The massive and ornate new Munich city hall took over forty years to complete, though the city government moved into the uncompleted structure in 1874. The extravagant, heroically-proportioned exterior and interior express the joy and confidence of the new Germany, created as a triumphant result of the successful completion of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.
But in spite of the affirmation of the new Germany, many of the details of the city hall express a continuing pride in the history and conditions of Bavaria in general, and Munich in particular. The celebrated clock tower, for example, completed in 1908, features a machine-choreographed representation of the marriage in 1568 of Munich’s own Duke Wilhelm V to Renata of Bavaria. The miniature Bavarian knight unhorses the Lorraine horseman in a tribute to the jousting tournament victory of the Bavarians over the knights of Lorraine held at the occasion of the marriage celebration.
The lower pantomime of the glockenspiel shows the Schäfflertanz, a legendary (1517?) dance depicting the coopers who came out to dance in the streets of Munich to show that the plague had not conquered their spirits.
The famed ratskeller in the basement of the city hall features a humorous mural depicting the age-old feud between beer and wine:
The Munich city hall was severely damaged, but not destroyed during the Second World War. Today, the building has been completely restored to its original glory.
more to come...