When I do a greet in the city centre, very often the Promenadeplatz is part of my walk. Because it is so elegant and so many stories are connected with it. Take for example the shining silver statue on its eastern side. This is the count of Montgelas. Nowadays you would call him a “superminister”, as he was (with interruptions) from 1799 to 1817 foreign minister, minister of finance and Home Secretary under the king of Bavaria Max I Joseph. In these functions he set up a far-reaching transformation and modernisation of Bavarian politics and administration which enclosed all areas of social life. A character to be remembered. Therefore, the noble reformer´s statue was set up in April, 2005 at the head of Promenadeplatz and is at first sight easily mistaken for Mozart.
Originally, the urban salt depots stood on the square – Munich was since its foundation a commercial place for the “white gold” of the Middle Ages. The salt depots were demolished in 1778 and the square was used first as a parade ground. Only in 1804, the square was turned into a green on which citizens could take a walk . Hence its current name. Since that time you can stroll along the green and think about the square´s other curiosities.
Such as the statue of the Renaissance composer and Bavarian court conductor Orlando di Lasso (1532 – 1594). He has to share his monument, or rather the pedestal, with another hero of music – Michael Jackson. The pop music icon looks at the viewer from countless pictures. In front you will always find fresh flowers and numerous decorative items. The Ministry of Education and the Arts tolerates the memorial since it was set up by fans seven years ago. According to newspaper reports, two of them quarreled last year about the “right of possession”, i.e. the right way to decorate the memorial. According to a report of Süddeutsche Zeitung from July, 2015, the ministry asked both sides for a “peaceful coexistence”, because otherwise, “unfortunately, the memorial will have to be removed permanently”. As a result, the situation returned to normal…
Yes, blessed quiet! One finds that with a rest on one of the numerous benches along the sides of the square or in the “Blue Spa” – the wellness retreat of the five-star hotel “Bayerischer Hof”, high above Munich´s roof-tops. Maybe Mr. Jackson had a facial there or did a couple of laps in the radiantly blue pool and later had a cocktail in the hotel´s elegant roof-top bar. And maybe he had once dinner with Keith Richards or Bruce Springsteen or another one of the numerous personalities from politics, economy and culture who spent a night at this hotel. According to the visitors’ book of the noble hostel which opened in 1841, almost every VIP you can think of has been their guest. . . For details, please go to the website of the hotel www.bayerischerhof.de.
As an alternative to a night in the hotel, you can buy a day ticket for the Blue Spa and recover from the whirl of the town. Moreover, there are several restaurants and bars open to the public, e.g. Falk’s bar in the hall of mirrors – the only historical room in the hotel which survived the nights of bombing of the Second World War unscathed. Personally, I prefer the bar Tabacco (www.bartabacco.com) in Hartmannstrasse which is located right across Promenadeplatz. They serve all classical cocktails, tasty barfood and have a good selection of whisky.
The bar´s classy ambiance of an English gentlemen’s club gives you an excellent atmosphere to think about the more dangerous perils of politics. Some paid with their life for a political office – like Kurt Eisner. The pacifistic USPD politician was the first Prime Minister of Bavaria after the fall of the monarchy. Less than 150 yards away from the statue of the count of Montgelas, in the “Kardinal-Faulhaber-Straße”, on the 21st of February, 1919, Eisner was shot by lieutenant Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley from immediate proximity. He was murdered on the way to parliament where he wanted to offer his resignation after the lost re-election. Today, exactly at the place he was assassinated, you find a steel plate on the ground showing the outlines of Eisner´s body marked with chalk by the police. Above you find an inscription referring to that historical incident:
KURT EISNER, DER AM 8. NOVEMBER 1918 DIE BAYERISCHE REPUBLIK AUSRIEF, NACHMALIGER MINISTERPRÄSIDENT DES VOLKSSTAATES BAYERN, WURDE AN DIESER STELLE AM 21. FEBRUAR 1919 ERMORDET.