How well do you know Munich? This gorgeous city of ours is world-renowned for many things, from Oktoberfest and beer to fairytale castles and the Alps just a stone’s throw away… But beyond that, Munich is also home to plenty of fascinating secrets and facts that most people don’t know about.
So, let’s test your knowledge with these 10 obscure Munich facts:
1. Freddie Mercury lived, worked & filmed music videos here
Many famous faces have called Munich home over the years, but one of the lesser known inhabitants of our fair city is the famous Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Yes – Freddie used to live and party his way through Munich. In fact, the Queen music video for It’s a Kind of Magic was filmed in the city, along with Freddie’s solo album Mr. Bad Guy, and the music video for Living on my Own. You can learn more about Freddie’s time in Munich here.
2. Lady Bavaria was once record breaking
Once upon a time, the Lady Bavaria statue overlooking the grounds of Oktoberfest was the biggest of its kind in the entire world! Well, that is until it was upstaged by a larger bronze beauty…… the Statue of Liberty herself.
Bonus fun fact: Did you know that Lady Bavaria is actually hollow on the inside and can be climbed for a unique view of the city?! More details here.
3. Mark Twain (allegedly) finished some of his most legendary works here
The famous author Mark Twain once spent the winter of 1878/1879 living in Munich. Supposedly, he worked on several of his most prominent works here, including A Tramp Abroad and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The apartment he lived in is still standing today at Nymphenburgerstrasse 45 (source), and there is a street named after him in Munich’s Pasing-Obermenzing called Mark-Twain-Strasse.
4. You can find a piece of the Berlin wall in Munich
Yup – Munich has a piece of the Berlin wall! This little-known hidden gem of the city can be found just opposite the American Consulate, on the outskirts of the English Garden.
5. Germany’s first McDonalds is in Giesing
If you fancy ordering a bucket of sweet chicken nuggets from Germany’s 1st ever McDonalds, you’re in luck! You can find this historic establishment in Giesing on Martin-Luther-Straße 26 (source). It first opened its doors on December 4, 1971.
PS: Other random McDonalds Munich fact – apparently the company’s first global ad campaign was launched right here in Munich…… for the iconic “I’m Lovin’ It!” campaign in 2003 (source).
6. Jimi Hendrix’s iconic guitar smash was born here
Yup – during a 1966 performance at the Big Apple Club (formerly on Leopoldstrasse), Jimi accidentally broke the neck of his guitar so he decided to smash it up to roaring applause (source). The rest is music history!
7. Munich is home to (most likely) the largest beer garden in the world
Hirschgarten (the largest beer garden in Munich) has over 8000 seats, which makes it most likely the largest beer garden in the entire world. PS: If you’ve never been, the “Hirsch” part of this beer garden should be taken literally… there are actually deer here.
8. TUM has two 4-story tube slides that students can use to navigate campus
Yes. This is real. I know this sounds like a weird fantasy you draw with crayons as a child, but this is a real thing and we have slid down it! Two 13m slides (representing parabolas) can be found inside the Math and Computer Science building at TUM’s Garching Campus, and they even provide mats for students to use for sliding. It’s surprisingly fun (and fast!)
9. Albert Einstein once worked at Oktoberfest
Yup, in 1896, Einstein himself worked screwing lightbulbs into the Schottenhammel tent (source).
10. Hitler’s former Munich apartment is now home to a police headquarters
Located on Prinzregentenplatz 16, the present-day headquarters of the Polizeiinspektion 22 was once home to Adolf Hitler (source). Hitler apparently moved into the building on October 1, 1929 with his staff, and remained registered there until he died. After the war, it was temporarily occupied by American soldiers.