For Munich citizens the bronze lions in front of the Residenz are almost friends. It is very easy seeing someone staring at a lion, getting closer and rub his nose. It came to be a tradition, and know every tourist or visitor cannot help falling in love with these icons of the city, legendary and historical guardians of the Residenz.
The lion is the Bavarian heraldic charge since a long time. The lion was used in signs and flags of the former ruling family, the Wittelsbacher, since the 12th/13th century.
You can see them nearly everywhere: at the feet of the Bavaria statue, in front of the Feldherrnhalle, as logo of a well known Munich brewery, as a logo of a Munich football club, in the entire city as “lions parade” and of course in front of the Residenz. There are four of them, holding an escutcheon.
Those four lions are the originals, and about 400 years old. At the bottom edge of the escutcheon there is a lions muzzle which is brighter, because of the citizens traditionally and the tourists rubbing the muzzle.
Munich citizens believe muzzling the nose of the lion brings them good luck. You can easily recognize a visitor from a Munich citizen by watching them touching the lion: visitors stop for a long time, muzzling the nose heavily, while citizens just pass by without stopping and give the lions a short caress. This is one of the most normal things to do for people born in Munich, so it has not to be a surprise if they do not even take a look at the muzzle.
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