Maximilian, father of Ludwig II, looking for something to kill / unofficial royalty.com
Munich is the capital of what was originally the largest principality (and later kingdom) in all Germany, Bavaria. In the 19th century the city was an odd mixture of ancient and modern – medieval half-timbered houses and cobbled, narrow streets, but already encouraging a rapidly growing industrial sector. Visitors were surprised by this split personality, because there was more than a hint of the purely provincial among the fine buildings springing up everywhere, and yet Munich enjoyed a high academic and cultural reputation. Horse-drawn carts filled with food from the luxuriant surrounding countryside filled the wide streets, driven by peasants. Later the drovers filled the beer halls, where brass bands thumped, and people from the nearby Tyrol danced. Salzburg, leading town in south-western Austria, is less than one hundred kilometres away.
But Salzburg was rather gloomy, and Berlin (Prussia), a great distance to the north was even worse. Munich, or München as it should properly be called, was founded before the eleventh century as, of all things, a place of asylum for the Roman Catholic Church: the town often found itself in the path of invading armies from north and south. Frequently occupied by foreign powers, Munich was with numbing regularity burned by Austrians, Dutch, Swedes, Italians and of course the French. High walls and seven strong towers surrounded the older part of the town, testimony to its riotous and violent past. (more…)