Munich Frauenkirche
The Frauenkirche is a church in the Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

n city of Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 that serves as the cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

 of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Munich and Freising
The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Bavaria, Germany. It is led by the prelature of the Archbishop of Munich, who administers the see from the mother church in Munich, the Frauenkirche, also known as Munich Cathedral...

 and seat of its Archbishop. It is a landmark and is considered a symbol of the Bavarian capital city.

The church towers are widely visible because of local height limits. The city administration prohibits buildings with a height exceeding 109 metres (357.6 ft) in the city center. Since November 2004, this prohibition has been provisionally extended outward and as a result, no buildings may be built in the city over the aforementioned height. The south tower is open to those wishing to climb the stairs and offers a unique view of Munich and the nearby Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....



The cathedral, which replaced an older romanesque
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

 church built in the 12th century, was commissioned by Duke Sigismund
Sigismund of Bavaria
Sigismund of Bavaria was a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty. He ruled as Duke of Bavaria-Munich from 1460 to 1467, and then as Duke of Bavaria-Dachau until his death.-Biography:...

 and erected by Jörg von Halsbach
Jörg von Halsbach
Jörg von Halsbach , also called Halspach or Ganghofer was a German bricklayer and architect. He was from Polling and worked in Munich and Freising....

. For financial reasons and due to the lack of a nearby stone pit, brick was chosen as building material. Construction began in 1468. Since the cash resources were exhausted in 1479 Pope Sixtus IV
Pope Sixtus IV
Pope Sixtus IV , born Francesco della Rovere, was Pope from 1471 to 1484. His accomplishments as Pope included the establishment of the Sistine Chapel; the group of artists that he brought together introduced the Early Renaissance into Rome with the first masterpiece of the city's new artistic age,...

 granted an indulgence
In Catholic theology, an indulgence is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. The indulgence is granted by the Catholic Church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution...

. The two towers were completed in 1488 and the church was consecrated in 1494. However, the building's famous domes atop each tower were not added until 1525. Their design was modelled on the Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The structure has been refurbished many times since its initial completion in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik...

 in Jerusalem, which in turn took a lead from late Byzantine architecture
Byzantine architecture
Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The empire gradually emerged as a distinct artistic and cultural entity from what is today referred to as the Roman Empire after AD 330, when the Roman Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire east from Rome to...

. The cathedral suffered severe damage during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 — the roof collapsed and one of the towers suffered severe damage. A major restoration effort began after the war and was carried out in several stages, the last of which coming to an end in 1994.


The Frauenkirche was constructed from red brick in the late Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 style within only 20 years. The building is designed very plainly, without rich Gothic ornaments.

The Late Gothic brick building with chapels surrounding the apse
In architecture, the apse is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome...

 is 109 metres (357.6 ft) long, 40 metres (131.2 ft) wide, and 37 metres (121.4 ft) high. Contrary to a widespread legend that says the two towers with their characteristic domes are exactly one meter different in height, they are almost equal: the north tower is 98.57 metres (323.4 ft) while the south tower is only 98.45 metres (323 ft), 12 centimetres (4.7 in) less. The original design called for pointed spires to top the towers, much like Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and is a World Heritage Site...

, but those were never built because of lack of money. Instead, the two domes were constructed during the Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 and do not match the architectural style of the of the building, however they have become a distinctive landmark of Munich.


The cathedral can hold approximately 20,000 people, and Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 is held regularly. The interior of the cathedral, which is among the largest hall church
Hall church
A hall church is a church with nave and side aisles of approximately equal height, often united under a single immense roof. The term was first coined in the mid-19th century by the pioneering German art historian Wilhelm Lübke....

es in southern Germany, consists of the nave and two side aisles of equal height (31 metres (101.7 ft)). The arches were designed by Heinrich von Straubing.

Constructing a church with a capacity of 20,000 is surprising when one considers at end of the 15th Century the city only had about 13,000 inhabitants. The interior does not overwhelm despite its size because the double-row of 22 metres (72.2 ft) high columns helps enclose the space. From the main portal the view seems to be only the rows of columns with no windows and durchlichtete "walls" between the vaults through which the light seems to shine. The spatial effect of the church is connected with a legend about a footprint in a square tile at the entrance to the nave, the so-called "devil's footstep".

A rich collection of 14th to 18th century artwork of notable artists like Erasmus Grasser
Erasmus Grasser
Erasmus Grasser was a leading sculptor in Munich in the early 16th century.He developed in an animated and realistic style, furthering on the works of Nikolaus Gerhaert...

, Jan Polack
Jan Polack
Jan Polack Johannes Polack , was a 15th-century painter....

