Since soccer world championship took a turn a whole number of people are disappointed with (I’m talking about Brazil’s exit of course) and this blog is anyway meant to introduce my hometown to the world, I decided to continue doing just that already now, regardless of what will happen in the arenas from today till end on July 9th, 2006!

The destination I chose for today is not only the oldest church here in Munich – it is a landmark with it’s origing going back to even before the foundation of the city in 1158! I am talking about “ST. PETER” or the way we lovingly call it, ” The OLD PETER”!

The history of this church is as turbulent as the styles in which it was built or rather repeatedly reconstructed are multifaceted!
As I mentioned, it is the oldest church, having had even prior to Munich’s birth-date a pre-merovingian (a dynasty of Frankish kings) structure at the same site! Around the 8th century monks settled around that area which, back then, was called “Petersbergl”, meaning “Peter’s Hill”!

End of the 12th century a new church in the romanesque style was erected – only to be expanded in the gothic style a short while later! A devastating fire in 1327 destroyed the (mainly wooden) building but the people loved their “Old Peter” and thus reconstructed and dedicated it anew already in 1368.

In the 17th century the 92 meter high spire got it’s renaissance steepletop and for to supply another style to the collection, a new baroque choir was added – only, to add to the confusion, for to be entirely reconstructed in the rokoko-style in the 18th century! Erasmus Grasser (~1450 – 1518) who was one of the best sculpturs of all time and Johann Baptist Zimmerman, a German painter and gifted plasterer greatly contributed with timeless masterpieces which, to a large extent, were preserved during time and can still be admired in their original beauty!

During the last years of WWII the church was almost entirely destroyed but thanks to dogged efforts by a priest and a cardinal, the umpth-reconstruction began already one year later and and lasted in fact till the year 2000 with the delicate interior frescos being completed!

I don’t want to deprive you of a nice story connected with this church …
Should you ever have a chance and ask a native about the number of clocks of the tower, he will come up with all kind of guesses but most certainly NOT the right one … there are EIGHT – and I will tell you why!

During the early second millennium it was an honour for the rich of the city to donate for the church … and what did they donate MOST – clocks, as they could be seen and thus raise the image of the donor. Back then this church had TWO towers and if you look at the front-image, you’ll see … there are two sloped lines which lead from the outer wall to the nowaday-tower – these were the two former ones, built from wood! As they were given eight clocks, it was easy … four clocks for each tower! So far so good …

Disaster struck one day and one of the two towers was hit by a lightening … and partially burned down. The city-fathers were shocked and thought what on earth to do now … with ONE tower and EIGHT clocks! They HAD to display the clocks – after all they were donations and people would have been MORE than insulted … so – they had a problem!

Finally someone came up with a solution! This lonely left over tower didn’t look good anyway so they decided to destroy it as well and build in the space BETWEEN the two original ones (see at the picture!) – ONE, which turned out rectangular and looked rather atypical for a churchtower! And the clocks – well, there was only one logic solution and that was to put TWO on EACH side .. a bit asymmetrical but the donors were happy and that was what was all about!
So ALL were satisfied … and that’s the end of the story! Whoever comes and checks in disbelieve – there are indeed TWO clocks at EACH side of the tower … EIGHT clocks alltogether and, to the best of my knowledge, non-matched anywhere else in the world!


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