I have been living in my second hometown, Munich, for over three decades, and still, I haven’t explored all of its places. No, it doesn’t mean I don’t travel a lot or have no interest in discovering nooks and crannies of my city.
It means the town is filled with an infinite number of mesmerizing architectures to see that every time I visit any corner of Munich, it amazed me differently.
However, being a Catholic German, I have vast information about churches in Munich. The cathedrals of my place are worldwide famous, and they draw millions of sightseers from every corner of the universe.
And today, I want to share that knowledge with everyone, but first, let me put some light on the history of Munich and its churches.
Munich and its Connection with Churches
Munich has more than twenty churches, and all of them are charismatic in their way. The Bavarian capital has an enormous religious history. People of Munich are still following sacred norms and obligations.
Talk about the history of the place, the third-largest city of Germany, began as a benedictine monastery. It later transformed into a new settlement when monks stepped in and installed a market at the junction of the route from the river and Salzburg (once named Iuvavum).
When you enter this urban town, you will witness the iconic old-fashioned walls and three old city gates. However, the central point of Munich is none other than my favorite square. Marienplatz, which is an enormous and ancient public location to meet new people. All tourists should start from here.
Near the Marienplatz, there are some outstanding buildings, such as the New City Hall (Northern side), the Old City Hall (Eastern edge), and few highly renowned churches. Yes, I am talking about Frauenkirche, St. Peter’s Church, and Saint Michael’s Church. Out of all three, Frauenkirche, the Cathedral Church of Our Lady, is the most-visited sacred landmark in Munich.
My hometown has a deep connection with religious history, especially Christianity. It would be hard to find non-Catholic churches in the city. However, every other cathedral is different from the rest in terms of architecture and design. Some of them are small, while many of them are quite large in structure.
One thing I like about these holy places is everybody can visit the churches regardless of their faith, so one doesn’t have to be significantly Christian or religious to roam in the buildings freely.
Top Churches in Munich
Though every tiny location in Munich is worth exploring, however, visiting some religious architecture is a whole different story. It took me so long to compile a list of the best churches in Munich because of their beauty, designs, and charisma, but I finally made it. So, check out!
Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Trinity Church)
Popularly known in the entire Munich, Trinity Church, Dreifaltigkeitskirche in German, is a votive cathedral. The church lays in the center of the city, near Lenbachplatz. The construction finished in 1716. It was all constructed according to the plans of Giovanni Antonio Viscardi. The building is one of the ancient Bavarian Baroque-style landmarks.
This monastery cathedral of the Carmelites is also the church of the Metropolitan parish of Our Blessed Lady. Let me share a surprising fact about it. In the Second World War, Trinity Church was the only religious landmark that had been spared from damage caused by bombs. Call it a miracle or something, but the church has weirdly attractive and mysterious vibes around it.
Being the first church building in the late Baroque style, the Trinity Church went through some changes, too. After the death of Viscardi in 1713, Enrico Zuccalli took the responsibility to finish it. The central building, along with its beautiful dome and entrance, are the masterpieces of him. Other than these, the two-faced south façade extends the front side of the houses of the street. Moreover, the polygonal central door is parted by columns and baroque crowns that enhance the appearance of the structure.
In the Trinity Church, you will witness the beautiful artwork by Cosmas Damian Asam, whose paintings are on the dome’s ceiling. Other prominent artists include Joseph Ruffini, Johann Baptist Straub, Andreas Faistenberger, and Johann Georg Baader. To discover more about the cathedral and its remarkable displays, one must take a tour of the place.
Michaelskirche (St. Michael’s Church)
No tour to Munich would ever be completed without visiting Michaelskirche, also famous by the name of St. Michael’s Church. It is a Jesuit cathedral in the city. Consider it the most magnificent Renaissance church settled in the north of the Alps. The design of the building features the Baroque-style structure.
It was opened in 1583 as a Parish church. Friedrich Sustris, with the help of Wendel Dietterlin, designed the building. And the Duke of Bavaria, William V, built the landmark between 1583 and 1597. Moreover, the monument was initiated as a spiritual center for the Counter-Reformation.