, Hans Krumpper
Hans Krumpper
Hans Krumpper was a German sculptor, plasterer, architect and intendant of the arts who served the Bavarian dukes William V...

 and Ignaz Günther
Ignaz Günther
Ignaz Günther was a German sculptor and woodcarver working in the Bavarian rococo tradition.He was born in Altmannstein, Germany, where he received his earliest training from his father, then studied in Munich under the court sculptor Johann Baptist Straub from 1743 to 1750 and during his...

 decorates the interior of the cathedral again since the last restoration. The Gothic nave, several of the Gothic stained-glass windows, some of them made for the previous church, and the tomb monument of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV , called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the King of Germany from 1314, the King of Italy from 1327 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328....

 are major attractions.

Teufelsschritt, or Devil's Footstep

Much of the interior was destroyed during WWII. An attraction that survived is the Teufelsschritt, or Devil's Footstep, at the entrance. This is a black mark resembling a footprint, which according to legend was where the devil
The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

 stood when he curiously regarded and ridiculed the windowless church that Halsbach had built.

In another version of the legend, the devil made a deal with the builder to finance construction of the church on the condition that it contain no windows. The clever builder, however, tricked the devil by positioning columns so that the windows were not visible from the spot where the devil stood in the foyer. When the devil discovered that he had been tricked, he could not enter the already consecrated church. The devil could only stand in the foyer and stomp his foot furiously, which left the dark footprint that remains visible in the church's entrance today.

Legend also says the devil then rushed outside and manifested its evil spirit in the wind that furiously rages around the church.

Burial places

The crypt contains the tombs of the Archbishops of Munich and Freising and among others of these members of the Wittelsbach
The Wittelsbach family is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria.Members of the family served as Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria , Counts Palatine of the Rhine , Margraves of Brandenburg , Counts of Holland, Hainaut and Zeeland , Elector-Archbishops of Cologne , Dukes of...

  • Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
    Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
    Louis IV , called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the King of Germany from 1314, the King of Italy from 1327 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328....

  • Duke Louis V
    Louis V, Duke of Bavaria
    Louis V, Duke of Bavaria, called the Brandenburger was Duke of Bavaria and as Louis I also Margrave of Brandenburg and Count of Tyrol. Louis V was the eldest son of Emperor Louis IV and his first wife Beatrix of Świdnica...

  • Duke Stephen II
    Stephen II, Duke of Bavaria
    Duke Stephen II of Bavaria , after 1347 Duke of Bavaria. He was the second son of Emperor Louis IV the Bavarian by his first wife Beatrix of Świdnica and a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty.-Biography:During the reign of Emperor Louis IV his son Stephen served as vogt of Swabia and Alsace...

  • Duke John II
    John II, Duke of Bavaria
    Duke John II of Bavaria-Munich , , since 1375 Duke of Bavaria-Munich. He was the third son of Stephen II and Elizabeth of Sicily.-Family:...

  • Duke Ernest
    Ernest, Duke of Bavaria
    Ernest of Bavaria-Munich , , from 1397 Duke of Bavaria-Munich.-Biography:Ernest was a son of John II and ruled the duchy of Bavaria-Munich together with his brother William III....

  • Duke William III
    William III, Duke of Bavaria
    William III , was Duke of Bavaria-Munich , together and in concord with his older brother Ernest, Duke of Bavaria....

  • Duke John IV
    John IV, Duke of Bavaria
    John IV. of Bavaria-Munich , was duke of Bavaria-Munich from 1460 until his death.-Biography:...

  • Duke Albert IV
    Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria
    Duke Albert IV of Bavaria-Munich , , from 1467 Duke of Bavaria-Munich, from 1503 Duke of the reunited Bavaria.-Biography:...

  • Duke William IV
    William IV, Duke of Bavaria
    William IV of Bavaria was Duke of Bavaria from 1508 to 1550, until 1545 together with his younger brother Louis X, Duke of Bavaria....

  • Duke Albert V
    Albert V, Duke of Bavaria
    Albert V was Duke of Bavaria from 1550 until his death. He was born in Munich to William IV and Marie Jacobaea of Baden.-Early life:Albert was educated at Ingolstadt under good Catholic teachers...

  • King Ludwig III
    Ludwig III of Bavaria
    Ludwig III , was the last King of Bavaria, reigning from 1913 to 1918.-Early life:...

See also

  • Munich
    Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

  • Dresden Frauenkirche
    Dresden Frauenkirche
    The Dresden Frauenkirche is a Lutheran church in Dresden, eastern Germany.Built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II. It has been reconstructed as a landmark symbol of reconciliation between former warring enemies...

  • Petrosomatoglyph
    A petrosomatoglyph is an image of parts of a human or animal body incised in rock. Many were created by Celtic peoples, such as the Picts, Scots, Irish, Cornish, Cumbrians, Bretons and Welsh. These representations date from the Early Middle Ages; others of uncertain purpose date back to megalithic...

  • Roman Catholic Marian churches
    Roman Catholic Marian churches
    Throughout history, Roman Catholics have built churches to venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today, a large number of Roman Catholic churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin exist on all continents...

External links

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