Neues Rathaus, Architecture and it’s fascinating history

Neues Rathaus, The New Town Hall is one of the most popular architectural designs in Bavaria. Its location in Munich is towards the northern part of the famous Marienplatz square. The hall hosts notable events such as council meetings and musical concerts.

Neues Rathaus is a rich detailed architectonical work, and you will have the best of time touring this great showplace. However, before you visit, there are many things you should know about Neues Rathaus. 

Neues Rathaus Construction

Prior to the construction of Neues Rathaus, there was an Old Town Hall known as Altes Rathaus. Inadequate space in the Old Town Hall led to the construction of Neues Rathaus. After the decision to build a new town hall, Marienplatz was elected as the proper construction site.

Georg Hauberrisser supervised the design of the first building. The construction took place between 1867 and 1874. There was a need for subsequent expansion since the building could not contain the administration at that time. To get enough space for this new building, the administration had to buy properties around Dienerstrasse and Weinstrasse regions.

Georg Hauberrisser also designed Rathaus expansion in 1887. The latest design incorporated four complexes. This occupied the whole North side of the Marienplatz. Further constructions after this were the erection of a new tower, keystone construction, and repairs after World War II.

For the construction of Neues Rathaus, Georg Hauberrisser got his inspiration from the famous Brussel’s Rathausturm. Jan van Ruysbrieck, a belgium architect, was the mastermind of this design in 1449.

Building Concepts

Neues Rathaus contains construction material such as  stones and bricks. The tower is one of the masterpieces of this building. Its height is about 85 meters; you can get there with the elevator designed to meet modern standards. Reaching the top is a complete fun, and tourists look forward to this. From there, you can enjoy magnificent sights of the Marienplatz and a great view of the whole of Munich city.

Before getting to the top, there is the 3rd floor of the building. This is the most important part of the Neues Rathaus. It has a very spacious area where most of the important events take place. Third-floor is also one of the most attractive parts of the building. The walls are adorned with beautiful designs and the original canvas of famous Munich artist, Carl Theodore Pilotis.

There is also another room in the building designated for the display of artworks. This room looks like a mini-museum. It has top-notch designs with art carvings and gems all around.

The second floor of the building is where you will find the Neues Rathaus library. It is a very big library with numerous book sections. Like every other part of the town hall, the library is well designed with quality materials.

Rathaus Glockenspiel Clock

This could arguably be the most interesting and famous feature of the Neues Rathaus. Located on the main building’s tower, the Rathaus Glockenspiel is a distinct feature of Neues Rathaus reconstruction.

People gather around the Neues Rathaus to watch the play performance of the clock every day. The Rathaus Glockenspiel display twice a day when it chimes at 11 am and 12 pm. These stories are ancestral tales from past centuries. Rathaus Glockenspiel has more than 40 bells and over 30 human-sized figures used for this display.

There are 2 halves of Rathaus Glockenspiel, each half its own story. The upper half displays a friendly battle in honor of the famous marriage of Duke Wilhelm V and Renata von Lothringen. There are 2 team battle knights of the human-size figures.. The first team with blue and white colors represent the Bavaria Knights. The second team in red and white colors represents the (bad guys) Lothringen Knights. At the end of the battle, the Bavarian knights are usually victorious.

The second chime commences the second display in the bottom half of Rathaus Glockenspiel. The story is about the traditional coopers’ dance in Munich. The dance is a culture that has been practiced for generations in Munich. The dance started as a result of a plague that affected the people of cooper from 1515 to 1517. Due to this, they invented this dance to help take their minds off fears from the plague. They believed that dancing helped them through this difficult period. Since then, they have performed it every seven years in the city of Munich. The next one is in 2026.

Each of these shows last a period of 12 to 15 minutes based on the sound scheduled for that particular day. To bring the show to an end, a large cock at the top of the Rathaus Glockenspiel would crow thrice.

Rathaus Glockenspiel Construction

Again, Georg Hauberrisser is the brain behind the design of Rathaus Glockenspiel. In fact, the idea of incorporating a clock into the Neues Rathaus building was his.

Karl Rosipal’s first donation is for the first set of human-size figures to play performance. However, there is more to this. The administration decided that they do not want to have the participation of a Jewish man in the construction of the Rathaus Glockenspiel. Unfortunately because of the Jewish descendants, Karl’s donation is being refunded to his family in 1934.

During World War II, Rathaus Glockenspiel got small damage. Hence, it’s usage got casually in the ensuing years. During those periods, it underwent necessary repairs to bring it back to a better state.

