St. Paul's church: Neo-Gothic Masterpiece at the Theresienwiese

St. Paul in Munich - the church at the Oktoberfest venue

On the northern edge of the Theresienwiese stands the Church of St. Paul with its mighty tower. From up there, you have a fantastic view over the Oktoberfest.

Adresse und Öffnungszeiten

Sankt-Pauls-Platz 11 , 80336 München

Paulskirche an der Theresienwiese
Michael Hofmann

St. Paul's church at a glance

  • St. Paul's church , also called "Paulskirche", has been the first parish church of the Ludwigvorstadt district, finished in 1906.
  • Who built St. Paul? The Catholic church was built in neo-Gothic style between 1892 and 1906 based on plans by Georg Ritter von Hauberrisser, who also planned the New City Hall on Marienplatz.
  • Overlooking the Wiesn: With its 97-meter-high main tower, St. Paul's Church near Theresienwiese is one of the tallest sacred buildings in Munich. The tower is open during the Oktoberfest. From the main central station, a U-bahn to Theresienwiese gets you to the church in no time.
  • Tragic plane crash: In 1960, a plane grazed the main tower and crashed. 52 people died.

The main tower of St. Paul: viewpoint to the Oktoberfest

Aussicht Wiesn von der St. Paulskirche
Katy Spichal

Thousands of people climb the 97 meter high main tower of St. Paul's Church during the Wiesn, which is then exceptionally open to visitors - the surrounding viewing platform is designed as a balustrade.

On the way up, numerous guests have meanwhile immortalized themselves on the cold stone walls of the church. Here one encounters names and messages in all languages of the world.

A legend tells that even the builder of the church himself is said to have left a memento. Above the door to the stair tower hangs a portrait. The male bust with cap, fixed gaze and moustache is supposed to show the architect Hauberrisser, but there is no clear evidence of this.

Architecture and building history of the neo-Gothic church of St. Paul

The orientation and facade of the church express the awakening bourgeois self-confidence of the late 19th century. Georg von Hauberrisser won the building contract for St. Paul's Church in an architectural competition.

The foundation stone was laid in 1892 by Archbishop Antonius von Thoma and the church celebrated its opening in 1906.

The dominant design style for sacred buildings at that time was the Neo-Romanesque style, which was seen as a reminiscence of the Roman-German imperial period of the Middle Ages. Thus, this architectural style expressed a loyalty to the monarchy.

This was countered by the neo-Gothic style of St. Paul's, which the architect von Hauberrisser understood to be in continuity with the flourishing of Munich and its citizens in the Gothic period. Thus, the church was perfectly integrated into its neighborhood, which was characterized by bourgeois villas. A special feature is the tower, which is offset to the east.

Hauberrisser adhered to the orientation of Christian buildings intended for the church at that time in the direction of the sunrise and Jerusalem. Best of all, the church is thus also the destination point of the prominent view axis of Landwehrstraße.

The interior and the bells of the St. Paul's church

Innenbereich der St. Pauls Kirche an der Theresienwiese
Sankt Michaelsbund

Originally, its interior was almost mystical and richly decorated. The showpiece was a high altar on slender columns with an 11 meter high stone canopy. However, many parts of the equipment were destroyed by the air raids in World War II.

When the Paulskirche was renovated in the 1950s, it had a more modern interpretation of the interior, which now has a simpler shape.

The original bell from 1901 was expanded in 1958 by five more sound bodies and has now formed one of the deepest bells in Munich.

History: plane crash in 1960 with 52 deaths

The St. Paul's church gained tragic notoriety in connection with an airplane crash. An American military plane grazed the top of the main tower due to engine failure on December 17, 1960, and crashed onto a streetcar. Fifty-two people were killed in the accident.

The tragedy fueled discussions about a new airport outside the city. Although it would take until 1992 for the project to be realized with the airport in Erdinger Moos, a new approach procedure to Riem Airport that bypassed the city center had already been initiated in 1962.

At a glance

St. Paul in Munich - the church at the Oktoberfest venue

Sankt-Pauls-Platz 11
80336 München

Tel: +4989531547