Munich, Germany has many beautiful sites, but among my favorite is the Theatine Church of St Cajetan, or Theatinerkirche St. Kajetan in German. Built in the late 17th century, it has undoubtedly seen a lot in the time it has existed on the Odeonsplatz in Munich. It sits across from the Field Marshall’s Hall, site of a confrontation between Hitler’s Nazis and the Bavarian State Police in 1923, during the rise of the Nazi Party.
After Hitler came to power, he turned the hall into a memorial for the sixteen Nazi Party members who were killed during the confrontation. The photos above show the hall in the 1930’s versus the same spot today.
Annually during the reign of the Third Reich, a parade would occur passed this spot and on towards the final resting place of the sixteen victims. The church would have witnessed the shooting and violence of that day, as well as other events of Hitler’s reign. The rococo exterior of the church is a deep yellow. This is a great contrast to the stark white found on the interior. The church has always been Catholic and is named for a founder of the Theatines, a group who’s population has all but disappeared. Today the church is run by Dominican Friars and is open to the public,
As you step through the doors, you are met with a view so breathtaking that you half believe the angels are literally singing.
Visit in the late afternoon as the upper windows catch the slanting rays of the setting sun and channel them like spotlights into the church’s interior.
It is a magical experience and a photographer’s dream. Look up at the amazing white and gold dome and you’ll feel as if you are staring into a portal to heaven itself.
Take some time to sit and take it all in. Tourists mix with the devout who come to light a candle in prayer, but all are quiet. If you are lucky and catch a playing of one of the churches massive organs, you will be transported.
By far this is one of the most unexpectedly beautiful churches in Munich and probably the best example of Baroque architecture in all of Europe. Such beauty on the site of such evil is a juxtaposition that provides great irony to the modern visitor.
When all said and done, beauty remains and evil was destroyed…as it should always be.
All photos not marked are by the author.