The next repairs of the Rathaus Glockenspiel took place in 2007 prior to Munich’s 850th anniversary. They got rid of the bells and human-sized symbols, cleaned, and the bad ones got recovery. Also, other parts of the clock like the bell holder, springs and steels got new looks. This maintenance cost about 750,00 Euros, of which 650,000 Euros is donation from Munich’s citizens.. The German Foundation for Monument Protection (Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz) gave the additional 100,000 Euros.

For the summer Olympics in 1972, the clock chimed at 12 pm and 5 pm instead of the normal time of 11 am and 12 pm.

The Night Watchman and The Guardian Angel

Another common tradition of the Neues Rathaus is the watchman. At night around 9 pm, a beam of light shines on the 2 sided window. The watchman always roams the left side. Dressed in a loose garment, he usually carries his lamp and horn.

In this period, Rathaus Glockenspiel plays some nice tunes. The first one is from the award-winning movie Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg. He then wraps it up with the lullaby song of Johannes Brahms. After this, the guardian angel returns to the tower, and then it’s time for light out in the Neues Rathaus. This is how the city of Munich is being put to bed by the New Town Hall every night.

Above the huge clock is the Rathausturm gallery which you can access  with the lift. The gallery’s sight is astonishing, especially on a bright sunny day. Some of the beautiful views to enjoy include the Holy Spirit Church, the Talburtor, the whole of Marienplatz, St. Paul’s church, etc.

The Town Hall Facade

Town Hall St. Johann, the town hall facade, is a striking resemblance of the Neues Rathaus. Georg Hauberrisser is also responsible for the architectural design of the Town Hall Facade.

Since there was only 1 design for Town Hall St. Johann, it has a more balanced look than the Neues Rathaus whose construction spanned 3 periods. Hauberrisser combined various sections of buildings, with different heights, for the town hall facade. He made use of facade claddings and designs extension to come about this.

People are comparing the works from Hauberrisser with the ones from Friedrich von Schmidt, who is his teacher. Friedrich von Schmidt built Viennese Town Hall as well as its facade. Hauberrisser usage of various decorations, features, balconies, and claddings gave his designs more life and made them look intriguing.

His works were also linked to those of Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung in Berlin. His creativity and how he designed the Town Halls to fit the city of Munich looked similar to the works of Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung.

Neues Rathaus Reconstruction after WWII and the American Contribution

Neues Rathaus suffered damages during the airstrikes of World War II. After the war, there was a need for a rebuilding process. During this period, an additional floor rose upon the Neues Rathaus. Before the end of the 90s, the rebuilding process was fully completed with the help of American donations.

The windows design contains motifs from religion, cultural, international and regional background. Although these got torn apart towards the end of World War II, they were all restored during the reconstruction process.

Monuments in the Neues Rathaus

Neues Rathaus buildings statues are made from mainly bricks and limestone. Built on a landmass area of 9159 meters square, the whole building covers about 77% of this land area. The free areas are well decorated to meet the taste of the Neues Rathaus.

There are various monuments in the Neues Rathaus. Just in the middle of 2 complexes in the Marienplatz, there is a statue illustration of Prince Regent. Other monuments include those of the four earliest kings and founders Munich, a water fountain, and many other historical illustrations.

More Features of the Neues Rathaus

The rooms in the new town hall are 400. Behind the main building that faces the Marienplatz is a park known as Marienhof. Here, the basement is home to the famous Ratskeller restaurant. The restaurant is always busy with tourists trooping in and out every day.

The last floor has a lot of rooms rented out as shops to petty traders. This is where you can get your goods as a tourist. Also, this floor houses the visitor center office where you can make various tourist inquiries.

On the first floor, is probably the largest balcony you have ever seen. This place hosts elaborate events like concerts, award presentations, etc.

Events in Neues Rathaus

The Neues Rathaus hosts most of Munich’s major events. There are various rooms for this purpose. There is a conference room for events like the city council. The hall also houses various fragments of the city’s administration and also the Mayor’s office.

The Mayor’s office location is underneath the Rathaus Glockenspiel. Looking at the huge clock from this position is a very beautiful sight.

The town hall is also hosts musical concerts, award ceremonies, various kinds of receptions and sports team meetings.

Do you want more?

So there you have it. You are definitely in for a fun time in the Neues Rathaus. It is such a huge place, so you have to schedule the tour carefully. Don’t worry about that, with me you would have the best tour possible.

Finally, don’t forget to bring your cameras along, you can take amazing pictures here!

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