Encompassing Schwabing, Maxvorstadt, and the fringes of Lehel, this district covers the entire area lying to the left and right of Ludwigstraße and Leopoldstraße. At the beginning of the 19th century, the expansion of the Old Town north and west of Odeonsplatz began with the development of Maxvorstadt, then a suburb. This is where you will find numerous museums, the university, polytechnics, colleges, and libraries. Schwabing, an idyllic suburb to the north, became a well-known bohemian district inhabited by artists and intellectuals toward the end of the 19th century. Even today, you can still feel the flair of this interesting area, the centre of Art Nouveau in Germany.


Munich is the birthplace of Jugendstil, the German equivalent to Art Nouveau. In 1896, the first issue of the art journal Jugend (Youth) was published here, which gave the new movement – characterized by its decorative, linear style of undulating tendrils and plant stems – its name. Over 100 artists had joined forces to protest the “tyranny” of painter baron Franz von Lenbach.


  1. Ludwigstraße & Siegestor

    After the old town wall was pulled down, Ludwig I commissioned a monumental boulevard in the Italian Renaissance style – the Ludwigstraße (1815–50). This splendid street is bounded by the Feldherrnhalle to the south and the Siegestor (Victory Gate) to the north. Based on the Arch of Constantine in Rome, the Siegestor is crowned by the figure of Bavaria riding a chariot drawn by four lions. Designed for victory parades in honour of the Bavarian army, the gate, damaged in World War II, has been restored. The 1958 inscription reads “Dedicated to victory, destroyed in war, an entreaty for peace.”

    Siegestor (Victory Gate)
  2. Ludwigskirche

    Designed in the Italian Romanesque style, St Ludwig’s Church (1829–43) is home to the second-largest church fresco in the world .

  3. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

    The Bavarian State library is the second-largest municipal library in Germany, with more than 6 million volumes, 70,000 manuscripts, and valuable handwritten documents and prints. It has as its nucleus the 16th-century collections of Albrecht V and Wilhelm V. Today’s building is the work of F von Gärtner (1832–43) in the style of Italian Renaissance palaces.

    Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
  4. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

    Ludwig I transferred the 15th-century university from Ingolstadt to Munich. The main assembly hall fronts on Geschwister-Scholl-Platz and is surrounded by faculty buildings.

    Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and fountain
  5. Akademie der Bildenden Künste

    The Academy of Fine Arts was built between 1808 and 1886 in the Italian Neo-Renaissance style. The list of students around 1900 is a who’s who of modern art – Kandinsky, Klee, Kubin, Marc.

  6. Leopoldstraße & Münchner Freiheit

    Passing beneath the Siegestor, you will enter Schwabing and the district’s principal promenade, the Leopoldstraße. Flanked by shops, pavement cafés, and fast-food outlets, the boulevard has lost some of its 1960s and ‘70s air, when a new generation of film-makers, students, and bohemians set the tone, but there are still some interesting pockets. One of the route’s highlights is the Walking Man (1995), a 17-m- (55-ft-) high sculpture by Jonathan Borofsky at Ainmillerstraße 36. On the northern end of the Münchner Freiheit, in a café of the same name, tables are set out in summer beneath a larger-than-life statue of actor Helmut Fischer. Beautifully preserved Art Nouveau houses are to be found on several side streets off Leopoldstraße, notably Georgenstraße (Nos. 8–10) and Ainmillerstraße (Nos. 20, 22, 33, 34, 35, and 37). Take a detour onto Kaiserstraße for a glimpse of a pretty ensemble from the Foundation Period. Hohenzollernstraße and the section of Maxvorstadt bounded by Schelling-, Türken-, and Barerstraße, are packed with fun and eccentric boutiques (see Boutiques & Shops ). Nearly all side streets off the south side of Leopoldstaße lead to the Englischer Garten.

    Art Nouveau decoration, Ainmillerstraße house

    Art Nouveau ornament

    Walking Man, by J Borofsky, Leopoldstraße

    Pacelli-Palais – Art Nouveau Schwabing style
  7. Englischer Garten

    Schwabing’s “backyard” is Germany’s largest urban park, offering a host of leisure opportunities – walks, beer gardens (Seehaus, Chinesischer Turm, Hirschau), jogging, boating, and – for the adventurous – surfing in the Eisbach, a small rocky stream with icy waters. The streets to the south of Münchner Freiheit lead almost directly to the Kleinhesseloher See and the Seehaus beer garden in the park.

  8. Around Königsplatz

    Munich owes its Royal Square, or Königsplatz, to Ludwig I and the vision of architect Leo von Klenze. The Propyläen (Doric) and the Glyptothek (Ionic), housing a magnificent sculpture collection, and the Antikensammlung (Corinthian), a collection of antiquities, were all built between 1816 and 1862. Directly behind the Propyläen lies the Lenbachhaus ; and one block farther down, the Paläontologische Museum. On the east side, the Königsplatz merges with the Karolinenplatz. The obelisk at its centre is a memorial to Bavarian soldiers who died in Napoleon’s Russian campaign. During the Nazi era, Königsplatz was used for rallies and parades. Another relic of that era is today’s Academy of Music and Theatre, then the so-called Führer-Bau, in which the infamous Munich Agreement was ratified in 1938. Today, this magnificent square is used for open-air events in summer.

    Leo von Klenze’s Propyläen on Königsplatz
  9. Museum District

    Near Königsplatz on Barer Straße are the three large Pinakotheken . Additional museums are planned for this district.

  10. Olympiapark

    Completed for the 1972 Summer Olympic Games, this vast park and complex to the north has become Munich’s main sports and amusement park complex .

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