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Siegestor in Munich District Schwabing
Siegestor in Schwabing

Schwabing – between Art and Business

“Schwabing is not a neighborhood, but a state of being” said Franziska zu Reventlow, the Countess of Schwabing, a century ago. Living in a shared household in Kaulbachstrasse back then, she knew what she was talking about. Schwabing enjoyed the reputation of an artists’ quarter. Thanks to its proximity to the Kunstakademie (Munich fine arts academy), painters such as Kirchner and the “Blaue Reiter” group mingled there.

Painters were followed by writers, musicians, and actors. Thomas Mann lived with his siblings on Herzogstrasse. A square was named after Fritz Wedeking whose plays were always likely to stir up a scandal. Schwabing’s satire journal “Simplizissimus” became a symbol for caustic social criticism.

Revolutionaries like Mühsam and Lenin lived in Schwabing as well. Mühsam and his cronies were said to have plotted the Bavarian “Räterepublik” (Munich socialist uprising, crushed in 1919) at “Café Stephanie”. Schwabing turned into Munich’s Montparnasse, becoming one of the most important intellectual centers of Europe. 

The Jugendstil (German for Art Nouveau, literally “Youth Style”) was named after Munich’s culture journal “Die Jugend”. Wilhelminian style apartment buildings and mansions define Schwabing’s architecture with pretty Art Nouveau facades as e.g. in Ainmillerstrasse 22. Well worth seeing are also the old working class houses at the end of Feilitzschstrasse.

Schwabing’s glamour faded after the war. Gossip of Uschi Obermaier’s wild nights with Mick Jagger in Schwabing made big news in the boulevard press. Students caused an international furor in the 1960s with street fighting on Leopoldstrasse.

Street Festival in Schwabing

Where Germany’s intellectual and artistic heart was once beating, fashion boutiques took over. The main shopping and restaurant avenue of today’s Schwabing is Leopoldstrasse. Twice a year, the boulevard hosts the gigantic street life festival “Corso Leopold”, attracting around 250.000 visitors.

The second most important shopping street after Leopoldstrasse is Hohenzollernstrasse, home to brand names like “Zara” and “Hallhuber”. Locals can satisfy all of their shopping needs here. A stroll takes you along pretty boutiques, interior design shops, supermarkets, drugstores and nice cafés. If you like to alternative fashion or exotic accessories and antiquities, you may want to explore the caves of “Kunstoase”.

Unique is “Kostümverleih Breuer”, offering not only carnival outfits but also costumes for other festivities. Shop for designer fashion at “Virmani”, and men’s wear goes beyond Boss at “Herdt”, more extravagant are “Vero Moda” or “Ermano Moda Uomo”. For sportswear choose between “Adidas” and “Nike Women”. Finally, relax from your shopping spree at  “Caffè Florian“ or the ice cream parlor „Venezia“, right across “Café Schwabing”.

Schwabing’s myth may have faded, but legends are still made here as demonstrated by the stand-up comedy venues “Heppel & Ettlich” on Kaiserstraße and the “Lach- und Schiessgesellschaft”, co-founded by famous comedian Dieter Hildebrandt, at Haimhauser- and Ursulastrasse. These have been unmatched for over 50 years.

by Karin Nagl

Location:        U3 / U6 Münchener Freiheit

     Schwabinger 7 - crossover cult bar
                       Feilitzschstraße 7, 80802 München
                       Telephone 089 34 84 70, www.schwabinger7.de
                       Shopping mile Hohenzollernstraße
                       As good as it gets for shopping fans!

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Montag, 25.05.2015
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