Munich is Germany's third largest city and one of Europe's most prosperous and expensive. The city has a population of about 1.3 million (as of 2006) and the Munich metropolitan area is home to around 2.7 million people. The city is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps.
The city's motto was "Die Weltstadt mit Herz" (The world city with a heart) for a long time but has recently been replaced by "München mag dich" (Munich likes you). Its native name, München, literally means "Monks", and therefore, the figure on Munich's coat-of-arms is a monk, and is referred to as the Münchner Kindl, the child of Munich. Black and gold - the colors of the Holy Roman Empire - have been the city's official colors since the time of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor.
At the center of the city is the Marienplatz - a large open square named after the Mariensäule, a Marian column in its centre - with the Old and the New Town Hall. Its tower contains the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, an ornate clock with almost life-sized moving figures that show scenes from a medieval jousting tournament as well as a performance of the famous "Schäfflertanz" (roughly translated "Barrel-makers' dance". The "Schäffler" supposedly were the first to dance in the streets after the plague ended, thus encouraging the people to do so themselves). Three gates of the demolished medieval fortification have survived to this day - the Isartor in the east, the Sendlinger Tor in the south and the Karlstor in the west of the inner city. The Karlstor is the oldest building at Stachus, a grand square dominated by the Justizpalast (Palace of Justice).
The Peterskirche close to Marienplatz is the oldest church of the inner city. It was first built during the romanesque period, and was the focus of the early monastic settlement in Munich before the city's official foundation in 1158. The oldest church within the city borders is Heilig Kreuz in Fröttmaning next to the Allianzarena, known for its romanesque fresco. Nearby St. Peter the gothic hall-church Heiliggeistkirche (The Church of the Holy Ghost) was converted to baroque style from 1724 onwards and looks down upon the Viktualienmarkt, the most popular market of Munich.
The Frauenkirche ("Dom zu unserer Lieben Frau" - Cathedral of Our Lady) is the most famous building in the city center and serves as cathedral for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. It is particularly famous for the brass onion domes that top the twin towers. The domes were added in the 16th century, in a style that contrasted with the gothic style of the rest of the building. The original design called for pointed towers like Cologne Cathedral but they were never completed due to lack of money. At first glance the two towers appear to be the same height but in fact one is slightly taller than the other. Unlike most buildings in Munich's old town, the towers of the Frauenkirche (but not the church itself) survived WW2 intact, making them more than 500 years old. The Frauenkirche's towers (99 meters or 325 feet) are also the measurement for a new rule which limits the height of new buildings to the same height in the city. This rule was passed in November 2004 by the people of Munich in a referendum organized by Georg Kronawitter, a former SPD mayor, despite opposition from the political parties in the city's parliament ("Stadtrat") who feared that it would harm the city's attractiveness to investors. Other gothic churches are the former graveyard chapels of St. Peter, the Kreuzkirche, and of the Frauenkirche, St Salvator but also the former Augustinerkirche which serves today as German Hunting and Fishing Museum.
The nearby Michaelskirche is the largest renaissance church north of the Alps, while the Theatinerkirche is a basilica in Italianate high baroque which had a major influence on Southern German baroque architecture. Its dome dominates the Odeonsplatz. Other baroque churches in the inner city which are worth a detour are the Bürgersaalkirche, the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, the St. Anna Damenstiftskirche and St. Anna im Lehel, the first rococo church in Bavaria. The Asamkirche was endowed and built by the Brothers Asam, pioneering artists of the rococo period. St Michael in Berg am Laim was built almost simultaneously by Johann Michael Fischer and might be the most remarkable church out of the inner city.
With the 19th century architectural revival styles many new Catholic churches were constructed also in Munich. Since Middle Franconia whose population is predominantly of Protestant origin was annexed by Bavaria the first Protestant churches St Mathaeus, St. Martin and St. Lukas in Munich were erected in this period as well.