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Munich (myo͞oˈnĭk), Ger. München (münˈkhən), city (1994 pop. 1,255,623), capital of Bavaria, S Germany, on the Isar River near the Bavarian Alps. It is a financial, commercial, industrial, transportation, communications, and cultural center. Its industries produce precision and optical instruments, electrical appliances, clothing, chemicals, motor vehicles, and beer. Munich is also a major center for film production and book publishing, and is home to one of Europe's largest wholesale produce markets. The city is a major tourist and convention center; a new airport handling both domestic and international flights was opened in 1992.

Points of Interest

Among the city's chief attractions are the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), a twin-towered cathedral built from 1468 to 1488; the Renaissance-style St. Michael's Church (1583–97); the Theatinerkirche (17th–18th cent.), a baroque church; Nymphenburg castle (1664–1728), with a porcelain factory (founded 1747) and the nearby Amalienburg (1734–39), a small rococo hunting château; the new city hall (1867–1908); Propyläen (1846–62), a monumental neoclassic gate; and the large English Garden (laid out 1789–1832). The city also has several leading museums, including the Old Pinakothek (built 1826–36), the reconstructed New Pinakothek, and the Modern Pinakothek, which house distinguished collections of art; the Bavarian National Museum (built 1894–99); the Schack-Galerie; the Glyptothek (built 1816–30); and the German Museum, which has wide-ranging exhibits on science, technology, and industry. The seat of an archbishop, Munich has a famous university (founded 1472 at Ingolstadt; transferred in 1802 to Landshut and in 1826 to Munich) in addition to a technical university, a conservatory of music, an opera, numerous theaters, and many publishing houses. Other educational institutions include academies of art, music, military studies, philosophy, film, and television. Munich is also noted for its lively Fasching (Shrove Tuesday) and Oktoberfest (October festival) celebrations. The 1972 Olympic summer games were centered at Munich, and the striking Allianz Arena, with its diamond-patterned polymer skin, is on the city's northern edge.


Situated near a settlement (Munichen) that was established in Carolingian times, Munich was founded (1158) by Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony and of Bavaria. In 1255 it was chosen as the residence of the Wittelsbach family, the dukes of Bavaria; it later became (1506) the capital of the dukedom. During the Thirty Years War, Munich was occupied (1632) by Gustavus II of Sweden. In 1806 the city was made capital of the kingdom of Bavaria. Under the kings Louis I (1825–48), Maximilian II (1848–64), and Louis II (1864–86), Munich became a cultural and artistic center, and it played a leading role in the development of 19th- and 20th-century German painting.

After World War I the city was the scene of considerable political unrest. National Socialism (Nazism) was founded there, and on Nov. 8, 1923, Adolf Hitler failed in his attempted Munich “beer-hall putsch”—a coup aimed at the Bavarian government. Despite this fiasco, Hitler made Munich the headquarters of the Nazi party, which in 1933 took control of the German national government. Michael Cardinal Faulhaber, the archbishop of Munich, was one of the few outspoken critics of the National Socialist regime. In Sept., 1938, the Munich Pact was signed in the city; in 1939 Hitler suppressed a Bavarian separatist plot there. Munich was badly damaged during World War II, but after 1945 it was extensively rebuilt and many modern buildings were constructed.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(München), a city in the southern Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and capital of the Land (state) of Bavaria. An important economic and cultural center, it is situated on the Isar River. Population, 1.3 million (1971). Greater Munich, which includes 150 surrounding communities, has a population of more than 1.8 million. Munich is a focal point of railroads, highways, and air routes, with international airports in the suburbs of Riem and Erdinger-Moos. Industry, especially new branches, has been rapidly developing in the postwar period. In terms of number of persons employed, the most important industries are electrical engineering, electronics, and instrument-making, which together account for 37 percent of the work force. General and transport machine building accounts for 29 percent; paper and printing, for 9 percent; clothing and textiles, for 7 percent; and food and condiments, including brewing, for 6 percent. The chemical industry primarily produces chemicals, pharmaceutical and rubber goods, motion-picture film, and synthetic fabrics. Although there are still many handicraft shops (14,000 shops with 110,000 employees) and medium-size industrial enterprises, huge concerns occupy the leading place in industry. These include Siemens—electrical engineering and electronics; Haniel-Konzern (MAN firm)—general and heavy machine building; Quandt (BMW firm)—automobiles; Flick (Krauss-Maffei firm)—buses and heavy trucks; Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm—aircraft and space vehicles; and Junkers—aircraft and engines. Munich is one of the FRG’s major centers of banking (Bayerische Vereinsbank AG, Bayerische Hypotheken und Wechselbank), insurance (Allianz Versicherungs AG, Münchener Rückversicherungsgesellschaft AG), and trade. International fairs are held periodically. Among the city’s educational institutions are the University of Munich (Ludwig Maximilian University), the Technische Hochschule, the Academy of Fine Arts, and the Academy of Music. Museums include the German Museum, the Bavarian National Museum, the Glyptothek, the Old and the New Pinakothek, and a theater museum. There are several theaters in Munich.


