New Town Hall

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The new Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) in Munich is located at the very centre of the city, at Marienplatz. Its actual address is Marienplatz 8, 80331 Munich. Although it looks older than the alt Rathaus (rebuilt in 1971), it is not so. The town council and the mayor of Munich are residing there.

This neo-Gothic building dominates the square. Even more famous than the building itself, is Glockenspiel – the carillon located on the façade of the tower. Right in front of the Rathaus there is Marian Column (Mariensuale) topped with a gold Virgin Mary statue and four figures at its base signifying war, heresy, famine and plague.

The new Town Hall was built at the turn of 20th century, 1867 – 1909. Its architect became Georg Joseph Hauberrisser and he chose Flanders Gothic style. Its face is more than 93 metres long and throughout all the length it features strikingly elaborate stone ornamentation. The tower is nearly 81 metres high and it features a vista platform that is open every work day.

The Glockenspiel is over 100 years old; it was placed on new Town Hall’s tower in 1904. Three times a day (at 11am, at noon, and at 5 pm; noon and 5pm just in the summer) visitors can see a beautiful, 15 minutes display. With the first tones of the chimes, the doors open and brightly coloured mechanical figures begin to dance. Figures are nearly life-sized and they are made of enameled copper. There are 43 bells and 32 figures in the Glockenspiel and two separate acts are showed. They celebrate two events from Munich’s past.

The first one (in the bottom half of the Glockenspiel) is presented by dancers dancing Schaefflertanz or the Dance of Coppers that commemorates the end of Black Death plague in 1517. After the long hiding period, barrel makers were the first ones to come out on the street and by dancing showed other people that it was ok to come out. This became a custom that has been re-danced every seven years.

The second act (presenting in the top part) is a miniature tournament of knights jousting – it was a famous tournament held for the royal wedding of local Duke Wilhelm V and Renata of Lotringen that took place on Marienplatz in 1568. The white and blue knight represents Bavaria, red and white is Lotringen – Bavarian wins at all times, of course.
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