Thursday, May 04, 2006

München: Tag Eins (Part II)

Day 1 cont.After visiting all the places mentioned in the previous post, we sat down at Mc Donalds to grab a bite. Turns out this Mc is owned by desi people...and that too from Delhi.."My city"...that must have been the exact sentiment in the owner's heart as well.... for he offered us free meals, (ofcourse for formality sake) which we declined politely... but he insisted on giving us free icecream... we cdnt resist that much... and like all Indians we talked about Cricket - India's performance against England.. and all this happened while we were at the counter.. with a pile of people behind us. Aakhir dil hain Hindustani.

The few other places we visited that day were:-

Odeonplatz is situated at the start or end of Ludwigstrasse, which is also known as the "German Champs Elysees". Munich has varying styles of architecture and in Odeonsplatz you can find shades of Italian styles. It has a tri-arched platform for a statue of Ludwig himself. This square is flanked on the left by the big yellow Theatinerkirche and on the right is the Residenz. Now if u notice in the pic below, the two lions at Odeonsplatz, the one on your left has its mouth open unlike the one on the right. It represents the sentiment that Bavaraia can always speak against the ruler but it will never speak against the religion(remember Left - Theatinerkirche, Right - Residenz) :-)

The square is most famous for Adolf Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch on November 8 and 9 of 1923 . Following a long night of agitation the revolutionaries were parading toward the Ministry of War on Schönfeldstrasse on the morning of the 9th when they were confronted with a police barricade spread out across Odeonsplatz. Sixteen persons (15 Nazis and a waiter) and four police officers were killed in the subsequent riots and once the Nazis came to power, in 1933, the square became a kind of shrine to the fallen Nazi “martyrs.”. National Socialist flags covered the place and a small monument/plaque was set up on its right wall. All passers-by were required to do the Nazi salute when passing by it or face arrest. Just across the street are two bronze lions which guard the gates of the Residenz. Rubbing the noses of the lions is considered a good luck charm, so I duly rubbed their noses. One reminiscent of those times is the metal plate in front of the platz. "Den Mitgliedern der Bayerischen Landespolizei, Die Beim Einsatz gegen die Nationalsozialistischen Putschisten am 9.11.1923 Ihr Leben liessen: Friedrich Fink, Nikolaus Hollweg, Max Schobert, Rudolf Schraut". When translated (Thank you Shashank) it reads - "Remains of the police personal who died fighting the National Socialitic Movement on 9.11.1923 are buried here. Friedrich Fink, Nikolaus Hollweg, Max Schobert, Rudolf Schraut"
OK now going to the Residenz to the right of the square ....The Residenz was the official home of the Dukes and Duchesses of Bavaria for centuries, from its creation in 1385 to their abdication and Bavaria's induction into the Weimar Republic in 1918. Today it is a museum with over 10 courtyards n 130 rooms...I didnt go inside so cant comment much about that part.. but a stroll around that place was delightful. The Residenz grew over the centuries and assembles the styles of the late Renaissance, as well as of Baroque, Rococo and Classicism. If you see the pic below you might notice that the round windows towards the top on the right side wall are painted and not real. DAMN, I heard the term for this style somewhere but it's slipping my mind.
Anopther story here - King Ludwig I of Bavaria fell for the charms of a dancer Lola Montez. Now Lola was a very clever and progressive lady, that is to say she slept around a lot. She quickly began to use her influence on the king and this made her unpopular with the local population, particularly after documents showing that she was hoping to become a naturalised Bavarian citizen and be elevated to the nobility were made public. From here arose the expression "Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets".
The Hofgarten with the dome of the state chancellery near the Residenz is also a sight to watch and a stroll is a good idea anytime of the day. Adjoining the gardens is the Bavarian State Parliament. Some parts of the building were completely destroyed during the World War II and had to built again like the glass structure. A closer look and you might notice the signs of World War II bombardment on the huge pillars(bigger pic). I tell you, if just standing there sent the shivers down my spine, imagine how it would be when this whole thing happened.
A stone throw from there is the World War Memorial. Now usually the memorials are built at an altar, but for this one, the earth was dug up, which symbolizes that they arent really proud of the events. Beneath this memorial is the grave of the unknown soldier. The White Rose memorial is also close by.
Hofbräuhaus (The Royal Brewery) - It is one of the five major beerhalls in the city, but probably the most famous. It is at places such as these that hundreds or even thousands of people gather during the evenings, drink beer out of stone jugs and yalk about everything under the sun. It was infact a beerhall, Bürgerbräukeller, from where the Beer Hall Putsch started. Bürgerbräukeller was also the hall where an assasination attempt on Hitler failed. DAMN!!!
(Photo courtesy http://www.hofbraeuhaus.de/en/index_en.html)

