Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a small town (26,000 inhabitants) in southern Bavaria. Which is located near the border with Austria. In fact, it is located just 60 km north of Innsbruck and 90 km south of Munich. This town in the Bavarian Alps is located just over 700 meters above sea level in a valley surrounded by mountains. South of Garmisch-Partenkirchen stands the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze (2,962 meters).
Partenkirchen was founded in Roman times as a stopping point along a secondary branch of the Via Claudia, the Via Raetia, at that time the village had the name of Partanum. As for Garmisch, the town was founded in the Middle Ages, probably in the ninth century. During the Middle Ages the two villages came under the jurisdiction of the princes-bishops of Freising and remained so until the early 19th century. The two locations flourished in the early Middle Ages thanks to their position on an important trade route between Venice and Augsburg.
In the seventeenth century the Thirty Years War particularly impoverished the area, already proven by the reduction of commercial traffic with the development of maritime traffic, with the discovery of America and the route to India. At the end of the 19th century the two villages saw a new development thanks to tourism. In 1935 the two centers of Garmisch and Partenkirchen joined together to form the current town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen hosted the IV Winter Olympic Games. The town in the following decades gained fame and notoriety as a resort and winter sports center of primary importance.
THE MOST FAMOUS LOCATION IN THE BAVARIAN ALPS
The town, born in 1935 from the union of the centers of Garmisch and Partenkirchen, is the most important German alpine tourist resort, and is surrounded by the peaks of the Bavarian Alps, among them the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze (2,962 meters). The main characteristic of the inhabited center are the beautiful and ancient decorated houses of Partenkirchen, in particular not to be missed a walk along the central Ludwigstrasse. This street, which follows the ancient route of the Roman road, preserves valuable decorated and frescoed wooden houses, among these the oldest are the Alte Haus (Ludwigstraße 8) and the Wackerlehaus (Ludwigstraße 47), the only ones that survived the terrible fires of 1811 and 1865.
Among the religious buildings, the old parish church of Garmisch (Alte Pfarrkirche St. Martin), a Gothic church full of frescoes and beautiful stained glass windows, is worth a visit. The Baroque sanctuary of St. Anton overlooking Partenkirchen was built in the early 18th century and contains some frescoes inside. The Werdenfels-Museum is a museum dedicated to local history which houses a beautiful collection of ancient dolls.
WINTER SPORTS AND SUMMER EXCURSIONS
The main attractions of the area are winter sports and hiking in the mountains. Among the things to see in the surroundings of Garmisch-Partenkirchen: the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze, located south of the town near the village of Grainau. The top of the mountain can be reached via a cable car or a cog railway (Zugspitzbahn). Spectacular are the gorges of the Partnach, a gorge carved by the river which extends for about 700 meters and is 80 meters deep.
About 10 km south of Garmisch is the Königshaus am Schachen, a small castle built between 1869 and 1872 by Ludwig II of Bavaria. Next to the property is the Alpengarten auf dem Schachen, an Alpine botanical garden. This building can only be reached with a 3-4 hour walk from Elmau or Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is an excellent starting point to visit the nearby castles of Schloss Linderhof and Schloss Neuschwanstein built at the behest of Ludwig II of Bavaria.