548 years ago on the 9th of February in 1468 Duke Sigismund laid the corner stone of what was to become Munich's most famous building, the so-called Frauenkirche (officially, Zu Unserer Lieben Frau). The builder chosen to lead the project was Jörg Ganghofer (aka Jörg von Halsbach) and he put forth a very simple design since he knew that funds were scarce. Under his direction, the church was constructed with bricklayers and not Stonemasons. Despite these great savings, the money ran out after 10 years of construction. It was at this time that the legend of the "Devil's Footprint" originates. To complete the great cathedral, the master builder turned to the devil for assistance. Sure enough, this supernatural deal got the building finished - and finished in record time to boot! The Devil wanted to see what kind of a deal he made and he visited the new church just before it was consecrated. Stealing in from the back door, he stood in the back of the church, looking towards the altar. From this viewpoint, not a single, solitary window was to be seen. Knowing that very few people would visit a church with no windows, the Devil literally jumped for joy. He leapt so high and with such power that, when he landed, he left his footprint embedded in the marble tile! His footprint can still be seen there today!
Sadly the master builder, Jörg Ganghofer, didn't live to see the church consecrated. He died in 1488. As best as historians can tell, the Frauenkirche was actually consecrated on April 14, 1494. The work was complete by Lucas Rottaler and the famous domes, the "Welsche Hauben" did not come into being until 1525.
The cathedral has seen much happiness and much sadness over its 5 1/2 centuries. In the bombings of the city in 1943-1945, the church sustained massive damage and wasn't restored to service until 1948.
- The cathedral can hold some 20,000 people - at the time on 13,000 lived in Munich!
- No building can be taller than the Frauenkirche in downtown Munich
- To help with the funding, Pope Sixtus IV granted 8 days of indulgences and 250 clergy and 124,000 people contributed a week's pay for the construction.
- The towers are over 325 feet tall!