Small but perfectly formed. The Asamkirche, Munich might not be the biggest church in the world at a mere 8 metres by 28 metres but it must be one of the most decorated. Not an inch of it can be seen that does not sport extravagant decoration.
Anybody who was anybody and also in search of a spot of Rococo decor in eighteenth century Germany would call the Asam brothers. When it came to building a church for themselves they didn’t have to bow to the limitation of a client’s budget or taste, they could go for broke. The Asamkirche is that church. Initially they wanted it to be only for them but the authorities intervened and its doors were flung open to the public.
The church’s real name is St John Nepomuk, a little known Bohemian saint shown here in the brothers’ statue of him, but nowadays everybody calls it Asamkirche. So tiny is the church and so fragile that you are only permitted to go a metre or so inside, then you press your nose up against a metal grille to take in the extravagant decor.
Golden angels flutter all over the interior, but it isn’t only cherubs that are dipped in gold. As you enter the church, this scissor wielding skeleton is one of the first things that you see. He is poised to snip the golden thread attached to the baby, a stark reminder that death can strike at anytime. Cheery stuff!
Entry into the church is free, although there is a box for donations. The Asamkirche is on one of Munich’s main shopping streets, just down from the massive medieval Sendlinger Tor. No signs announce its presence, it is very easy to walk past (as, indeed, I did) for all the theatrics are saved for the interior.
If you are in Munich be sure to check out one of the many beer gardens.