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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.Many of the city's finest buildings belong to this period and were built under the first three Bavarian kings.Especially Ludwig I rendered outstanding services to Munich's status as a centre of the arts, attracting numerous artists and enhancing the city's architectural substance with grand boulevards and buildings.The first known settlement in the area was of Benedictine monks on the Old Salt Route.
The arts and politics became increasingly influenced by the court (see Orlando di Lasso, Heinrich Schütz and later Mozart and Richard Wagner).
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 fourth worldwide according to the 2015 Mercer survey.
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. 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.