Munich is first mentioned in a document in 1158, when Henry the Lion, Duke of Bavaria and Saxony built a bridge near a monastery called "Munichen", from which the city of Muenchen derives its name. Over a century later, the royal Wittelsbach family chosen Munich for their residence, and remained there until the end of World War I. Well known for their patronage of fine arts and architecture, the Wittelsbachs bequeathed to Munich the most beautiful monuments and breathtaking works of art, which later made the city's museums world-famous. Like most other major cities in Germany, by the end of World War II Munich had sustained immense carpet-bombing damage. Through the prosperity of the German "Wirtschaftswunderjahre" (years of economic wonder) and great efforts to recover the old historic appearance as well as to create a modern city, Munich has very fast become a cultural and economic centre, and one of Germany's most attractive tourist destinations. Hosting the XX Summer Olympic Games in 1972 Munich and its citizens once again demonstrated cosmopolitan spirit combined with typical Bavarian hospitality and tradition. On the occasion of this event Munich gained Europe's first pedestrian zone, which still makes a walk through the picturesque Old City a very special pleasure.
Munich has much diversity. No matter what you are interested in, whether it's architecture or history, culture or technology, just having fun or enjoying the peace in a beautiful park, you can find it in Munich.
To find out more visit: www.muenchen.de
Munich's city centre is closed to traffic, making it both necessary and enjoyable to experience and discover the oldest part of Munich on foot. All places of interest are within easy reach by a few minutes walk, no matter if you do it on your own or with a guided tour.
Why not discover the city on a bicycle?! With its well constructed cycle lane network, Munich is one of Germany's most bicycle-friendly cities. There are numerous bicycle rentals, and the most convenient is "Call a Bike", a service provided by the German railroad company DB. It offers you 1200 CallBikes in Munich. The advantage of this system is that you can pick up your bike at 2800 junctions and drop it off at any larger road crossing. For more information visit: www.callabike-interaktiv.de. See also the official cycling sites of Munich tourist board.
By public transport
Munich has an excellent public transportation system. You can choose between S-Bahn (urban rail) and U-Bahn (underground) with 8 lines each, the tram with 10 day-lines and 4 night-lines and approximately 70 bus-lines. There is simply no place in Munich, you can't reach by the MVV (Munich's traffic and tariff association)
Driving a car in Munich can be difficult, especially during the rush-hour, in the early morning and late afternoon. However you may want to hire a car to explore the surroundings or further south, e.g. Austria, Italy and Switzerland. All major car hiring companies have a wide spread network of rental stations in Munich.
For further information, map-downloads etc please visit the official site of the Munich Tourist Board: www.mvv-muenchen.de
One thing you should not miss is the "Oktoberfest" - the world's biggest folk festival. Everything started on 12th of October back in 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig, later King Ludwig I of Bavaria, married Princess Theresa of Saxony-Hildburghausen. On the occasion of this event all citizens of Munich were invited to participate in the royal celebrations arranged on the field outside the former city wall. Since then this field was called, in honour to Crown Princess Theresa, "Theresienwiese" (Theresa's Field) but the simple folks of Munich shortened it to "Wies'n", which is still in use as a popular synonym for the "Oktoberfest". Being organised year after year, ever since, it became an essential part of Bavarian tradition. Today, the "Oktoberfest" is an attraction for over 6 million people from all over the world, and is definitely a must-see for anyone who is staying in Munich in the autumn. To get some impressions of the Oktoberfest visit http://www.muenchen.de/Tourismus/Oktoberfest/Fotos_Bilder_Webcam/171812/index.html
The Oktoberfest 2008 starts right after the FISITA Congress and a festival package for participants will be offered. (Details will be posted later).
You can find whatever your heart desires in Munich. The city centre hosts the variety of shops and department stores and exclusive boutiques you would expect to find in London, New York or any other world metropolis. You can start at "Maximilianstrasse", Munich's most expensive shopping street, where the world's most famous designers have their branches. Even though it might be only for window shopping, you can enjoy the unique flair of the street and perhaps understand why Munich is nicknamed "Italy's most northern city".
If you're searching for original German souvenirs, such as beer mugs, pewter plates or the world famous Nymphenburger porcelain, continue your tour in the "Sendliger Strasse", a little street connecting the medieval city gate "Sendlinger Tor" with the central square "Marienplatz".
By taking a short loop-way, you will reach Munich's most famous market place, the "Viktualienmarkt" (victuals market). Don't miss taking a walk through its corridors, for it's a joy for all the senses. The best cooks of Munich get their ingredients there and that cannot be just a coincidence.
Once you get across the "Marienplatz" with its "Altes und neues Rathaus" (old and new city hall) you can proceed through the "Theatinerstrasse" to Munich's newest shopping centre "Fünf Höfe" (five courts), which combines exclusivity with a fascinating mixture of modern arts and architecture. See the official shopping guide for more information http://www.muenchen.de/Marktplatz/6940/index.html
Munich is an international city and so is its culinary scene. The diversity of restaurants ranges from Japanese to Caribbean, from a simple tavern to a temple of haute-cuisine. There is something for every taste and every wallet. You should not miss a dish of typical Bavarian food like "Weisswürstl", "Schweinshaxn" or "Obatzda" and a "Mass" of beer. To find out what this all means in English and get more information about eating out in Munich visit http://www.muenchen.de/Stadtleben/Eating_out/7860/index.html
To get detailed overview of Munich's restaurants see www.munichfound.de/restaurants.cfm
Munich by night
Night life in Munich is rich in variety. No matter what your preference, you will be satisfied, whether you just want a drink or two in a cool bar or to dance all night long in a club. As in any other major city in the world, the city's hot spots change over and over again. In spite of fashion some of them survive and become an inevitable part of the city.
The area around Munich offers many places of interest. Whether you are interested in culture, architecture or history, or just searching for the beauty of nature, you will be satisfied in Bavaria. To mention only one example, "Neuschwanenstein" Castle is definitely worth a visit. It gained world fame as the model for Walt Disney's Cinderella Castle. To learn more about Bavarian castles, visit www.schloesser.bayern.de/englisch/palace/index.htm
Take the opportunity to experience Bavaria's interesting sights with us during the congress social programme.