How old is the Marienplatz?
Marienplatz in Munich looks back on a long history, which began in 1158 with the founding of Munich by Henry the Lion. Since the very beginning, Marienplatz has been the center and heart of the city. Throughout contemporary history, the square has been determinant for urban development and life in the city. In 1315, Munich was granted market freedom by Emperor Ludwig, who attached to it the condition that Marienplatz, then called Marktplatz (Market place), must remain undeveloped for all time. In the following centuries, today's Marienplatz continued to be called simply "Platz" or "Markt" and served as a trading place for various foodstuffs. In the late Middle Ages, executions and knights tournaments were also held on Marienplatz, and it was also the venue for festive ceremonies such as the imperial visits in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1481, with the demolition of various buildings, a rectangular free square was created. About 100 years later, the construction of the “countryside” houses began, in which the representatives of the estates of the Bavarian Duke were seated. With these constructions, the square became a place of political activity, which it has remained to this day. Another historical event took place in 1638, when Electoral Prince Maximilian I erected the “Mariensäule” (Maria Column) to express his gratitude for the protection of the town during the Swedish occupation in the Thirty Years' War. Today, the Mariensäule is one of the landmarks of Munich. After relocating the grain market in 1853 to the Schrannenhalle on Blumenstraße, the Schrannenplatz square was finally renamed Marienplatz square on October 9, 1854. The New Town Hall was then built between 1867 and 1909, and a total of 21 town houses with arcades and fine stucco facades had to make place for the new colossal building. As of 1888, streetcars also ran on Marienplatz. During the Second World War, the houses around Marienplatz were badly damaged and partially destroyed, including the baroque "Peterhof". The last major change took place with the transformation into a pedestrian zone in 1972; until then Marienplatz was accessible to private cars, ever since, people can stroll around to their heart's desire.