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Christkindlmarkt am Marienplatz

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Christkindlmarkt am Marienplatz

It seems that in Munich, all roads lead to Marienplatz. On some days, the city center, always bustling, is positively bursting at the seams. Every day at 11 a.m. and noon, the clock chimes at the New City Hall (Neues Rathaus) -- the moving characters and themes from the history of Munich delight hundreds of onlookers. The hubbub is intensified once again when rallies and demonstrations descend upon Marienplatz -- or Bayern Munich celebrates its latest success. It all started out so thoughtfully, too. Originally a few monks settled here, halfway between the villages of Schwabing and Sendling. Later on, Marienplatz became the market square of the city. In 1638, on orders from the devout prince-elector Maximilian I, the Mariensäule was erected in gratitude for the divine protection during the Swedish siege of Munich during the Thirty Years' War; the column remains a prominent attraction to this day. People often get confused over the distinction between the two city halls. The dominating New City Hall -- seat of the mayor -- was built around 1900 but seems older than it is, thanks to its magnificent neo-Gothic design. The "real" Old City Hall in the east of the plaza -- terminating at Tal-Strasse -- was built around 400 years earlier.

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