This tiny church was designed by two brothers as a project of passion. Now, it is publicly acknowledged as a masterpiece of Baroque and Rococo design.
The Asam Church was formally named after Saint John of Nepomuk, but it is better known by the name of the two brothers who had it designed and built. The church was built in the early 18th century, according to designs by the architect Egid Quirin Asam, and with help from his brother, Cosmas Damian Asam. The church was initially intended to be a chapel for private use by the brothers, who lived next door. Because of public pressure, however, the Asams were obliged to open the church for public use against their will.
The church is located in Sendlinger Street, one of Munich’s most fashionable shopping areas. Tucked between stores, this extravagant church is small but extremely hard to miss. Columns rise above the street entrance to support a statue of Saint John of Nepomuk, which is the centerpiece of this magnificent façade. Look beside the church to find the Asam House, which Egid Quirin Asam bought in the 18th century.
The church is tiny by Bavarian standards, but the interior is dazzling in its grandeur. Take in the many murals, sculptures and plasterwork on the inside. Cosmas Damian Asam painted a number of brilliant frescos, including one on the ceiling that depicts the life of the church’s namesake saint.
The building’s interior is divided into three levels that differ in shade, ornamentation and lighting. The lower level, designed for the general public, is decorated in darker tones that represent human suffering. The white-toned middle level is reserved for the Kaiser, and the top section is dedicated only to God. Visit the church in the morning to see the sun stream in through the eastern windows.
Asam Church is open daily. It is only a short walk down Sendlinger Street from the U-Bahn (subway) station at Sendlinger Tor.