Munich (//; German: München ( listen); Austro-Bavarian: Minga ) is the capital and the most populated city in the German state of Bavaria, on the banks of the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is also the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, and the 12th largest city in the European Union, with a population of around 1.5 million. The Munich Metropolitan Region is home to 6 million people.
The city is a major centre of art, technology, finance, publishing, culture, innovation, education, business, and tourism in Germany and Europe and enjoys a very high standard and quality of living, reaching first in Germany and third worldwide according to the 2018 Mercer survey, and being rated the world's most liveable city by the Monocle's Quality of Life Survey 2018. According to the Globalization and World Rankings Research Institute Munich is considered an alpha-world city, as of 2015[update].
The name of the city is derived from the Old/Middle High German term Munichen, meaning "by the monks". It derives from the monks of the Benedictine order, who ran a monastery at the place that was later to become the Old Town of Munich; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat of arms. Munich was first mentioned in 1158. Catholic Munich was a cultural stronghold of the Counter-Reformation and a political point of divergence during the resulting Thirty Years' War, but remained physically untouched despite an occupation by the Protestant Swedes. Once Bavaria was established as a sovereign kingdom in 1806, it became a major European centre of arts, architecture, culture and science. In 1918, during the German Revolution, the ruling house of Wittelsbach, which governed Bavaria since 1180, was forced to abdicate in Munich and a short-lived socialist republic was declared.
In the 1920s, Munich became home to several political factions, among them the NSDAP. The first attempt of the Nazi movement to take over the German government in 1923 with the Beer Hall Putsch was stopped by the Bavarian police in Munich with gunfire. After the Nazis' rise to power, Munich was declared their "Capital of the Movement". During World War II, Munich was heavily bombed and more than 50% of the entire city and up to 90% of the historic centre were destroyed. After the end of postwar American occupation in 1949, there was a great increase in population and economic power during the years of Wirtschaftswunder, or "economic miracle". Unlike many other German cities which were heavily bombed and destroyed, Munich restored most of its traditional cityscape and hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics. The 1980s brought strong economic growth, high-tech industries and scientific institutions, and population growth. The city is home to major corporations like BMW, Siemens, MAN, Linde, Allianz and MunichRE.
Munich is home to many universities, museums and theatres. Its numerous architectural attractions, sports events, exhibitions and its annual Oktoberfest attract considerable tourism. Munich is one of the most prosperous and fastest growing cities in Germany. It is a top-ranked destination for migration and expatriate location, despite being the municipality with the highest population density in Germany (4,500 people per km²) . Munich hosts more than 530,000 people of foreign background, making up 37.7% of its population.
The first known settlement in the area was of Benedictine monks on the Salt road. The foundation date is considered the year 1158, the date the city was first mentioned in a document. The document was signed in Augsburg. By then, the Guelph Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, had built a toll bridge over the river Isar next to the monk settlement and on the salt route.
In 1175, Munich received city status and fortification. In 1180, with the trial of Henry the Lion, Otto I Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria, and Munich was handed to the Bishop of Freising. (Wittelsbach's heirs, the Wittelsbach dynasty, ruled Bavaria until 1918.) In 1240, Munich was transferred to Otto II Wittelsbach and in 1255, when the Duchy of Bavaria was split in two, Munich became the ducal residence of Upper Bavaria.