MUNICH: Stairs

Time to read:

3 minutes

When it came to the stairs at the Frauenkirche, St. Peter’s Church and the statue of Bavaria at the Oktoberfest park, I chickened out. But stairs still grabbed my attention at a few other spots in Munich.

My favorite “stairs” in Munich aren’t a staircase at all, and they’re a half-hour train ride north of the city. They’re in the huge Math & Computing Science Building on the campus of the Technical University (TUM) in suburban Garching.

These two Parabelrutsche (parabolic slides) are set in the atrium, and they send students zipping from the fourth floor to the lobby.

The slides actually fulfill a legal requirement that university departments use a portion of their budget for art. But in conversation with students, you sense that the math department was just having a good time when it opted to express “y=x2” in steel. 

Endless Staircase

What goes up must come down, I guess. But in this staircase, up and then down is all there is. Not that you’re actually allowed to climb this double-helix sculpture in the courtyard of The KPMG Trust.

The artist said it was supposed to create movement without destination, and it seems to earn its nickname “endless staircase.” In German, it’s called “Umschreibung,” usually meaning “paraphrase” or “writing around” something.


The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) is called the “Stabi” by students at the nearby Ludwig-Maximilian-University. It is one of the most important research libraries in Europe.

The grand staircase leads to a wonderful large airy room that drew readers even on a Sunday morning.

State legal library

Deep in the New Town Hall is one of the most stunning staircases I know. It’s part of the art nouveau Juristiche Bibliothek (State Law Library).

The wrought-iron spiral staircase leads to two upper stories of shelves boasting colorful books. The books are mostly Bavarian and EU law.

The library is public but not for sightseeing. If all you want is a photo, you’re supposed to take the tour. We could only climb up the first curly steps; the guide said it wouldn’t hold more weight.

Palace of Justice

A massive set of stairs adds to the grandeur of the floors in the Justizpalast (Palace of Justice).

We entered the neo-Baroque Justizpalast to go to the courtroom where the White Rose members received their death sentence. But the staircase in the lantern-lighted central interior courtyard is stunning and fascinating in itself.

“Stairway to Heaven”

Seems like a big jump from the Palace of Justice to the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum, but that’s where the last staircase is.

The so-called “sky ladder” or “staircase to heaven” rises three stories in the oldest Burgher’s (citizen’s) house (from 1340) in the city. In Medieval times, it was common for stairs in a house to go up all the floors in a continuous unbroken line.


Escalators can be a challenge when you’re dragging a wheeled suitcase. But I saw a couple of people with cargo who didn’t seem fazed.

Next: The Job


2 responses to “MUNICH: Stairs”

  1. Ken Avatar

    While in Munich last November, I did climb the stairs at St. Peter’s Church to the top of the bell tower. Was 14 floors up (91 meters, or 298.5 ft.). Needless to say, my legs and cardio system got a good workout. It was worth it for the photos I was able to take from the top.

  2. Clint Swift Avatar

    Hmm. That tower has 300+ steps. A good workout indeed. 😉

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