Freitag, 20. April 2018

Visiting the Werksviertel Mitte

Within the annual event "Müncher Webwoche" I was offered the chance for a free guided tour of the urban area Werksviertel Mitte, a part of a huge (390.290 ) former industrial area  (Werksviertel) that is now being carefully re-developed into a neighbourhood for leisure, home, work and travel.

For once it looks like a successful answer to the usual Munich gentrification where normal people are forced out of the city to make space for luxury developments. There's also going to be social housing and alternative music venues.

The Werksviertel Mitte used to be the plant premises of one of Germanys first convenience food manufacturer specialized on potato products, Pfanni.

Most of the former plant buildings have been gutted and renovated and now they offer a home to creative companies, bars, cafes and a musical theatre. The roof of Werk 3 is home to a shepherd and his 5 sheep. They are also planning to keep chicken and bees. Unfortunately the time was to short to visit the roof so you have to be satisfied with this image:

The entrance is the very flexible Container Collective, former sea containers lovingly decorated by local graffiti artist Loomit. They also host bars, cafe's, shops, an info exhibition, a motorcycle workshop and an art gallery.

Outside there are wooden benches and plant containers which are placed on the former rail tracks of the potato transport system and can be moved, ingenious. All part of the plan to keep the history alive. 

There are more plans for a budget hotel, a combined hostel and 4-star-hotel (very interested how that will work out) and a concert hall, future home of the Bavarian Radio Symphonic Orchestra, hopefully finished by 2021.

Granted, it looks a bit deserted, but it was a week day afternoon and now that the days are getting warmer the people of Munich will soon flock to this great area. 

Sonntag, 15. April 2018

Visiting the Ohel-Jakob-Synagogue

Today we visited the Ohel-Jakob-Synagogue (the name translates into tent of Jakob), Munich's main synagogue, inaugurated in 2006.

It is located right in the center of Munich and as I walk past it very often I was intrigued how it would look inside. 
Then I learned of the guided visits and booked straight-away via the website: 
You need to book at least 10 days in advance and should check-out the available dates. You also need a passport or identity card.

St-Jakobs-Platz is one of my favorite Munich spaces, the ensemble of the synagogue, the community center and the Jewish Museum Munich fits in perfectly and offers an escape of the bustling city life. I cannot even remember the place without the synagogue.

After a security check we were led through the 32 meter underground tunnel called the "Gang der Erinnerung" from the community center to the synagogue. 
On the wall we are able to read the names of the 4500 Munich Jews who were killed during the Holocaust.

At the end of the tunnel on the ground floor we were welcomed by Marian Offman, board member of the Jewish Community Munich.
He led us into the main room and told us all about the synagogue,  its architecture, the history of the jewish community in Munich and lots about the Jewish faith and customs. It was absolutely fascinating, especially the stories about the people of Munich and their relationship to its Jewish community.

The ensemble was built by the architectural practice Wandel Höfer Lorch, who even received several awards for it. I love its stunning architecture and the warmth of the yellow stone in the sunshine as well as the glass roof with its diamond shaped metal structure, symbolizing the star of David.

Even if you cannot visit the synagogue make sure to visit the Jewish Museum, the kosher restaurant or just sit outside next to the fountain and enjoy the atmosphere.