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St Peter's Church, Munich Peterskirche (Alter Peter)

St Peter's ChurchSt Peter's Church View slideshow
St Peter's Church, known affectionately as Alter Peter (Old Peter), is Munich's oldest parish church and was for a long time its only one. It stands on the Petersbergl, a slight eminence which was settled by monks prior to the foundation of the town.
The church has a complicated history. It was preceded by an 11th C. Romanesque basilica (first mentioned in the records in 1169) which was destroyed in a great fire in 1327. The present church was built in Gothic style in 1379-86 but was subsequently altered by the addition of a Baroque choir with three apses in 1630-36, the substitution of a barrel-vaulted roof, and the remodeling of the interior in Baroque style (1641-54). Between 1607 and 1621 the tower was given a lantern dome in place of its earlier pair of Gothic spires.
The church was almost totally destroyed during the Second World War. The rebuilding, completed in 1954, kept faith both with the traditional architecture and the original furnishings.

St Peter's Church Highlights

Church Interior

Notable features of the interior of St Peter's Church are the font by Hans Krumper (under the tower), monuments in red marble by Erasmus Grasser (set in the west wall), the Schrenk Altar (north aisle, ca. 1470), with sculptures of the Crucifixion and the Last Judgment, the splendid pulpit by J. Prötzner (1750) and the high altar (1730). The latter, 20m/65ft in height, by N. Stuber, has figures by E. Q. Asam of the Four Fathers of the Church and a figure of St Peter by Erasmus Grasser (from an altar of 1517). The panel-paintings on the choir walls are by Jan Polack.
At the end of the south aisle stands a highly regarded Mariahilf-Altar (Altar of the Virgin of Mercy) with figures by Ignaz Günther (1756).

Church Tower

The tower of Alter Peter reaches a height of 91m/298ft (including the tip of the papal cross). From the gallery, in fine weather or when the föhn wind blows, it is possible to enjoy a panoramic view of the Alps extending for more than 100km/62mi.
The tower can be climbed (299 steps):
Music is traditionally played from the gallery of the tower: June-Sept. 5.30-6 p.m. (program in the daily paper).
Tower clocks
The tower of Peterskirche boasts no less than eight clock-faces. The first was positioned midway up the tower as early as 1381 while the unusual lantern was equipped with its complement of clocks in 1621.
Alter Peter's famous chimes are produced by eight bells:
"Zwölferin" (1382; 650kg/1,433lb, note A; which used to be rung at midday), "Elferin" (1665; 800kg/1,764lb, note G; which used to be rung about 11 in the morning), "Angelus-Glocke" (1951; 900kg/1,984lb, note E; rung thrice daily for the angelus), "Maria-Hilf-Glocke" (1958; 1,100kg/2,425lb, note F), "Maximiliansglocke" (1957; 1600kg/3528lbs, note D), "Petrusglocke" (1720; 2,250kg/4,960lb, note C), "Jubiläumsglocke" (1958; 7,000kg/15,435lb, note low F; one of the largest bells in Germany), "Arme-Sünder-Glocke" (14th C.; the Poor Sinners' Bell, also known as "Sterbeglöcklein" or Little Death Bell; used to be rung when the priest was called to the dying and for executions in Marienplatz).
Special chimes: Ringing in the Sabbath: Sat. 3 p.m.; Remembrance chimes for the dead: Sun. 6 p.m.
The song: "Alter Peter"
By the time the rebuilding of Peterskirche was completed following the Second World War, the church had become famous all over the world. In order to help keep public donations flowing in, Bavarian Radio took to broadcasting only a truncated version of its interval signal - "Solang der Alte Pe.. (ter, der Petersturm noch steht..)". When at last on October 28, 1951 the tower had been raised anew, the full version could once again be heard.

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