Munich is the capital of the Free State of Bavaria and after Berlin and Hamburg the third largest city in Germany. Located in the foothills of the Alps, it offers many opportunities for recreation and sporting activities in a breathtaking scenery. Munich is a very wealthy city and a popular location for media and IT companies.
The special flair and Bavarian way of life have always attracted great minds such as the composers Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner, the writers Thomas Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, Frank Wedekind, Lion Feuchtwanger and Bertolt Brecht, and the group of artists called ›Der Blaue Reiter‹ who made Munich a center of modern art at the beginning of the 20th century.
Today Bavaria is a rather conservative Catholic country, but it has not always been like that. Under the reign of King Max I Joseph, Bavaria was one of the most liberal of the German states. In 1813 he reformed the Bavarian Criminal Law and legalized homosexual acts between consenting adults. This phase of liberalism, however, ended in 1871 with the founding of the German Empire, which led to the introduction of §175.
Nevertheless, Munich has a long ancestral gallery of famous gay celebrities: for example the poet August Graf von Platen, the writers Thomas and Klaus Mann, the circle around the poet Stefan George, the physician and sex researcher Magnus Hirschfeld, the actor Walter Sedlmayer and the filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder. And of course let's not forget the favourite monarch of all Bavaria, Ludwig II, whose homosexuality was an open secret even during his lifetime.
These days gay life in Munich focuses around the Glockenbachviertel. In the 1970s home of the red-light district, it became popular in the 1980s with students, artists and gays. Located in the Reichenbachstraße is also the famous Deutsche Eiche (German Oak), established during the 1950/60s as a trendy hotspot, that became an infamous legend in the 70s because of Fassbinder and his entourage. At Sendlinger-Tor-Platz there is the AIDS Memorial designed by Wolfgang Tillmans, one of the very few monuments of this kind in Germany.
Those who want to relax after sightseeing should try the English Garden,
which is even bigger than Central Park in New York.
Besides, its southern part on the Eisbach is a firmly established cruising area since the 19th century.
Or try out one of the many beer gardens that Munich is so famous for and have a liter of beer served in the legendary steins.
Annual gay highlights in Munich are the leather and fetish meeting at the Stark-Bier-Fest in March, several street fairs from June till August, the Munich Gay Pride weekend (CSD) in July, and the gay Sunday at the world-famous Oktoberfest in September.