If I have to talk about the façade of the building, I must say it’s very influential. It contains standing figures of Duke William and previous rulers of the Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty. All the statues are made of bronze, and they placed in the positions to form a family tree. Furthermore, the interior of the cathedral is outstanding. It depicts Roman Catholicism in a beautiful style. From the arches to the aisles to the chapels, every display in the church is worth praising. And yes, there is a deep choir room, too.
Even after faced damaged in the Second World War, the church looks hypnotically stunning and picturesque. It was fully restored between 1946 and 1948.
Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit)
Another Catholic church in the heart of Bavaria, Heiliggeistkirche, commonly known as the Church of the Holy Spirit, is a Gothic hall basilica. The church lies on the edge of the Viktualienmarkt. It originally belongs to the Hospice of the Holy Ghost of the 14th century. Johann George Ettenhofer remodeled the landmark in 1724, and he took six years to complete the architecture. The areas of renovation were vaults and pillars.
The inner side of the church features Rococo frescoes and stucco ornament by the very famous Asam brothers. Well, the original décor was awe-inspiring, but this cathedral had faced destruction during World War II. Even the interior furnishings were damaged to a great extent. However, after the war, renovations and restorations were carried out. In 1991, the interior was entirely reconstructed.
If you are looking for the original landmark, you will only get the remnants of the north wall of the nave. And the tower of the church has a beautiful lantern dome. Look closely at the Neo-Baroque façade, and it is quite clear that the elements used in it are borrowed from Viscardi’s Trinity Church.
Overall, the Church of Holy Spirit is worth exploring, and especially, its interior has something captivating that you can’t resist yourself from seeing it.
Burgersaalkirche (Citizen’s Hall Church)
Most probably one of the smallest churches in Munich, Burgersaalkirche, known as Citizen’s Hall Church, is not less than others in terms of architecture. If you ask locals about it, you may find a mix response. Yes, this is not very famous among the Bavarian community. However, the vibrantly painted ceiling inside the basilica is magnificent. It also has a cute but contemporary style chapel on the ground floor. You need to go upstairs to discover more paintings and highlights.
It’s another masterpiece by Giovanni Antonio Viscardi, and it was built between 1709 and 1710. There are two churches in one big Burgersaalkirche. The upper church is on the higher floor, while the ground church is on the lower portion. From the outside, the Citizen’s Hall Church is Baroque-style, and the statues of Madonna and Child are placed above the entrance gate.
If you have plenty of time, visit the upper section of the church, too. It was once the prayer room, but it has been used as a church since 1778. I am sure you would like to view the masterpiece of decoration in the place, which is the statue of the Guardian Angel with the child. And yes, there is also a grave of Rupert Mayer on the lower floor of the church.
St. Maximiliankirche (St. Maximilian Church)
Like many others in the Bavarian capital, St. Maximiliankirche, popularly known as St. Maximilian Church, is a Roman Catholic Parish Cathedral. It beautifully nestles near the River Isar in Munich on the southern side of Germany. The church took several years to finished, and it was erected from 1892 to 1908. Heinrich von Schmidt was the designer and the mastermind behind the stunning architecture of St. Maximilian Church. He made sure to design it in the Romanesque Revival style.
If I talk about myself, I couldn’t get a chance to visit this place more than once. However, the giant structure of beauty is still in my memory. The cathedral is quite massive as compared to small churches in Munich. I adore the Romanesque-style façade that plays a vital part in heightening the value of the place. When it comes to the interior, it’s modest. The walls are plain with a few paintings and murals, but the furniture and ceiling are highly decent yet elegant.
Open galleries connect two towers of the building. Moreover, the soil of the place was very soft in most of the construction location. That’s why wooden beams were used for the support of the roof instead of traditional stones. Keep in mind one thing that the church was damaged a lot during World War II, and it was reconstructed in 1949. The overall appearance of the building is outstanding. So, everyone should visit this gorgeous land at least once in their lifetime.
St. Lukaskirche (St. Luke’s Church)
I am sure you don’t want to skip St. Lukaskirche, as known as St. Lukas or St. Luke’s Church, which is probably the largest protestant church in the urban center of Munich. This only preserved Lutheran Parish Church is the creativity of Albert Schmidt. It was erected and completed between the time duration of 1893 and 1896, so it took three years to get the final appearance.
