The Glockenspiel is a large, elaborately decorated clock located in Marienplatz in Munich, Germany. It was built in 1904 as a part of the Neues Rathaus. It is split into two different levels that each depict a historical event using the music of 43 bells, and 32 lifesized wooden figures. The firgures “perform” four times a day. Once at 11:00 a.m., once at Noon, once at 5:00 p.m., and a final time at 9:00 p.m. All the shows, save for the last once, last about 15 minutes, whereas the one at 9:00, is much shorter and involves only a few figures.


Marienplatz literally translates into “St. Mary's Square”. It was originally called “Schrannen” but was renamed as a way to pray to the Virgin Mary for protection from the cholera outbreak. In the middle is Mariensäule, a large column, featuring a golden statue of the Virgin Mary on top, with four angels fighting four beasts surrounding the column below. This was built to celebrate the end of the Swedish occupation during the Thirty Years War and symboize their victory over violence. Located at the heart of Munich, Marienplatz was a marketplace, but also used as a place to hold important public events such as tournaments and executions.

Altes Rathaus

The Altes Rathaus has been rebuilt twice. The first time being after it was destroyed in a fire in 1460. It was rebuilt around 1470. It was destroyed once again during WWII, but rebuilt in 1972 following the exact plans as the original.

Neues Rathaus

When the Altes Rathaus was becoming too overcrowded, plans were made to build a new one. Georg von Hauberrisser made the plans for Neues Rathaus. After the building opened in 1874, it was soon discovered that it was too small and so the city purchased new land, and Hauberrisser designed an addition to the building. Part of this addition was the clock tower. When the building was complete in 1904, it was very noticable where the building stopped and started due to the differences in material (red bricks were used in the first half while pale stones were used in the second). To try and cover this up, statues of the royal family were added.


The Marriage of the Duke

Often known as “The Pious”, Duke Wilhelm V was extremely devoted to his faith. He dedicated four hours a day to prayer and one to silent contemplation, he attended mass daily, and went on frequent pilgrimages. During his reign over Bavaria, non-Catholics were forced to leave and he did everything in his power to prevent the spread of Protestantism. He funded new Catholic schools, colleges, and churches. He was also the founder of the Hofbräuhaus, one of Munich's biggest beer halls. His marriage to Renata of Lorraine is depicted on the top half of the Glockenspiel. It was one of the biggest weddings during the Middle ages. The Austrian archdukes arrived with over 1500 horses, and the bride arrived with 3500 mounted riders from Dachau. Over 600 oxen were consumed and the celebrations lasted for almost two weeks. During the celebrations, there was also jousting, which is the highlight in the scene depicted by the Glockenspiel. Two jousters, one blue and white (for Bavaria) and one red (for France) joust in front of the bride and groom, ending with the Bavarian one knocking the French one off of his horse. This is also known as the “Kröndlstechen”.


On the bottom half, the famous Schäfflertanz is depicted. When the bubonic plague strcuck Bavaria, about one third of the population died. The legend says that all of the people went into hiding from fear of catching the plague. Finally, the red coated coopers (barrel makers) of Munich got brave enough to venture outside to find that the plague was over. When they discovered this, they began dancing so everyone else knew it was safe once more. Duke Wilhelm IV liked this so much that he ordered it to be repeated once every seven years to keep the disease away. That tradition is kept to this day, and every seven years the dance is performed in Marienplatz during Carnival. The next dance is to take place in 2012.

Münchner Kindl

At 9:00 p.m. three figures come out from under the clock face while a lullaby plays. On one side there is a night watchmen who blows his horn to signal curfew, and on the other is an angel known as the “Angel of Peace” blessing the Münchner Kindl, the town's mascot, as a symbol for all to sleep safely.


  • Glockenspiel - Carillon
  • Marienplatz - St. Mary's Square
  • Mariensäule - The Column of St. Mary
  • Altes Rathaus - Old Town Hall
  • Neues Rathaus - New Town Hall
  • Hofbräuhaus - Beer Hall
  • Kröndlstechen - Crown Joust
  • Schäfflertanz - Cooper's Dance
  • Münchner Kindl - Child-monk


“Glockenspiel New City Hall.” www.gothereguide.com. 2011. Web. 15 Oct. 2011. <http://www.gothereguide.com/glockenspiel+munich-place/>.

Gosciniak, Gregor. “City Mayors: Munich City Hall (Rathaus).” City Mayors: Mayors Running the World's Cities. Web. 13 Oct. 2011. <http://www.citymayors.com/cityhalls/munich_cityhall.html>.

“Marienplatz, Munich.” A View On Cities. 20011. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://www.aviewoncities.com/munich/marienplatz.htm>.


“Munich Glockenspiel.” Www.destination-munich.com. Web. 16 Oct. 2011. <http://www.destination-munich.com/munich-glockenspiel.html>.

“Munich Glockenspiel.” Www.destination-munich.com. Web. 16 Oct. 2011. <http://www.destination-munich.com/munich-glockenspiel.html>.

“Wilhelm V, Duke of Bavaria.” CatholiCity - The Catholic Church Simplified. Web. 18 Oct. 2011. <http://www.catholicity.com/encyclopedia/w/wilhelm_v,duke_of_bavaria.html>.

ger/101/2011/fall/mary_anne.txt · Last modified: 2011/10/18 23:33 by memeussling
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