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Definition: Munich from Collins English Dictionary


1 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) German name: München

Summary Article: Munich
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Capital of Bavaria, Germany, on the River Isar, about 520 m/1,706 ft above sea level, some 45 km/28 mi from the edge of the Alps; population (2003 est) 1,185,400, urban agglomeration 2,340,700. The main industries are brewing, printing, precision instruments, machinery, electrical goods, motor vehicles, computers, telecommunications, fashion, and food processing.

Features Munich was badly damaged during World War II (about 40% of the city was destroyed), but after 1945 it was extensively rebuilt and many modern building were constructed. The city owes many of its buildings and art treasures to the kings Ludwig I and Maximilian II of Bavaria. The cathedral, Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), is late 15th century. Art galleries include the Alte Pinakothek (containing paintings by old masters), the Neue Pinakothek (containing works from the 18th and 19th centuries), and the Pinakothek der Moderne (2002), which is one of the world's largest modern art museums. The Glyptothek (built 1816–30) also has important art collections. There is the Bavarian National Museum, the Bavarian State Library, and the Deutsche Museum (science and technology). The Ludwig Maximilian University, founded at Ingolstadt in 1472, was transferred to Munich in 1826; there are also two newer universities. To the northeast at Garching there is a nuclear research centre.

History Dating from the 12th century, Munich became the residence of the dukes of Wittelsbach in the 13th century, and the capital of independent Bavaria. It was the scene of the November revolution of 1918, the ‘Soviet’ republic of 1919, and the Hitler putsch of 1923. It became the centre of the Nazi movement, and the Munich Agreement of 1938 was signed here. When the 1972 Summer Olympics were held in Munich, 11 Israeli athletes were killed by Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists. The World Cup football championship was held here in 1974.

Economy Munich is one of Germany's major industrial and administrative centres. Among its industries are electrical goods (Siemens), cars (BMW), lorries (MAN), and optical goods (AGFA). Other industries manufacture textiles, clothes, fertilizers, and beer (there are five major breweries). Munich is a major tourist and convention centre; the new Franz-Josef Strauss international airport was opened in 1992. It is also a major centre for film production and book publishing, and is home to one of Europe's largest wholesale produce markets. The city's Oktoberfest is famed worldwide; there is a drama festival in May and an opera festival in June–July. The European patent office is in Munich.

Architecture The cathedral, the Frauenkirche (1468–88), is one of the largest Gothic churches in Germany; its two towers, capped with cupolas, are 97 m/318 ft high. The former royal palace, the Residenz, was almost completely destroyed in the war, but its contents were saved, and the reconstruction of the buildings follows the original design. Other churches include Michaelkirche (1583–97) and Peterskirche (1169), destroyed in World War II but faithfully re-constructed afterwards. Among the other buildings which suffered in the war were the old and new town halls; the facade of the latter, however, was preserved, as was the famous mechanical clock. The old part of the city is still predominantly baroque and rococo. Of the numerous parks and gardens the best known are the Englischer Garten and, on the northwest side of the city, the beautiful grounds surrounding the Nymphenburg palace, the 17th–18th-century baroque summer residence of the electors and kings.

Growth of the city Munich's name first appears in monastic records of the early 12th century; the monastic village was chartered in 1158, and in the middle of the century Henry the Lion made Munich the chief market for the salt obtained from the Reichenhall district. In 1255 it became a residence of the dukes of the Wittelsbach dynasty, and since then has always been the capital of Bavaria. The old town was nearly destroyed by fire in 1327, and it was rebuilt by Emperor Ludwig IV very much as it is today. Not until the 18th century were its limits enlarged to any extent. In the 19th century the city flourished and expanded, and many institutions were founded in it for the encouragement of art and science; it developed into a centre of German culture, tripling its population between 1870 and 1900. In the 20th century it became the birthplace and headquarters of the National Socialist (Nazi) movement.

Famous people Rudolf Mössbauer, the physicist and Nobel prizewinner, was born here in 1929.

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