It gracefully lies on the banks of the Isar, between the Mariannenplatz and Steinsdorfstrabe. And you can consider it among the historical places where people not only worship and perform holy rituals, but it is open for non-believers, too.
Special on Architecture
Nobody could ever ignore the structure of the building because of its Romanesque-style features. Albert wanted to give it a pre-reformation look, so he designed the façade of the church to rule the skyline of Roman Catholic Munich. And if you explore the interior, you will be surprised to view Gothic-style décor. However, both designs make the St. Lukas Church worth seeing.
The church welcomes visitors and sightseers from all around the earth almost every day. It is also the venue for various cultural programs and concerts. When it comes to services, they held plenty of times per week. Moreover, the church community is in love with the St. Lukas gospel choir, which started in 1991. Now they have over 70 singers with flawless and melodious voices.
Kreuzkirche (Holy Cross Church/All Saints Church)
Not the typical one in the city, Kreuzkirche, also renowned as All Saints Church, is a cemetery church in the Bavarian capital. It is famous by the name of Holy Cross Church, too. Located in the southern end of Germany, Kreuzkirche features a sharp façade, and it is among the top-notch Catholic churches in my hometown.
Jorg von Halsbach was the creator and designer of the landmark. It was erected in 1478, and consider it the first holy building with a cemetery in the Saint Peter parish. In the beginning, it was situated at the crossing of four roads. That’s why locals call it the Holy Cross Church. The building of the cathedral is in highly good condition, and all the visitors have permission to roam without hesitation.
With brickwork walls in red and a giant bell tower, Kreuzkirche can be seen from a distance. Its architecture highlights the sky of Munich. When it comes to interior décor, it is in Baroque style, and the frescos are stunning to view, too. There are also few attractions within the church, so book your tour to discover them by yourself.
I think I forgot to mention about the tomb of banker Gietz and the Phantom of Virgin to St. Augustine that are also there to teach mysterious old facts related to Saint.
One of the large Catholic churches in Munich, St. Paul’s Church, lies in the city’s quarter of Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt. Austrian architect Georg von Hauberrisser designed this gorgeous building, and it took almost fourteen years to complete the landmark. It was constructed between 1892 and 1906. The church was created in the Gothic Revival Style.
For outer appearance, limestone from Ansbach is used to enhance the façade of the church. On the other side, upper Bavarian tuff is the primary component for the interior décor. Other than these, the core of the masonry consists of brick. When it comes to towers, the central one is 97 meters, while the two on the west are 76-meter tall. Moreover, the western exterior is decorated by a giant rose window above the entrance side of the church. The entire façade and interior look highly gorgeous.
Unfortunately, during the time of World War II, St. Paul’s Church was severely damaged by air raids. It was one great destruction because the large pieces of equipment were lost, which also include the high altar. However, the church was restored with time.
Other Churches in Munich
As I have mentioned earlier, Munich has over twenty churches, but not all of them are equally famous. Here, let me share a list of some not-so-famous cathedrals to show you some more colors of the city. Though they are not as popular as Frauenkirche, St. Michael’s Church, or Trinity Church, however, they still have some great value. So, if you have discovered all the well-known basilicas and have no idea what to do in Munich, you can try these churches, too.
Damenstiftskirche St. Anna
Damenstiftskirche St. Anna, a chapel in the old town of the Bavarian capital, is drop-dead gorgeous in its structure. It is no doubt one of the wonders of Munich. Elector Charles Albert commissioned it in the 18th century, and a monastery in the legal form of a chapter of nuns was set up in the church. And yes, the cornerstone was laid in 1733. It was opened for the public in 1735.
This beautiful chapel is the work of a famous architect, Johann Baptist Gunetzrhainer. However, the Asam brothers took responsibility for the interior décor of Damenstiftskirche St. Anna. The ceiling fresco is the most appealing thing in the church. Other includes the nave, altar, and interior ornamentation.
