Guided tour of Munich’s old town: New Town Hall

The New Town Hall one the most important stops on a guided tour of Munich's old town. It is located on the north side of the famous Marienplatz in Munich

The New Town Hall is one of the most important stops on a guided tour of Munich’s old town. It is located on the north side of the famous Marienplatz in Munich.

The New Town Hall is one of the most popular architectural structures in Bavaria. It is located in the old town of Munich in the northern part of the famous Marienplatz. Important events such as city council meetings and music concerts take place in the hall.

It is a richly detailed architectural work and you will have a lot of fun touring this magnificent sight. Before you visit it, however, there are a few facts you should know about the New Town Hall.

New town hall construction

Before the construction of the new town hall there was an old town hall. A new town hall was built because there was not enough space in the old town hall. After the decision to build a new town hall, Marienplatz was chosen to build the new building.

Georg Hauberrisser designed the first building, which was built from 1867 to 1874. But soon it was necessary to expand this new building as it did not have enough space for the board of directors. In order to make the expansion possible, the board of directors had to buy up land on Dienerstraße and Weinstraße.

He also designed the extension of the town hall in 1887. The new design included 4 building complexes. This took up the entire north side of Marienplatz. The tower and the key stone were built in a sustainable manner. After the Second World War, repairs also had to be made.

The famous city hall tower of Brussels served as inspiration for the design of the New Town Hall. The ingenious design for this tower came from the Belgian architect Jan van Ruysbrieck in 1449.

Construction concepts

In the construction of the New Town Hall, stones and bricks were used as building materials. The 85 meter high tower is one of the masterpieces of this building. A modern elevator can be used to reach the top of the tower. Reaching the top of the tower by elevator is great fun and a hit with tourists. Once at the top you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of Marienplatz and a wonderful overview of the city of Munich.

But before you can get to the top, you absolutely have to stop on the third floor. This is the most important part of the town hall. It has a spacious place where most of the important events take place. The third floor is also one of the most attractive parts of the town hall. The walls are decorated with beautiful motifs and original pictures by the famous Munich artist Carl Theodore Pilotis.

The library of the New Town Hall is on the second floor of the building. It is a very large library with numerous book sections. Like every other part of the town hall, the library is well designed and equipped with high quality materials.

Town Hall Glockenspiel

The carillon is arguably the most interesting and famous feature of the New Town Hall. It is located on the tower of the main building and is a special feature of the reconstruction of the New Town Hall. Every day people gather at the New Town Hall to listen to and watch the carillon. The carillon sounds twice a day at 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. The carillon represents events from Munich’s past. It has more than 40 bells and over 30 human-sized figures that are used for this performance.

The town hall carillon consists of 2 parts. Each part tells its own story. The upper half shows a knight tournament in honor of the wedding of Duke Wilhelm V to Renata of Lorraine. The human-sized figures show 2 opposing knight teams. The first team with blue and white colors represents the knights from Bavaria, the second team in red and white colors represents the (evil) Lorraine knights. At the end of the battle, the Bavarian knights are usually victorious.

The second game begins with the second chime, in the lower half of the carillon. This story shows the traditional Schäfflertanz from Munich. The dance is said to have originated after a plague epidemic from 1515 to 1517. It is said that the dance was created to distract their thoughts from the plague. It is believed that the dance helped her through this difficult time. Since then, the Schäfflertanz has been performed in Munich every seven years. The next performance will take place in 2026.

Each performance lasts around 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the music programmed for the day. At the end of the performance, a large rooster crows three times on top of the council house glockenspiel.

Construction of the Town Hall Glockenspiel

Georg Hauberrisser is the brain behind the design of the town hall carillon. It was his original idea to install the carillon in the New Town Hall. The costs for the first large-scale figures were donated by Karl Rosipal. In 1934, however, this donation was returned to Rosipal’s descendants as Rosipal was Jewish and the administration of the time was anti-Semitic.

The town hall carillon was damaged during the Second World War and was less used in the years after the war. Since then, the carillon has been repaired and can be fully used and enjoyed again.

