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In the hustle and bustle of today’s city life, we hurry past a multitude of architectural gems without noticing them or acknowledging their significance. But they are there, ranging from all historic periods.
Munich is world famous for its magnificent historical buildings and churches, which line both the inner city and outer areas alike. But if you look more closely, there are many design and architectural gems that are not well-known yet, but worth discovering.
The Olympic Stadium with its harp-shaped parking area, nicknamed “Parkharfe”, ranks as a top hidden (yet obvious) design masterpiece. The stadium’s roof, completed by Behnisch & Partner architectural firm for the 1972 Olympic Games, mimics nature’s spider webs, diatoms and soap bubbles, and has become an integral part of Munich’s cityscape.
Not far from the Olympic stadium’s underground station is Westfriedhof station. A place to pass through or stop for a bit, travellers can get a glimpse of the lighting design often used as a motif for postcards or advertising campaigns. The rugged-walled backdrop reinforces the unique atmosphere – not what you would expect while commuting.
The building of the Max Planck Society (completed in 1999) is located between the Residenz and the Marstall. The courtyard of the U-shaped building is bordered by the glass façade and invites you to linger. The underground, exposed creek – of which there used to be many – can be seen from the main entrance.
Allerheiligen Hofkirche by Leo von Klenze was completed in 1837. This church was modelled after Palermo’s Cappella Palatina. All except the outer walls were destroyed during the Second World War, but the building has undergone partial restoration and remains nestled directly on the Residence (Munich’s Royal Palace).
Ohel Jakob, the main synagogue at St Jacob’s Square, bears the same name as the former synagogue in Herzog-Rudolf-Strasse, destroyed in 1938. The building, constructed in the traditional East-West orientation, is composed of a cube-like glass structure overlaid with steel Stars of David which sits atop a stone and concrete base. The synagogue is surrounded by a perimeter wall reminiscent of the Wailing Wall. The main gate was made in Budapest and is marked with the first ten letters from the Hebrew alphabet, symbolizing the Ten Commandments.
In the middle of Lehel stands the parish Church of St. Anna, built in neo-Romanesque style in 1892. A true architectural jewel that looks a bit rugged on the outside, but radiates harmonious calm in the interior. Nearby, have a rest after the hustle and bustle in the city centre and perk up with a coffee at one of the numerous cafés offering freshly brewed specialties on hand.