It seems that we Munich Greeters have a good connection to God's department for weather and climate. On Saturday it was raining cats and dogs, so that you wouldn't even have wanted to place a Christmas tree outside, but on Sunday it was dry and not too cold – the ideal weather for an advent stroll with the Munich Greeters.
Greeter Anna wanted to show us the festively decorated city centre of Munich. Only around the Marienplatz there are at least 5 Christmas markets. This makes it easy to spice up your mulled wine with a bit of culture. Please try to remember that mulled wine is not the same as sacramental wine in the church, so you should finish it while still standing in front of the cultural heritage 🙂
HotSpot no. 1: St. Peter's church (Alter Peter) with nativity scene
Christmas crib-fans should consider visiting the „Alter Peter“, which forms part of the „Münchner Krippenweg“, a circular trail with lots of nativity scenes on the way. The crib in St. Peter, next to the entrance, is from the end of the 18th century and shows Joseph and Mary searching for shelter. Representing the Christmas story in nativity scenes has a long tradition in Munich: At the end of the 16th century the Jesuits set up the first crib in the Michaelskirche (between Stachus and Marienplatz). Nowadays cribs can be found in a lot of churches in the city centre (e.g. Frauenkirche, Theatinerkirche, Heilig-Geist-Kirche, Bürgersaalkirche). Sometimes they stay there until the beginning of the next year, with changing scenes.
Hotspot no. 2: Rindermarkt with Christmas pyramid
The Christmas pyramid is originally fabricated in the German Erzgebirge, but does look nice on the Rindermarkt as well. It is decorated with candles; the hot air streaming upwards makes the pyramid turn around. You should not miss going there to have a look at it, to eat a “Kaiserschmarrn” (a traditional pancake) or drink a “Feuerzangenbowle” (burnt punch).
HotSpot no. 3: Christmas market Marienplatz
Here you can find Munich's official Christmas tree (a gift from the municipality of Aschau in the Austrian Zillertal), which is decorated with 2.500 candles. Each year a different municipality is selected to donate the Christmas tree – the current list of donors extends until 2025. In return, the municipality is allowed to advertise itself and to sell mulled wine in the Prunkhof, the city hall's courtyard. Last years Christmas trees have been quite nice, but this year's is not really worth to mention and is thus heavily debated. It is crooked and has few branches. While past trees have made it up to 3.000 candles, on this year's there was not enough room for that much light. Lord Mayor Christian Ude defended the tree saying “We are also not that beautiful” (unfortunately the video is only available in German).
HotSpot no. 4: The Prunkhof
The Christmas post office, where you can hand in your Christmas letters, is situated in the passage leading to the Prunkhof. In the city hall's courtyard the big city crib from the beginning of the 19th century can be found. That's also the place where Aschau, the donor of the Christmas tree, is serving mulled wine. Go there to see if it's better than the tree!
HotSpot no. 5: Christmas market in the Residenz with fairy tale market
After that much culture we deserved a mulled wine on the Christmas market in the Residenz, the former seat of government and residence of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings. 2010 it was chosen to be the Christmas market with the most pleasant atmosphere in Munich. The booths imitate a village in the Alps with a church in the middle. In the cosy alpine huts traditional crafts, for example buttons and jewellery made from horn, are offered. Gourmets can try the Bavarian food, including Baumstriezel (helix-shaped sugared pastry) and Rahmfleckerl (flat bread topped e.g. with sour cream, bacon and chopped chives). In the fairy tale forest Little Red Riding Hood and Santa Claus are contributing to the Christmas spirit. Parents and children will benefit from a visit.