Cathedral Church of Our Lady: All about the Frauenkirche Munich

Frauenkirche München, Foto: muenchen.de/ Michael Hofmann
Foto: muenchen.de/ Michael Hofmann

Munich's most famous church and landmark

The Cathedral Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) is Munich's most famous church and its two towers are unmistakable landmarks of the city. We have summarized all you need to know about the Frauenkirche here.

A glance at things you need to know about the Church of Our Lady Munich

  • The Munich Cathedral of Our Lady is a late Gothic church dating from the 15th century.
  • Its two characteristic towers measure just under 100 meters.
  • The south tower is open to visitors and offers a view of the entire city.
  • The church is also open to the public from the inside (outside of church services).
  • Highlights for visitors include the Wittelsbach Monument, the bishop's crypt, and the so-called "Devil's Footstep".

The towers of the Frauenkirche: the city's landmark

Türme der Frauenkirche, Foto: Katy Spichal
Foto: Katy Spichal

The towers of the Frauenkirche have been the landmark of the city of Munich for many centuries. However, their characteristic "catfish hoods" (Welschen Hauben) were not put on them until 36 years after the church was completed.

South tower:

  • The south tower is open to visitors (though currently closed due to ongoing construction works).
  • You can easily go up by elevator.
  • It measures a massive 98.45 meters.
  • There are seven huge bells ringing.

North tower:

  • Rising 98.57 meters, the north tower is minimally higher.
  • A total of three bells hang in the tower.
  • Here you can also find the medieval treadmill from when the tower was under construction.

The Gothic architecture of the Frauenkirche

Blick in das Hauptschiff, Foto: Katy Spichal
Foto: Katy Spichal

The Frauenkirche is a late Gothic, three-nave hall church. The nave is 109 meters long, 40 meters wide and 37 meters high and can accommodate 20,000 people.

A typical sign of the Gothic style are the upward striving pillars inside the church. The white pillars and the light vault ribs, alongside the stained glass windows, create a bright and open impression.

Interior decoration and art

Die Automatenuhr, links das Epitaph, rechts der Auferstehungsaltar in der Sebastianskapelle, Foto: Katy Spichal
Foto: Katy Spichal

The interior decoration of the church is simple compared to other Gothic buildings. The altar area is crowned by twelve reliefs from the life of the Mother of God and the exposed statue of Maria Immaculata. Paintings are limited to depictions of Mary with Child and Jesus as the Man of Sorrows with Wounds.

In addition, you can admire many differently decorated side chapels, altars, sculptures and epitaphs inside the cathedral, as well as an automaton clock from the 16th century.

Wittelsbach Monument and Bishop's Crypt

Das Kenotaph, Foto: Katy Spichal
Foto: Katy Spichal

The extremely magnificent memorial to the great Wittelsbach is hard to miss and richly decorated with bronze figures and symbols. A large imperial crown at the top of the ostentation commemorates the imperial dignity of Ludwig the Bavarian.

Below the cathedral is the bishop's crypt. Some members of the noble house of Wittelsbach, but also the archbishops of Munich and Freising are buried there.

The legend of the devil's footprint

Der Teufelstritt, Foto: Katy Spichal
Foto: Katy Spichal

According to legend, the famous footprint in the entrance hall was made by the devil himself. He made a bet with the master builder for his soul, that there would be no windows in the church. Upon return to the aforementioned place, he could not see any windows at first, as they were covered by the columns. Out of joy at the supposed ignorance of the people, he stamped up and left his footprint in the ground.

But when the devil took another step forward, he discovered the windows and felt that he has been deceived. Angrily, he turned into wind in order to destroy the building. It's probably the devil is still trying, because near the cathedral or at the entrance, you tend to feel a slight breeze.

Video: A tour of the Frauenkirche in Munich

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