Alter Hof

The Alter Hof (meaning "Old Court") was Munich’s first royal residence and now renown for tall monkey tales.
It was built in 1255 by Ludwig the Stern, an early patriarch of the Wittelsbach dynasty which ruled Bavaria for 700 years.

Another namesake, this one known as Ludwig the Bavarian, was in charge from 1328 to 1347. He ruled the whole Holy Roman Empire from the Hof after he became Kaiser (Emperor) in 1328. The Hof continued to be the main royal seat for 150 years until Wittelsbachs moved their powerbase to the nearby Residenz in 1474.

alter hof
ROYAL COURT: The "Monkey Tower" is on the right. Photo by Gaspa

You can’t tour the Alter Hof - it’s been used for government administration since the 1800s - but you can walk through the courtyard. In summer it’s a scene for open-air concerts and theatre performances.

Monkey business

On the southern side of the courtyard you’ll see a neo-gothic bay window known as the “Monkey Tower”. There are various stories about how it got its name, usually revolving around the baby Ludwig the Bavarian and an excitable primate.

One version says the monkey was a royal pet and saved the future Kaiser from a berserker pig that careered into the room.
Another story says the monkey kidnapped Ludwig and spirited him up into the window. His nanny apparently had to talk and tempt the monkey down with bananas. How these tales came about is anyone’s guess as the windows in question didn’t even exist in Ludwig’s time.

The details

Location: Burg Strasse 8
Take any S-Bahn or U-Bahn 3 or 6 to Marienplatz, then walk around to the right of the Neues Rathaus. It’s then a quick walk down Altenhof Strasse on your right.

Do you like this site? Get the guidebook!

Every once in a while a book comes along that changes your life.

Until it does, please consider buying Destination Munich and Bavaria, the grooviest, most informative guide on the market :-)
It'll give you full-colour maps, practical info and hundreds of tips on how to get the most out of your visit.
It's 227 pages of up-to-the-minute travel intelligence and it can be yours as an eBook for less than the price of an Oktoberfest beer. (read on)

destination Munich ebook

Sharing is caringshare-me

Share this page:

Or follow us on Facebook: