Some of Munich‘s most impressive charms can be enjoyed free of charge. Marienplatz, Viktualienmarkt, Englischer Garten, Karlsplatz, Odeonsplatz — some of the most pleasant and notable spots in the city are available for everyone to enjoy. Mere blocks from that downtown area sit two impressive structures overlooking the Isar River: the Friedensengel (Angel of Peace) and the Maximilianeum.
The golden angel standing atop a column on Prinzregentenstrasse is everywhere. Nearby are the Haus der Kunst, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, and Englischer Garten. Her images is all over the city. From countless brochures to travel guides. And when you get a look at the Friedensengel monument up close it’s easy to see why.
From her perch overlooking the city and the Isar, the Friedensengel has a large fountain before her. Called the Putti Fountain, it is the work of Munich-based sculptor Wilhelm von Rüman. From there are a series of stairs leading up to an observation area at the base of the column.
Dating back to 1896, the Friedensengel commemorates the quarter century of peace following the Franco-German War. The angel is the work of Heinrich Düll, Georg Pezold and Mark Heilmaier. Six meters tall and gilded bronze, the angel is Nike of Paeonius. She stands, arm outstretched, on a 38-meter high column. Beneath the column is a mosaic-covered temple and statues. It pays tribute to German and Bavarian emperors, rulers and generals.
The area is a popular hangout spot and although it isn’t Munich’s nicest spot, the view down the avenue is quite lovely. And to gaze up at the Friedensengel and examine up close all of the special details of the temple is worth the trip.
Nearby is the Friedensengel/Villa Stuck bus and tram stops. The tram is 16 line and the bus route 100. Your best bet is to use public transit and walk to the memorial. There is no specific parking lot for the memorial. You’re on your own the find a spot on the street.
Similarly located just across the Isar River at the end of the ritzy Maximilianstrasse is the Maximilianeum. The building sits just south of the Friedensengel. Whether you approach on foot or by car, the building is quite impressive. It looms large high up on a hill when arriving from the western side.
Construction on the building began in 1857 under King Maximilian II of Bavaria. It was completed in 1874. The original design, led by architect Friedrich Bürklein, was to be of neo-Gothic style, much like other buildings along Maximilianstrasse. The plan changed, however, to more of a renaissance design under Gottfried Semper. The massive and impressive building has large windows that shimmer in the light. And it has many niches and alcoves in which sit busts, statues and other lavish decorations.
So what was the original intent for this palatial building? It was to be the home of a gifted students’ foundation. Today it serves as the Bavarian state parliament building (Bayerischer Landtag). A quick walk around the building betrays the current use by way of fences and high security.
The location is rather wooded and up a somewhat steep street, making it a good hike. The building is generally not open to the public. However, on weekends a restaurant inside the Maximilianeum serves brunch for the public.
Nearby is the Maximilianeum tram stop on the 18 and 19 lines. Your best bet is to use public transit and walk to the building. There is no public parking lot for sightseeing. You’re on your own the find a spot on the street.
Tips for Friedensengel & Maximilianeum
Both monuments are out in the open and you can simply walk right up. They are free of charge and you can visit any day of the week at any time.
All photos are my own.