, the start of the pedestrian zone and the place from which distances in the city are measured. 

What's on Marienplatz?

These days, you can sit in the shadows of the Neues and Altes Rathaus (New and Old Town Halls) and enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee, watching the hustle and bustle around you. It is also the ideal place to start a tour of the shops in the pedestrian zone or Viktualienmarkt. Popular shopping streets include Kaufingerstraße, Neuhauser Straße, Sendlinger Straße and Theatinerstraße. In addition, Munich shopping arcades and districts such as the Fünf Höfe are just around the corner. And Maximilianstrasse, the National Theatre, the Münchner Kammerspiele, the Residenztheater, the Frauenkirche and the Hofbräuhaus are also within walking distance of Marienplatz.

One of the most popular events at Marienplatz is the Christkindlmarkt. If you want to act like a true native of Munich, arrange to meet up at the Fischbrunnen (fountain) in front of the main entrance to the Neues Rathaus. A must for every visit to Munich is the Glockenspiel in the tower of the New Town Hall, which with its 43 bells is not only one of the largest in Europe, but also one of the most popular sights in the city. Visitors can watch the figures dance daily at 11 am and 12 pm, and between March and October the carillon also takes place at 5 pm.

If you want to see the City Hall balcony, world-famous from the championship celebrations of FC Bayern Munich, or the reading room of the law library, reminiscent of Hogwarts, you can book an exclusive City Hall tour with an official guide of the City of Munich. You can see the Marienplatz and the entire city from above, either from the Alter Peter (church) - Munich's landmark with over 300 steps - or comfortably from the tower of the New Town Hall, which has a lift.

 

Book your visit of the Tower now

 

Mariensäule in the middle of the Marienplatz

At the centre of Marienplatz, you will find the Mariensäule (column). On top of the column, a golden statue of the Virgin Mary, the Patrona Bavariae, watches over the city and the state of Bavaria. The Mariensäule is the centre of Munich, which is why it is used as a starting point for signposts from other locations to the city. It is also a central point for Catholics: a total of three Popes have visited the column: Pius VI in 1782, Johannes Paul II in 1980 and Benedict XVI in 2006.

Elector Maximilian I had the 11-metre-tall column erected out of Tegernsee marble in 1638. The column was meant to symbolise his gratitude for keeping Munich safe while it was occupied by Sweden during the Thirty Years’ War.

The Renaissance sculptor Hubert Gerhard is rumoured to have created the bronze figurine of the Virgin Mary for the grave of Duke Wilhelm V back in 1593. It adorned the high altar in Munich’s Frauenkirche until 1613. Based on the traditional shrine to Mary in Loreto, the Virgin Mary is holding the Baby Jesus and standing atop a moon crescent. The four brave, battling putti on the base of the Mariensäule symbolise Mary’s triumph over hunger (the dragon), war (the lion), plague (the basilisk), and heresy (the snake).

Marienplatz has been known by its current name since 9 October 1854 when it was renamed after the Virgin Mary following a cholera epidemic. Before that the square was known as the Schrannenplatz after the South German word for grain on account of the market that used to be held there. The aim of the new name was to bring an end to the outbreak.

 

Photos: Sigi Müller, istock/grafissimo, istock/viadacanon, Frank Stolle, Jörg Lutz, München Tourismus, Dominik Morbitzer, istock/seewhatmitchsee, istock/valet, istock/nikada

Covid-19: current regulations

Hotels and accommodation establishments, shops, indoor and outdoor catering, and also clubs and discos are open. However, restrictions apply. All other important information on the coronavirus and your stay in Munich can be found here.

The chef of the restaurant Schneider Bräuhauses München is cutting a knuckle of pork with a big knife.

Greetings from the Munich kitchen

Munich is a city full of tradition - of course also from a gastronomic point of view. An overview.

Munich is full of tradition - of course also from a gastronomic point of view. A tour through the kitchens of the city.

A view of a church reflected in a shop window in Munich.

Munich is a true paradise for shopping

A successful city trip should include an extensive shopping spree.

A successful city trip includes an extensive shopping spree: Munich offers almost heavenly conditions!

Weissenburger Platz in Munich photographed from above with a drone.

Every district a world of its own

Schwabing bohemia, colourful diversity in the Glockenbach, village idylls in Haidhausen: an overview of Munich's districts.

Schwabing bohemia, colourful diversity in the Glockenbach, village idylls in Haidhausen: an overview of Munich's districts.

Young woman sitting at a window in a tram in Munich.

Holiday in the own city

Our author has been a travel blogger. Now she is discovering her own city.

Our author has been a travel blogger. Now she is discovering her own city.

Blue Horse I by Franz Marc on display at the Lenbachhaus in Munich.

Munich's museums

Munich's most important museums, galleries and collections at a glance.

Munich is pure cultural pleasure! We present the most important Munich museums, galleries and collections at a glance.

A woman with curly hair is sitting in front of a painting at Sammlung Schack in Munich.

The best tips for your stay

Relaxation, culture, gastronomy: our suggestions for an unforgettable visit to Munich.

Relaxation, culture, gastronomy: our suggestions for an unforgettable visit to Munich.

Munich Card & City Pass

Discover Munich in a relaxed and uncomplicated way: discounts for the diverse range of art, culture and leisure activities with our guest cards.

Public transport is included

Many discounts with the Card, many things for free with the Pass.

Online or at the tourist information offices

Small meeting room of the Neues Rathaus in Munich

Exclusive tour through the town hall

Explore the Neue Rathaus on Marienplatz with an official City of Munich tour guide. A visit of the famous law library is also included!

Book now from 18 €

Magistrates, Monachia and magnificent celebrations: explore the Neue Rathaus on Marienplatz with an official City of Munich tour guide. A visit of the famous law library is also included!

Stage and audience of the Passionsspiel in Oberammergau.

The game of suffering, death and resurrection

The inhabitants of Oberammergau staging probably the world's most successful and largest amateur play. Buy your Tickets here.

The inhabitants of Oberammergau have staged what is today probably the world's most successful and largest amateur play. Buy your Tickets here.

Merchant with dried fruit on the Viktualienmarkt in Munich.

Viktualienmarkt Tasting Tour

Discover the most delicious delicacies of the city and learn all kinds of interesting facts about Munich's most famous food market.

Book now for 32 €!

Discover the most delicious delicacies of the city and learn all kinds of interesting historical facts about Munich's most famous food market.

Panoramic view of the Neues Rathaus in Munich with the Frauenkirche in the background.

Visit to the Town Hall Balcony

Join us on the famous balcony of the New Town Hall, where FC Bayern has celebrated a triumph many times - and enjoy the beautiful view over Marienplatz.

Book now for only 6 €!

Join us on the famous balcony of the New Town Hall, where FC Bayern has celebrated a triumph many times - and enjoy the beautiful view over Marienplatz.