The Frauenkirche (full name Dom zu unserer lieben Frau, "Cathedral of Our Dear Lady") is a church in the Bavarian city of Munich that serves as the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising and seat of its Archbishop.
It is a landmark and is considered a symbol of the Bavarian capital city. The church towers are widely visible because of local height limits. The city administration prohibits buildings with a height exceeding 109 metres (358 ft) in the city center. Since November 2004, this prohibition has been provisionally extended outward and as a result, no buildings may be built in the city over the aforementioned height.
The south tower is open to those wishing to climb the stairs and offers a unique view of Munich and the nearby Alps. The cathedral, which replaced an older romanesque church built in the 12th century, was commissioned by Duke Sigismund and erected by Jörg von Halsbach. For financial reasons and due to the lack of a nearby stone pit, brick was chosen as building material.
Construction began in 1468. Since the cash resources were exhausted in 1479 Pope Sixtus IV granted an indulgence. The two towers were completed in 1488 and the church was consecrated in 1494. However, the building's famous domes atop each tower were not added until 1525. Their design was modelled on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, which in turn took a lead from late Byzantine architecture. The cathedral suffered severe damage during World War II — the roof collapsed and one of the towers suffered severe damage. A major restoration effort began after the war and was carried out in several stages, the last of which coming to an end in 1994.
The Frauenkirche was constructed from red brick in the late Gothic style within only 20 years. The building is designed very plainly, without rich Gothic ornaments. The Late Gothic brick building with chapels surrounding the apse is 109 metres (358 ft) long, 40 metres (130 ft) wide, and 37 metres (121 ft) high.
The interior of the cathedral, which is among the largest hall churches in southern Germany, consists of the nave and two side aisles of equal height (31 metres (102 ft)). The arches were designed by Heinrich von Straubing. A rich collection of 14th to 18th century artwork of notable artists like Erasmus Grasser, Jan Polack, Hans Krumpper and Ignaz Günther decorates the interior of the cathedral again since the last restoration.
The Gothic nave, several of the Gothic stained-glass windows, some of them made for the previous church, and the tomb monument of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor are major attractions. Much of the interior was destroyed during WWII. An attraction that survived is the Teufelsschritt, or Devil's Footstep, at the entrance. This is a black mark resembling a footprint, which according to legend was where the devil stood when he curiously regarded and ridiculed the windowless church that Halsbach had built.