On the occasion of Munich’s 850th anniversary, further repairs were carried out in 2007. The bells and people figurines were cleaned and restored. Everything has been polished up again. This cost about 750,000 euros. The citizens of Munich donated 650,000 euros, and the remaining 100,000 euros came from the German Monument Protection Foundation.

During the 1972 Summer Olympics, the clock struck at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. instead of the usual 11 and 12 p.m.

The Night Watchman and The Guardian Angel

Another tradition of the New Town Hall is the night watchman. At around 9 p.m. at night, a beam of light shines on the double-sided window. The night watchman always walks around on the left. He is dressed in a loose robe and usually wears his lamp and horn. During this time, the carillon usually plays beautiful melodies. The first melody is from the Meistersänger von Nürnberg. This is followed by a lullaby by Johannes Brahms. This is followed by the return of the Guardian Angel to the tower, and then the lights on the New Town Hall are extinguished. In this way, the city of Munich goes to rest every day.

The town hall tower viewing gallery, which can be reached by elevator, is located above the huge clock. The sight of the viewing gallery is enchanting, especially on a sunny day. The beautiful views include the Heilig-Geist-Kirche, the Talburtor, the entire Marienplatz, the Paulskirche, etc.

The Facade of the Town Hall

The town hall of St. Johann shows great similarities with the facade of the New Town Hall. Georg Hauberrisser also made the design for the facade of the town hall. Since there was only one design for the St. Johann Town Hall, it appears more balanced than the New Town Hall, which was built over 3 periods. Hauberrisser combined different parts of the building with different heights for the facade of the town hall. He used facade cladding and design extensions.

One compares the works of Hauberrisser with those of Friedrich von Schmidt, his teacher. Friedrich von Schmidt built the Vienna City Hall and its facade. Hauberrisser used various ornaments, elements, balconies and cladding that breathed more life into his designs and made them look fascinating.

His work was also linked to that of the Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung in Berlin. His creativity and the way in which he designed the town halls for the city of Munich resembled the works of the Zentralblatt of the building administration.

Reconstruction of the New Town Hall after the Second World War and the American contribution.

The New Town Hall suffered damage in the air raids of World War II. Reconstruction was necessary after the war. During this time, the New Town Hall was extended by another floor. With the help of American donations, the reconstruction was fully completed before the end of the 1990s. The design of the windows contains motifs from religion, culture, international and regional background. Although torn up towards the end of World War II, they were all restored during the reconstruction.

Monuments in the New Town Hall

The monuments of the New Town Hall are mainly made of brick and limestone. Built on an area of 9,159 square meters, the entire building takes up about 77% of this area. The open spaces are well decorated to suit the taste of the New Town Hall.

There are various monuments in the New Town Hall. In the middle of 2 buildings on Marienplatz there is a statue depicting the Prince Regent. Other monuments are those of the first four kings and founders of Munich. There are also water fountains and many other historical images.

Other features of the New Town Hall

There are over 400 rooms in the New Town Hall. Behind the main building facing Marienplatz is a park known as Marienhof. The famous Ratskeller restaurant is located here in the basement. The restaurant is always busy with tourists pouring in and out every day.

On the top floor there are many rooms that are rented out to small traders as shops. As a tourist you can buy your souvenirs here. The visitor center office is also located on this floor, where you can ask various tourist questions.

Events in the New Town Hall

Most of Munich’s major events take place in the New Town Hall. Different rooms are used for this. There is a conference room for the city council meetings. In the town hall there are also various departments of the city administration and the mayor’s office.

The mayor’s office is on the floor directly below the carillon. The view of the huge clock from here is breathtaking.

Music concerts, honorary awards, various receptions for dignitaries and meetings of sports clubs also take place in the town hall.
Would you like to know more?

So that’s it then. You will definitely have a lot of fun in the New Town Hall. It’s a huge place so you have to plan your tour carefully. But don’t worry, I’ll give you the best possible tour of the New Town Hall.

Don’t forget to bring your cameras, this is a great place to take great photos!

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