The elegant Odeonsplatz is among the focal points of Munich city life and one of the first ports of call for any visitor to the Bavarian city. The classically designed square was commissioned by Ludwig I to architect Leo von Klenze in 1816, with the intention that the Odeonsplatz would offer a spectacular gateway to the city.
At any time of year, it offers ample opportunity for admiring the extraordinary architecture, enjoying the frequent events and festivals that take place, or simply people watching from a seat in a bar or cafe. The Odeonsplatz has a certain Italian flavour to it, partly due to the Theatine Church, built in Italian high-baroque style both inside and out. The church is defined by its imposing and immediately recognisable two towers, while inside a small chapel King Otto of Greece is buried, as well as members of the ruling Bavarian dynasty, the Wittelsbach family.
Another major building of interest is the Feldherrnhalle, the most immediately eye-catching structure on the Odeonsplatz thanks to its gorgeous arches and regal entrance with two Bayern lions on either side. Again, an Italian high-baroque style dominates. The Odeon itself was a large concert hall completed in 1828. Having been destroyed during World War Two, it was rebuilt in 1951, and is now used as a government building. The former site of the concert hall is a tranquil courtyard, and is worth a visit if only to find out more about the hall’s tumultuous history.
Away from the bustle of the square is the Hofgarten, a lovely Renaissance court garden (completed in 1617) where locals convene to play boules. Adjacent to the Hofgarten is the Tambosi coffeehouse, one of the most iconic cafes in the Odeonsplatz, while another must-see building is surely the Palais Leuchtenberg, which is the largest palace in Munich, situated on Odeonsplatz’s west side.