In 2007, Munich was voted by Monocle Magazine to be the World's Most Liveable City! More on that study, the results of which were published in the International Herald Tribune, HERE. Since then however Munich has consistently been ranked in the top 5 in similar sudies by CNN and other media companies.
Munich was founded in 1158 by Henry the Lion who came down from Saxony to get involved in the trading of salt, which was being mined near Salzburg (90 min. from Munich by car or train). The city’s name in German is München, which comes from the expression "Bei den Mönchen" or "near the monks“, because Monks had already been living here for 108 years before Henry came along. There was a monastery next to St. Peter’s church, which was built in 1050. To this day there is a church called St. Peters on the same foundation hence it is know affectionatly to the locals as "The Old Peter".
Munich is nicknamed the City with Heart as well as The Village of a Million Inhabitants (at the foot of the Alps). It is the capital of Bavaria, the largest and most picturesque of Germany’s 16 provinces. Munich's population is about 1.3 million, making it Germany's third largest metropolis behind Berlin and Hamburg. By the way, Germany itself is about half the size of Texas and has a population of about 82 million.
Munich has a very rich history and culture. It is here in Bavaria primarily, where the traditional garb known as "Trachten" is worn. The men wear Lederhosen, and the ladies, a dress known as a Dirndl. Outfits vary widely with numerous possible combinations of accessories, details, styles and colors, such that it can be a true fashion show as is the case with the world famous parade that happens every year on the first Sunday of the Oktoberfest. This parade attracts groups (Vereine or "clubs") from throughout Bavaria that proudly display their town´s particular choice/design of traditional attire each with their own unique combination of accessories. This parade is the largest of its kind in the world and groups also come from Switzerland, Hungary, Sweden and other countries to be part of the display.
Although many buildings in Munich were destroyed or badly damaged by allied bombing in 1944-45, almost all significant structures were completely restored by 1972 when Munich hosted the summer Olympics. Since the end of WWII Munich has consistently expanded and improved its infrastructure and mass transit system. In the last 10 years alone, Munich has: doubled the size of its airport (2005), added a state of the art soccer stadium for its two professional teams (2006), built a new convention center (2000), begun construction on three new tunnels under the ring road that surrounds the core of the city (two of which have been completed to date- 2015). A vast new park, residential and commerce area has also been developed (since 2004) where Munich's old airport was, and yet more.
Other recent improvements and projects include: The revival of the Schrannenhalle on the south side of the produce market (Viktualean Market) near Marienplatz, the completion of the Fünf Höfe (five Courtyards) shopping mall just off the main pedestrian way between Marienplatz and the Frauenkirche, and very significantly, the new Jewish synagogue and museum (2007), as well as the construction of numerous new buildings in the city center (e.g. Alter Hof) and just beyond the center, and still more. Munich has also experienced a culinary revival of sorts over the last 10 years with the successful establishment of numerous new and excellent restaurants of almost every imaginable cuisine, particularly an outstanding selection of Indian and Thai places that have come fully into trend.
Munich's has a relatively recession-proof economy. The province of Bavaria, of which Munich is the capital, is known as the Silicon Valley of Europe. Bavaria almost always has the lowest unemployment of all of Germany´s 16 provinces, and incidentally, the best test results for its schools as well. Munich's university (LMU) is recognized as the best in the country and was recently ranked in the top 50 worldwide.
Munich is truly a great city to live in for many reasons. It is very clean, safe and extremely green. It has many parks, including one of the largest and most beautiful metropolitan parks in the world, the absolutely wonderful English Garden. The gorgeous Isar river valley sports a seemingly endless bike/jogging path and a wonderful (albeit rocky) beach where you can sun and swim (nude if you like). Munich has an outstanding, clean and affordable mass transit system, charm, culture, history and world class architecture. And, last but not least, and a personal favorite of mine, are the 17 indoor and outdoor public pools of the city which really make a significant contribution to the quality of life we enjoy here. The indoor pools have all been recently renovated (2004-2007) and have new sauna and steam-bath facilities. These places really are state of the art and for between 9 and 13 Euros you can relax and enjoy some "wellness" while imagining you are at any good five-star resort anywhere in the world! These are the kinds of things you have to LOVE about Munich!
The city could hardly be better situated, just 1.5 hours from the Alps, with about a dozen glacial lakes within an hour or less of its center. The city has bike paths along all major avenues, excellent restaurants for every imaginable cuisine as well as its famous beer gardens and outstanding beer. We’ve even got good bowling alleys, an excellent English cinema, a Hard Rock Café and just about anything else you could ask for in a great place to live!