Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Looking to the Heavens

What does this church have in common with the new Rathaus at Marienplatz? It was designed by the same architect - Georg von Hauberrisser. St. Paul’s Church, next to the grounds of the Octoberfest, is no less stunning with it’s amazing spires & bell tower and its dominant position on Landwehrstrasse. It was constructed from 1896 to 1906, and is the beacon for anyone going to the Octoberfest celebration (as you can climb its bell tower during the annual celebration). But unfortunately, that beacon has not always shined so bright. In WWII, all of its stained glass was destroyed and replaced very sparingly. Then on December 17, 1960, a US Airforce Convair 340 aircraft took off from Munich-Riem airport (east of Munich – home of the Munich Messe today), but lost power to one of its engines. Unable to maintain altitude, the plane hit the steeple of St. Paul’s Church and crashed into a streetcar, crowded with Christmas shoppers. All 13 passengers (University of Maryland students), 7 crew members and 32 people on the ground were killed. Today, you would walk in and not even wonder of its past. It’s a parish church, with all the weddings, christenings, and of course funerals you would expect.