A settlement arose on the site of Munich in the eighth century. In 1158, it was granted a city charter by Henry the Lion, Duke of Bavaria. Munich was the capital of Bavaria from the 13th century until 1871. Handicrafts and trade greatly developed in the city in the 13th and 14th centuries, and in the 16th century Munich became a major cultural center of Germany. It was occupied by Swedish troops in the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) and by Austrian troops in 1705, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14). When the German Empire was founded in 1871, Munich was incorporated into it together with Bavaria. The city’s population grew rapidly: it rose from 89,000 in 1840 to 596,000 in 1910 and to 829,000 in 1939.

V. I. Lenin lived in Munich from 1900 to 1902 and directed the work of the newspaper Iskra, which was published here during this period. In April 1919 the Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed in Munich.

On Nov. 8–9, 1923, Munich was the scene of a fascist putsch headed by Hitler and Ludendorff; the headquarters of the Nazi Party was located in Munich until 1933. After the establishment of the fascist dictatorship in Germany in 1933, Munich, long a center of thriving Nazi organizations, became a major strong-hold of the fascist reaction. The Munich Pact of 1938 was signed here. During World War II (1939–45), the city was heavily damaged by aerial bombardment. After the defeat of fascist Germany, it became a part of the American zone of occupation (1945–49).

Munich’s churches include the Late Gothic Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady (1466–92, architect J. Ganghofer), the Late Renaissance St. Michael’s Church (1583–97, architect F. Sustris), and the baroque Church of the Theatines (1663–1767, architects A. Barelli, E. Zuccali, and F. Cuvilliés). Other buildings of major architectural interest include the Alte Rathaus (1470, architect J. Ganghofer); the Residenz of the Bavarian dukes (16th through 19th centuries); the Nymphenburg palace (1663–1728); L. von Klenze’s Glyptothek (1816–30), the Old Pinakothek (1826–36), and the Propylaea (1846–60); the Neue Rathaus (1867–1908, architect G. J. von Hauberrisser); the German Museum (1903–25, architect O. von Miller); and the House of German Art, or Haus der Kunst (1933–37).

Between 1968 and 1972, a whole complex of structures was erected in the new neighborhood of Oberwiesenfeld for the 20th Summer Olympic Games. Designed to accommodate 220,000 spectators, the complex includes a stadium with a capacity of 80,000, a small sports arena that holds 11,000 spectators, and a swimming pool with 9,000 spectator seats, as well as an Olympic village that can house 12,000 people. A team of architects headed by I. Benisch designed the stadium, sports arena, and pool; the Olympic village was designed by the architect G. Gollein. A new commuter railroad line and subway line have been built.


Kreisel, H. München: die Stadt als Kunstwerk. Munich, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a city in S Germany, capital of the state of Bavaria, on the Isar River: became capital of Bavaria in 1508; headquarters of the Nazi movement in the 1920s; a major financial, commercial, and manufacturing centre. Pop.: 1 247 873 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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