Münster is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. Population: 302,178 (2014).
With more than 43,000 students, the University of Münster is one of the largest and one of the oldest universities in Germany. It was founded in 1780.
The name of the city derives from the Latin monasterium (monastery) and refers to the founding of the bishopric of Münster by Charlemagne in 793. In the Middle Ages, Münster was a leading member of the Hanseatic League.
In 1534 the Anabaptists took power in the Münster Rebellion and founded a democratic proto-socialistic state that later turned into a theocracy. The town was recaptured in 1535; the Anabaptists were tortured to death, their dead bodies were exhibited in cages, which hung from St. Lamberti's steeple. Those cages are still there.
The signing of the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 at Münster and Osnabrück guaranteed the future of the prince-bishop and the diocese; the area was to be exclusively Roman Catholic.
In 1802 Münster was conquered by Prussia during the Napoleonic Wars. It became the capital of the Prussian province of Westphalia. In World War II, Münster was mostly destroyed by Allied air raids, but it was rebuilt after the war in a traditional style.
In 2004 , Münster won the LivCom-Award for Liveable Communities.
[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
In Münster, the bicycle rules as the primary and preferred means of transportation and leisure. Many places in and around the city are perfect for spontaneous or extended recovery breaks.
The heart of the city and its main eye-catcher is St. Paul's Cathedral, built over some 40 years on the threshold from Romanesque to Gothic with one of the most lavishly decorated naves in Germany. Around the cathedral, one of the largest farmer's markets in Germany takes place every Saturday with more than 150 vendors.
The Prinzipalmarkt is lined by houses with pointed roofs and arched pathways. It is one of Europe's most beautiful town squares. Here you can also find the St. Lamberti Church and the Rathaus (Town Hall) with the historic Hall of Peace, where the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia brought an end to the Thirty Years' War.
Also well worth seeing and experiencing are the Aasee Lake and, on its shores, the Mühlenhof Open-Air Museum, the All-Weather Zoo, the Museum of Natural History and the Planetarium. All are easily reached by water bus.
Other attractions are the splendid Baroque buildings by Johann Conrad Schlaun, Westphalia's great Baroque master builder. His chief work is the Castle (Prince Bishop's Residence), now part of the University. The Erbdrostenhof and the Church of St. Clemens, reminiscent of the Italian Baroque, are further gems of his creative spirit. Together with the Dominican Church they form the “Baroque Island” in the city center.
Münster's museums and theaters offer lively culture, kept vibrant through actors, musicians, writers and artists who all contribute to the cultural Münster mixture. The Museum of Pablo Picasso Graphics, the first and only museum solely dedicated to the graphic works of Pablo Picasso, has been located in an old city palace on the Königstraße since the year 2000.
[Some information from Historic Highlights in Germany]