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Munich is Germany's third largest city and one of Europe's most prosperous and expensive. The city has a population of about 1.3 million (as of 2006) and the Munich metropolitan area is home to around 2.7 million people. The city is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps.
The city's motto was "Die Weltstadt mit Herz" (The world city with a heart) for a long time but has recently been replaced by "München mag dich" (Munich likes you). The figure on Munich's coat-of-arms is a monk referred to as the Münchner Kindl, the child of Munich. Black and gold - the colours of the Holy Roman Empire - have been the city's official colours since the time of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor.
As foundation date the year 1158 is assumed which is the earliest date the city is mentioned in a document. By that time the Guelph Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, had built a bridge over the river Isar next to a settlement of Benedictine monks. The monks' presence dated back to the 8th century, although settlement in the Munich area can be traced back to Roman times. To force traders to use his bridge (and charge them for doing so) Henry also destroyed a nearby bridge owned by bishop Otto von Freising (Freising). Subsequently the bishop and Henry quarreled about the city before Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa at an Imperial Diet held in Augsburg in 1158. This sanctioned Henry's spoliation, and awarded an annual compensation for the bishop, and also confirmed Munich's trading and currency rights.
When Bavaria was reunited in 1506 Munich became capital of the whole of Bavaria. The arts and politics became increasingly influenced by the court. During the 16th century Munich was a center of the German counter reformation, and also of renaissance arts. Duke Wilhelm V commissioned the Jesuit Michaelskirche, which became a center for the counter-reformation, and also built the Hofbräuhaus for brewing brown beer in 1589.
In 1623 during the Thirty Years' War Munich became electoral residence when Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria was invested with the electoral dignity but in 1632 the city was occupied by Gustav II Adolph of Sweden. When the bubonic plague broke out in 1634 and 1635 about one third of the population died. After the war Munich quickly became a center of baroque life. Elector Ferdinand Maria’s consort Henriette Adelaide of Savoy invited numerous Italian architects and artists to the city, and built the Theatinerkirche and Nymphenburg palace on the occasion of the birth of their son and heir Maximilian II Emanuel, elector of Bavaria in 1662.
Munich was under the control of the Habsburg family for some years after Maximilian II Emanuel had made a pact with France in 1705 during the War of the Spanish Succession. The occupation led to bloody uprisings against the Austrian imperial troops followed by a massacre while farmers were rioting (the "Sendlinger Mordweihnacht" or Murder Christmas of Sendling). The coronation of Max Emanuel's son elector Charles Albert as Emperor Karl VII in 1742 led to another Habsburg occupation. The city's first academic institution, the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, was founded in 1759 by Maximilian III Joseph, who abandoned his forefather's imperial ambitions and made peace. From 1789 onwards, when the old medieval fortification was demolished, the English Garden was laid out - it is one of the world's largest urban public parks. By that time, the city was growing very quickly and was one of the largest cities in continental Europe.
Munich was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics, during which Israeli athletes were assassinated by Palestinian terrorists (see Munich massacre), when terrorist gunmen from the Palestinian "Black September" group took hostage members of the Israeli Olympic team. A rescue attempt by the West German government was unsuccessful and resulted in the deaths of the Israeli hostages, five of the terrorists, and one German police officer.
Several games of the 1974 World Cup were also held in the city, including the German triumph against the Netherlands in a legendary final. Several games of the 2006 World Cup were also held in Munich.
In 1992 Munich’s new airport was inaugurated and the inauguration of the Neue Messe, the new exhibition centre on the site of the former airport of Riem, took place in 1998.
The current (2006) Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising on June 29, 1951. Ratzinger served as Archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.
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