The Alte Hof (Old Court) in the center of Munich is the former imperial residence of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor and consists of five wings Burgstock, Zwingerstock, Lorenzistock, Pfisterstock and Brunnenstock. Like most of the old town, it was rebuilt after being destroyed in World War II.
Archeological excavations have shown that a castle already existed there in the 12th century. After the first partition of Bavaria in 1255 the Alte Hof became the residence of Louis II, Duke of Bavaria in the then very northeastern part of the city. The castle was the first permanent imperial residence in the Holy Roman Empire under his son Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor.
The St. Lorenz Chapel at the north side, which was demolished in the 19th century, once housed the regalia of the House of Wittelsbach.
After some uprisings the castle became too unsafe and in the course of an extension of the town, together with the construction of a new, double-ring wall, the Wittelsbach dukes once again chose the very northeastern corner as the construction site for a ducal keep. Consequently, as it was newly erected, the castle was called "Neuveste", new fortress. Over the course of centuries the building at this site would eventually develop into what is nowadays the Residenz. Thus, from the 15th century onwards the old castle was only seat of several governmental departments.
The late Gothic westwings (the Burgstock with its tower and its decorated bay window and the Zwingerstock), which were altered under Duke Sigismund have been preserved. After destructions in World War II the castle was reconstructed. Portions of it (Lorenzistock, Pfisterstock and Brunnenstock) were redeveloped in post modernist style to serve as offices and luxury apartments in 2005/2006, very much to public dismay.
The castle also houses a "tourist information centre for Bavarian castles".
The mint yard (Alte Münze)
An arch in the north connects the castle with a renaissance building which originally served for the ducal stables and the art collections of Albert V, Duke of Bavaria. It was constructed by court architect Wilhelm Egkl in 1563. Later it served as mint. The inner courtyard has kept its renaissance arcades while the west facade was redesigned in neoclassical style in 1809. Finally the north facade facing got its neogothic decoration when the Maximilianstrasse was built to fit it with the concept of this royal avenue.
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