Munich is an ancient centre of the arts and science, but is perhaps best known for its Oktoberfest. The beer festival that was first held in 1810 to mark the union of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese, is world famous, but there is so much more to Bavaria's capital city than tankards of beer.
Bombed during the Second World War, Munich was rebuilt meticulously. Top tourist sights include the Englischer Garten, one of the world's largest public parks. Marienplatz, in the city centre, with its gilded statue of the Virgin Mary, is dominated by two town halls - old and new. In the tower of the New Town Hall, the Glockenspiel (or carillion) depicts two events from Munich's history (a royal wedding and the Coopers' dance) each day while its 43 bells sound out folk tunes. The birthplace of Ludwig II (1845-1886) is the splendid Nymphenburg Palace, and the grand Ludwigstrasse is one of Munich's four royal avenues.
The city is well-located for German and Austrian ski resorts. Cheap flights to Munich land at Munich Airport, a hub for Lufthansa, Germany's national airline, also served by Air Berlin, a major low-cost airline.
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