The hall is made up of several large rooms with long wooden tables, and a large outdoor courtyard in the back. Dig into some humungous warm pretzels and the popular 1-litre steins. This place hosted a rally run by none other than Hitler himself. Even the Hofbräuhaus wasnt spared the catastrophe of World War II. On the night of April 25, 1944, the first airborne bombs struck the it and three subsequent air raids almost completely destroyed the building. The pic below shows the lid of a barrel. The beerhall has beautifully decorated cielings with paintings all over. If u enter and look directly above and a litle to your left then you will see a painting which consists of 4 Bavarian flags and 4 Bavarian coats of arms. On close inspection one would notice that the Flags n Coats of Arms are painted in such a way that they give an appearance of Hakenkreuz (Swastika), and mind you public display of such Nazi symbols is illegal and punishable. This is where the symbologist streak in me comes alive :-))


BTW Munich hosts the biggest beer fair in the world – the traditional Oktoberfest, which happens in the last week of September. In 1810 Max Joseph arranged a grand festival to mark the wedding of his son, crown prince Ludwig, to Therese Charlotte Luise, Princess of Saxony-Hildburghausen. This was the first Oktoberfest and each year it gets better.

Königsplatz is one of the most impressive squares in Munich is the Königsplatz. Its HUGE. It was once a major staging ground for Hitler to flaunt his military parades. Flanked by three neo-classic temples, this square had been nicknamed Athens on the Isar. The structure now houses several museums and many classes are conducted here.

The office which Hitler once used is reported now being used for music classes.
Olympiapark & Olympiastadion - The sports complex was created specially for the 1972 Summer Olympics. The stadium (with interesting canopy roof) and the 290m broadcasting tower are now established city landmarks. It has a big green area with hills and a lake. You could take the elevater to the Olympiaturm (Olympia Tower) and have an awesome view over the whole city. In the Summer of 1972 Munich hosted "The Happy Games", an Olympics intended to showcase a new peaceful, democratic Germany. On 5th September a group of Palestinians broke into the Olympic Village and entered the accommodation of the Israeli athletes at 31 Connollystrasse, killing two and capturing nine. A tragedy which hasn't been forgotten by the world.

Earlier this used to be the stadium to host all matches for Bayern Munich, which is one of the best football clubs in Europe, but now the games have shifted to Alliance Arena. In the vicinity of the Stadium is the Office n museum of Bayerische Motoren Werke(BMW).

PS: Blogger wasnt allowing me to upload pics so it took a while to publish this post and I had to drastically reduce the pics. Anyways, catch a glimpse of the above pics and a few more from München/Munich here.

And until I post next - "Keep Visiting !!!"

10 comments:

Sakshi said...

Beautiful pics, Lalit. Now I am seriously planning to visit Europe as a graduation present.

Sakshi said...

Hey Lalit..
Do you happen to have the soundtrack of Chunouti.. a serial on DD way back...It is sung by Amit Kumar.
I have been trying hard to find it. I had it taped but the tape is corrupted.

~ Deeps ~ said...

amazing description.....with lots of history thrown in......i love reading abt european history....so thanx for writing such a good entry.....

Sayesha said...

Yeay, you managed to publish the pics!!! :)

Rohit Talwar said...

MUJHE BHI JANA HAI!

Dudeeeeeeeeeee good description!

Rubbing their noses?! *Ahem*

If I tell ya, I'll have to kill ya said...

Hey Lalit. Good post and great pix. Its amazing how symbolism like the Nazi Swastika live on to this day.

BTW, you're tagged if you didn't know that already.

Megha said...

lovely pic lalit:)))))

Lalit Singh said...

@Sakshi
Thx.. abt the chunaoti thing i have mailed u

@Deeps
Thank u sir

@Sash
Haanji finally,, after repeated attempts

@Rohit
Arrey bola na bhai... tera number aayegaa
fikar mat kar
And rubbing their noses is a goodluck charm

@V
Thx V.. read about the tag...and congrats on getting engaged
BTW the id remains the same for webcast invite as well ;-P

@Megha
Thanx

....R.A.J.A.... said...

Your descriptions of places is always wonderful. You can write very good travelogues. But the photographs are not as good as some of the previous ones. I had liked ur Paris pics the most.

Lalit Singh said...

Thx for the TRavelogue appreciation. I am in the process of learning photography.. hopefully will have better pics next time around.