<blockquote>“Bavarians see life as a party that begins anew with every single day.”</blockquote>
Hermann Bahr (1863–1934), Austrian author
“Bavarians see life as a party that begins anew with every single day.”
Hermann Bahr (1863–1934), Austrian author

Cooling off and relaxing at the lake in traditional Bavarian garb
Image: Kilian Blees

Das Bayerische Bier EN Ein edler Tropfen! Bayern schmeckt! Typisch bayrisch EN Kulturstaat Bayern EN Lederhosen EN Wer feiert das schönste Fest in Bayern? EN Ludwig II. und seine Schlösser EN Aquarell :: Maibaum

Bavarian beer

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” A Bavarian must have said that. Way off! It was Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), one of the founding fathers of the US. He was right. Bavaria has the highest concentration of breweries in the world. Among Bavaria’s more than 620 breweries, there is a cast-iron law: beer may only ever be brewed from hops, water, malt and yeast. This is true today, just as it was 500 years ago. The Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 is the oldest food law in the world to still be applied.

In the summer, the beer garden is the Bavarians’ living room. Everyone can bring his or her own snack there. It is only the drinks that you have to buy from the host.

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A noble drop! “I’m going to make my own wine!”

Christine Pröstler’s story is somewhat reminiscent of a fairy tale. At the age of 18, the Lower Franconian was crowned Wine Princess in her home village of Retzbach. For three years, Christine represented Franconian wine and discovered a new passion. “I wanted to find out everything there was to know about making wine.” No sooner said than done. After her A levels, she completed an apprenticeship as a vintner and spent several months at vineyards in New Zealand and South Africa. For four years, she worked at a winery in Rhine-Hesse before becoming cellar master at Staatlicher Hofkeller in Würzburg. Parallel to her full-time job, she started cultivating her first vintage: 900 litres. In 2012, she founded her own vineyard, only one year later receiving the German Agricultural Society’s (DLG) Young Wine Grower of the Year award. Her next goal: to become one of the top wine growers in Franconia.

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Bavaria tastes great!

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Bavaria is...

On the eve of 1 May, or on 1 May itself, many communities in Bavaria set up a maypole as a visible representation of their joy at spring’s coming and as a way of bringing good luck.
Image: Tina Berning

We have a coincidental mix-up by the baker Anton Nepomuk Pfannenbrenner to thank for soft pretzels. Despite usually glazing the pretzels with sugar water, on 11 February 1839, he accidentally grabbed the lye meant for cleaning the baking trays – and the soft pretzel is born.
Image: Tina Berning

The “Weisswurst equator” is the humorous term used to describe Bavaria’s imaginary northern border. An equator splits a single area into two parts – in our case, into a region where the Weisswurst is immensely popular, and another where this delicacy is less widespread.
Image: Tina Berning

FC Bayern Munich is Germany’s most successful football club and plays – in economic terms, as well – in the Champions League. When Germany won the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, the team included seven pros from FC Bayern.
Image: Tina Berning

Why was it that the lion, of all animals, was chosen to be represented on the Bavarian coat of arms? The golden lion set against the black section of the crest was originally the symbol of the Count Palatine of the Rhine. After Louis I, Duke of Bavaria’s investiture with the Palatinate in 1214, the lion served for centuries as a common heraldic symbol shared by the old Bavarian and Palatine Wittelsbachs.
Image: Tina Berning

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Bavaria: land of culture

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Franz Stangassinger makes lederhosen – made-to-measure and with passion. “Simply touch them and feel the difference.”

Any Bavarian fellow worth his salt needs a “deer skin”. However, an increasing number of men outside Bavaria are also starting to wear tailored lederhosen. It takes master leather tailor Franz Stangassinger 30 hours to make a set of lederhosen, and each one is unique. The waiting list to get your hands on a pair of his hand-made, deer-leather lederhosen is at least 18 months long. “Some of my customers even come by private jet from Singapore or New York.”

The workshop in Berchtesgaden has been producing lederhosen since as far back as 1888. “Empress Sissi bought her leather riding trousers here, and the Bavarian royal family its lederhosen.” And what’s behind the modern resurgence in popularity? “People want to wear natural clothes. As soon as you touch the lederhosen, you can feel the difference.”

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Which Bavarian city has the most beautiful festival of them all?

Munich! Because the “Wiesn”, as Oktoberfest is referred to here, is legendary. Each year, the Oktoberfest attracts more than 6 million visitors. It was first celebrated in 1810 as part of the wedding between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The festival grounds – the Theresienwiese, or simply [Wiesn] – are named after the bride.

Straubing! Because the Gäubodenfest is a “thick slice of paradise”. Each August, more than 1.4 million visitors celebrate a “festival for the people, for young and old, regardless of political party or faith, for town and country.”

Erlangen! Because when the mountain calls, a million visitors follow it to the Bergkirchweih. The festival’s origins go back to 1755, when it emerged from the “Vogelschiessen” celebration, a marksmen’s fair.

Landshut! Because every four years, the Lower Bavarian city holds one of the largest mediaeval festivals in Europe. For three whole weeks, the people of Landshut return to the year 1475 – in historical costumes and with unbridled excitement.

Augsburg! Because Augsburg’s Plärrer festival takes place twice a year. The roots of this fair can be traced back more than 1,000 years.

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Image: Tina Berning

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Ludwig II and his castles

“The Bavarians are crazy. None so intensely and successfully so as Ludwig II,” says Bavarian journalist Reinhard Raffalt. To this day, the fairy-tale king’s castles of Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee continue to enchant us. Visitors from every continent make the pilgrimage to Bavaria to join King Ludwig in his dream worlds.

Ludwig found the freedom to dream during his childhood in Schloss Hohenschwangau, which is located amid a magnificent alpine setting. As king, he had Schloss Neuschwanstein erected on the rocky outcrop opposite. With a view of where he grew up, but more magnificent than before.

The castles Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee are a declaration of his love for Versailles. They were equipped with high-tech electric bell systems and telephones, central heating and toilets that flushed automatically. World-famous: the lowerable dinner tables, called “wishing tables”. Tradition and progress – age-old hallmarks of Bavaria.

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