Today, it's embellished with statues of the Prince Elector Max Emanuel, the composers Christoph Willibald Gluck and Orlando di Lasso, and the Bavarian historian Lorenz von Westenrieder.Marienplatz has been Munich's central square since the city's foundation, and until 1807, was where markets were held, along with the occasional medieval jousting tournament.

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Be sure to explore the palace grounds, too, with its many wonderful old courtyards - including the beautiful Court Garden - as well as numerous fountains, ponds, and gardens.

Munich's huge Frauenkirche - the Cathedral Church of Our Lady - has been the main metropolitan church of the South Bavarian ecclesiastical provinces since the establishment of the archbishopric of Munich and Freising in 1821.

Marienplatz is also a popular shopping destination and boasts a number of department stores, boutiques, and restaurants, and has for decades been the focus of much of the festive life of the Bavarian capital.

Always crowded with tourists, it's also a great place for free entertainment, including buskers and mime artists.

The Alte Residenz, a masterpiece of the late Renaissance and testimony to the growing power of Bavaria, followed soon after, and the final components - the Neoclassical Königsbau, the Festsaalbau, and the Court Church - were completed in 1848.

Today, the Residenz is home to a number of monuments and museums, including the Residenz Museum, the Treasury, the Court Church of All Saints (Allerheiligen-Hofkirche), and Cuvilliés-Theater.

One of Germany's most popular cities to visit, Munich is also famous for its many fine churches, including Peterskirche, the oldest inner city church built during the Romanesque period; the Cathedral of our Lady (Frauenkirche), the city's most famous building; and Michaelskirche, the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps.

Munich is also noted for its numerous parks, in particular the lovely English Garden (Englischer Garten), the world's largest urban public park.

Interior highlights include the font by Hans Krumper, the red marble monuments by Erasmus Grasser, and the 15th-century Schrenk Altar with its sculptures of the Crucifixion and the Last Judgment.