The big tourist attraction in Marienplatz, the square at the centre of Munich's old town, is the performance by the carillon in the 260ft tower of the Neues Rathaus [Town Hall] at 11:00 and 12:00 each day. Its mechanical figures re-enact a joust arranged for the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V to Renata von Lothringen in 1568, in the top section, and of the Schäfflertanz – a dance designed to cheer people up during the plague in 1517 – below it, all to a jolly tune played for several minutes on the bells of the carillon. Rather charming actually, and I wish I'd had a recorder with me for the sound.

The Schäfflertanz [coopers' dance] is still performed in Munich every seven years. I took a few photos of people firing off their flashes as soon as the music started; why do they do that? But the puppet performance is nice, as they go round and round and eventually joust each other off their horses. The Neues Rathaus itself was "built between 1867 and 1909 in Flanders Gothic style, and features strikingly elaborate stone ornamentation", according to the city's tourist website, although the Rough Guide more correctly describes it as "a late 19th Century neo-Gothic monstrosity".

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