Exploring Munich’s Frauenkirche (The Cathedral of Our Lady)

Munich's Frauenkirche

Exploring Munich’s Frauenkirche (The Cathedral of Our Lady)

The Frauenkirche in Munich – the Cathedral of Our Lady – has been the main church and cathedral of the ecclesiastical provinces of Southern Bavaria since the foundation of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising in 1821. Built between 1468 and 1988 on the site of an earlier church dedicated to the Virgin, this impressive late Gothic brick building measures approximately 109 meters by 40 meters and is notable for its high walls, clear articulation and lack of ornamentation. Its sheer size and sturdy domed towers – one 100 meters high and the other 99 meters high – make it one of Munich’s best-known landmarks.

Munich Cathedral: Highlights of the Interior

Munich Cathedral: Highlights of the Interior

The interior of the pounding Frauenkirche, with its 22 tall octagonal pillars arranged in two rows, was remodeled in Renaissance style in 1601 but converted to a Gothic design in 1858. After the devastation of the Second World War, it was given a simple but very effective whitewashed interior. Viewed from the porch with its larger-than-life figure of St. Christopher from 1520, the aisles and side windows are invisible, while the nave’s octagonal pillars have the appearance of a wall. At one point the choir window was also obscured by the main altar, and according to tradition, after inspecting the cathedral, the devil was so delighted that the windows were forgotten that he stamped his foot and left an imprint on the porch that can still be seen to this day. Other interior highlights include the entrance to the sacristy with its altarpiece of the Assumption by Peter Candid from 1620, the baroque font in red marble with its early 14th-century melancholy Christ in the Baptistery, and the modern pulpit by Blasius Spreng from 1957. Also of interest in the choir are the main altar by Hubert Elsässer from 1971, the cross in the choir arch by Josef Henselmann from the 1950s and the old busts and statues by Erasmus Grasser from 1502.

Read also:Highlights of Canterbury Cathedral

The many chapels of the cathedral

The Frauenkirche has more than 20 individual chapels dedicated to everything from saints and the apostles to local crafts and guilds. In the North Tower Chapel is a beautiful relief of the Virgin and Patron Saint from 1475, while in the Apollonia Chapel is a contemporary epitaph of Cardinal Döpfner by Hans Wimmer, added in 1981. St. Lantpert’s Chapel are the re-worked Gothic figures of the apostles and prophets in wood, salvaged from the former choir stalls, together with an imposing marble triptych by the aristocratic Barth family, while in the Chapel of the Seven Sorrows is The Seven Sorrows of Mary , a stained glass window added in 1959.

In the Main Choir Chapel is a painting of the Virgin of Mercy with the patrons and Sanftl family from Munich by Jan Polack circa 1500, along with stained glass by Peter Hemmel of Andlau from 1493 and reliefs by Ignaz Günther from 1774. St. Benno’s Chapel Here you will find reliquaries and a silver bust of St. Benno from 1601, as well as stained glass depicting scenes from the lives of St. Agnes and St. Sebastian from the 15th century, while in the Chapel of the Magi is an interesting altarpiece of the Kings of Ulrich Loth from 1628, as well as some Late Gothic stained glass windows.

Other chapels of interest include the Chapel of St Anne and St George , with its monumental 16th-century figures of Saints Rasso and George and a fantastic stained glass window depicting the Annunciation circa 1500; the Sacramental Chapel with its exceptional paintings of the Memminger Altar by Strigel, also from the early 16th century, along with a remarkable stained glass window of the Martyrdom of St Catherine from the same period; and St. Sebastian’s Chapel with Friedrich Pacher’s 1483 painting The Baptism of Christ along with a number of fine stained glass windows.

Remarkable tombs

Remarkable Tombs James / photo modified
Remarkable Tombs James / photo modified

Given its important role as southern Bavaria’s most important church, Munich’s Frauenkirche has long been the final resting place of some of the region’s most famous historical figures. While many of these tombs lie in the crypt, including those of Archbishop Michael Cardinal Faulhaber from 1952, Joseph Cardinal Wendel from 1960, and Julius Cardinal Döpfner from 1976 – along with a large number of members of the wealthy Wittelsbach family – many of them are known are in the chapels in the central part of the cathedral. Notable examples are the Tomb of the Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian, a free-standing monument erected in 1622 in black marble with beautiful bronze figures of Dukes Wilhelm IV and Albrecht V and, at the four corners, armor-clad standard-bearers made by Hubert Gerhard. In the South Tower Chapel is the tomb of Jörg Halspach (known as Ganghofer), architect of the Frauenkirche, while in the North Tower Chapel is the Tulbeck Tomb from 1476. Also of interest is the 14th-century tombstone of the aristocratic Ligsalz family in the chapel of the Immaculata.

Touring de Frauenkirche from Munich

Munich’s Frauenkirche – the Cathedral of Our Lady – offers one-hour guided tours of the building. Guided tours of the cathedral are led by staff from the Munich Educational Institute and run from May to October on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 2pm. All tours start at the organ loft. Occasional Bible-themed tours are conducted, each lasting 45 minutes and focusing on a specific part of the cathedral (free entry). The cathedral is also a staple of the many private tours of Munich’s tourist attractions.

Tips and Tactics: How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Munich’s Frauenkirche

The following tips and tactics will help you get the most out of your visit to the cathedral:

  • Services: Visitors are welcome to participate in the cathedral’s daily services, including Holy Mass (morning and evening) and Midday Prayers.
  • Special Viewings: When visiting in August, every Monday at 11am, church staff opens the Island Altar for a short time for viewing before noon prayers (free entry).
  • Shopping: From April to October there is a small shop in the South Tower Chapel selling a variety of religious items and souvenirs.
  • Concerts: The cathedral hosts frequent concerts and organ recitals, so be sure to check for time and availability when visiting (entrance fees vary).

Getting to know the Frauenkirche

  • On Foot : Munich Cathedral is conveniently located in the city center at Frauenplatz 12, close to many of the city’s top tourist attractions.
  • By Underground/U-Bahn : The cathedral is easily accessible via Marienplatz U-Bahn station (look for trains U3 U6).
  • By Bus and Tram : The cathedral is accessible by public land transportation, including buses and trams.
  • By Train : Munich’s main train station is Munich Hauptbahnhof – one of the busiest train stations in Europe. From here it is about a 14 minute walk to the Frauenkirche.
  • By Road: As with most major European cities, much of Munich’s old city center is pedestrian-only. If driving is a must, park on the outskirts of the city and use public transport.
  • Parking: There is very little street parking and public car parks tend to be busy and expensive.


Frauenplatz 12, 80331 Munich, Germany

What’s nearby?


Thanks to its location in the heart of Munich’s ever-vibrant old town, the Frauenkirche is close to many of the city’s other major attractions, as well as plenty of excellent restaurants, hotels and pedestrian-friendly shopping. Particular attractions within a short walk include Marienplatz , Munich’s central square for centuries and home to many beautiful buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the famous Virgin’s Column (Mariensäule), erected in 1638 in thanks for its preservation from Munich and Landshut during the Swedish occupation of 1632. Also worth a look is nearby Isartor, Munich’s only remaining gate tower and part of the fortifications built by Ludwig the Bavarian in the early 14th century, and the New Town Hall , a striking building decorated with figures from Munich’s rich history.

Read also:

Tourist Attractions in Munich

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