Like many other churches and landmarks, St. Anna was also destroyed during World War II. Later, the interior was restored in the 1980s by using old photographs and images. Even though the inner side is completely renovated, but the murals are painted in classic black and white, but the charm of the place is still alive.
The only negative point of this landmark is its gate that separates the visitors from the entrance and church nave. It restricts people from exploring the central area of the church, so it can be a little bit difficult for sightseers to view highlights of the church from close.
Kathedrale Maria Schutz und St. Andreas
The beautiful Catholic Church, Kathedrale Maria Schutz und St. Andreas, is another under-rated cathedral in southern Germany. Call it the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Mother of God and St. Andrew. Its origin is from Ukraine, and it’s the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Cathedral.
The cathedral is a piece of modern architecture. The church opened for the public in 1976. Its exterior is modest and decent. The interior is lovely, like many other churches in the city. Moreover, it can be among the best indoor things to do in Munich.
Klosterkirche St. Anna in Lehel
The Catholic Abbey church, Klosterkirche St. Anna in Lehel, also known as Abbey St. Anna Church, is an example of a unique art. Nestled in the heart of Bavaria, it was the first-ever Rococo church of the Old Bavarian region. It shaped the development of sacred and religious architecture in the land. Johann Michael Fischer designed this beautiful masterpiece in Rococo style in 1733.
The interior designers included the Asam brothers and Johann Baptist Straub. It was all started in 1727 as a gesture of thank you for the birth of the heir to the Bavarian crown, Maximilian III Joseph. The construction was completed in 1733, and it was opened for the public in the same year.
I have mentioned many times that World War II destroyed plenty of monuments. Unluckily, Abbey St. Anna was among those buildings. Rebuilt in the 1960s. The façade may look plain now, but it somehow managed to appear modest and decent.
Salvatorkirche (Church of the Savior)
Another Gothic-style church in Munich, Salvatorkirche, popularly renowned as the Church of the Savior, is a former cemetery church of the Frauenkirche. The Greek Orthodox Christians have been performed rituals in this place since 1829. It was also the head office of the Metropolitan German region and the Exarch of Central Europe. Do you know the Greek Orthodox community called it the Transfiguration of the Savior?
Initially, it was erected in the late Gothic style in the 15th century. Later, the exterior of the church was built in a Gothic-like architecture, and some Baroque pieces were removed in the restoration process. The inside of the building is fantastic, and the entire church looks captivating, even from a distance.
Don’t have enough time to observe every detail of the site? No problem. It can be one of the top outdoor things in Munich. Just spend a few minutes outside the church to know the worth of its beauty.
New St. John’s Church
Located in Haidhausen, the district of Munich, the Parish Church of St. John the Baptist is a Roman Catholic Church. It is a masterpiece of Matthias Berger. He designed the building in the Gothic Revival style.
According to historical facts, the population of the city grew swiftly in the early 19th century on both sides of River Isar. For this reason, the church of Haidhausen became too small to fit its growing gathering, so a new, larger church was constructed. Keep in mind the foundation stone for the church was laid in the 1840s. That is why it is called the New St. John’s Church. Though the construction of St. Johannas was almost completed by 1858, however, the tower took more time. It was erected by 1870, and the west tower of the church is 97-meter high.
We all know what happened after World War II, and New St. John’s Church couldn’t save itself from destruction. The bombardments from world war II damaged many portions of the building. After the war, restoration works repaired the building. Even the tower received a new spire, too.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wies Church, is among the traditional pilgrimage churches near the city of Munich. Dominikus Zimmerman ordered to construct this gorgeous landmark between 1746 and 1754. No doubt, Wies Church is one of the purest and holiest creations of Bavarian rococo. Its decent exterior looks super-classy, and the interior snatches the attention of everyone. Add this place to enjoy historical architecture.
To put it briefly, I want to say visiting cathedrals and getting information about them is one of the best things to do in Munich. From the Cathedral Church of Our Lady to Theatine Church to St. Peter’s to every gorgeous church in the city, the highlights will not let you think you have wasted your time or something. Not even for a second. And yes, don’t hesitate to try new things. Every adventure gives us unlimited experiences. So, are you ready to unlock new chapters of thriller activities in the heart of Bavaria?