The oldest part of Munich (Altstadt is the German language word for “old town”, meaning “historical city centre within the city wall”) is most distinctly recognizable by the traffic loop known as the Altstadtring, although many portions of the historical walls are still visible. It is from here, in the heart of the city, that the Prince rules.
Although Altstadt has a smaller residential population of Kine than the surrounding boroughs, it draws the largest crowds of both locals and visitors— providing abundant prey, and with enough variety to satisfy even the most particular of Kindred tastes. Feeding is restricted only to those who serve the Prince in some recognized capacity, or have otherwise been granted the priviledge.
The district is divided into four quarters, with a central common area called the Marienplatz.
Marienplatz lies at the very center of Altstadt, and has been the city’s main square since 1158.
In the Middle Ages markets and tournaments were held here. Marienplatz was named after the Mariensäule, a Marian column erected in its centre in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation. Today the Marienplatz is dominated by the Neues Rathaus (New City Hall) on the north side. The extravagant Glockenspiel in the tower of the Neues Rathaus was inspired by these tournaments. The gothic council hall and ballroom of the The Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall), which is located on the east side, is still occasionally used to host special Invictus gatherings.
The Kreuzviertel in the north west of Altstadt is the traditional seat of the city’s Sanctified. No other Kindred domain requires as much caution while hunting, for It is also the main bastion of the clergy, with a high number of churches. Its borders are described roughly as Kaufingerstrasse / Neuhauser Strasse in the south and Weinstrasse in the east.
The Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Lady) serves as the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising and seat of its Archbishop. It is a landmark and is considered a symbol of the Bavarian capital city. The church towers are widely visible because of local height limits.
Constructed from red brick in the late Gothic style in only 20 years (the domes were added during the Renaissance), the building is designed very plainly, without rich Gothic ornaments. That it can hold 20,000 people is surprising when one considers that the city only had about 13,000 inhabitants at the time of it’s completion. The interior does not overwhelm despite its size because the double-row of 22 meter (72 ft) high columns helps enclose the space. The spatial effect of the church is connected with a legend about a footprint in a square tile at the entrance to the nave, the so-called “devil’s footstep” (see below).
Der Teufelstritt (The Devil’s Footprint)
According to legend, in 1468 architect Jorg von Halspach went looking for money to build a new cathedral in Munich and ended up making a bargain with the Devil: the Devil would provide the funds for the huge building on the condition that it be a celebration of darkness, with no windows to let in light.
The clever builder, however, tricked the devil by positioning columns so that the windows were not visible from the spot where the devil stood in the foyer. When the devil discovered that he had been tricked, he could not enter the already consecrated church. The devil could only stand in the foyer and stomp his foot furiously, which left the dark footprint that remains visible today.
Legend also says the devil then rushed outside and manifested its evil spirit in the wind that furiously rages around the church. Another version of that part of the legend has it the devil came to see the construction place riding on the wind. Having completely lost his temper he stormed away forgetting the wind, that will continue to blow around the church until the day the devil comes back to reclaim it.
Whatever the truth is, the footstep also marks the furthest extent any vampire has ever been able to trespass these holy grounds.
The Graggenauer Viertel is in the north east of Altstadt. Its borders are described roughly as Tal in the south and Wienerstrasse / Theatinerstrasse in the west. The gentry preferred to reside here, probably because of the proximity to the Alten Hof. Until into the 16th century the local tax records considered the area outside the wall up to the modern-day Prinzregentenstrasse as part of Graggenau.
The grand Munich Residenz has served as the seat of government and home to the Bavarian dukes, electors, and kings and emperors for over 400 years. Because additions were made over the centuries, they vary greatly in style, from Gothic, through Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neo-Classical. The complex of buildings contains ten courtyards and 130 rooms.
Vacated in 1918, following Kurt Eisner’s proclamation of the Republic of Bavaria, the palace complex is now open to the public as a museum, displaying the wealth of the treasures including frescoes, furniture, tapestries, and rooms of magnificent design.
The Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshall’s Hall) is a monumental loggia on the Odeonsplatz, commissioned in 1841 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria to honor the tradition of his army. A later addition was added to represent the victory over the French and the unification of Germany in 1871.
The main statues are the military leaders Tilly and Wrede. The first led Bavarians in the Thirty Years War; the second led the fight against Napoleon. There are also 2 marble lions, which grace the steps.
Founded as the royal brewery in 1589, the famous Hofbräuhaus and its eponymous brew, Hofbräu, once saved the city from destruction when 600,000 barrels were traded to spare it from a Swedish invasion in the 17th century. It was opened to the general public in 1828.
Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten
The luxurious Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten (Four Seasons Hotel) serves as the headquarters for the Thule Society, a nascent group of right-wing, anti-semetic German occultists.
The Angerviertel in the south east of Altstadt. Its borders are described roughly as Tal in the north and Sendlinger Strasse in the west. Traders predominantly resided here.
The parish church of Saint Peter, whose 91 meters high tower is commonly known as “Alter Peter” – Old Peter – and which is emblematic of Munich, is the oldest recorded parish church in Munich and presumably the originating point for the whole city.
It is also home to a most unusual relic: the jewel-adorned skeleton of Saint Munditia, kept on display inside a glass coffin, holding a glass container filled with dried blood. She is believed to have been martyred in 310 AD, beheaded with a hatchet.
The Hackenviertel in the south west of Altstadt. Its borders are described roughly as Kaufingerstrasse/Neuhauserstrasse in the north and Sendlinger Strasse in the south. Traders also predominantly resided here.
The second largest square in Altstadt (after Marienplatz), it was officially named ‘Karlsplatz’ in 1797 after the unpopular Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria. Munich natives seldom use that name, calling the square Stachus instead, after the pub Beim Stachus, that was located there until construction work for Karlsplatz began.
“The Lehel” is regarded as the oldest suburb of Munich; it was, however, only officially incorporated into the city as of 1724. In the course of the large urban extensions the area was originally named ‘St.-Anna-Vorstadt’ (St. Anna suburb) in 1812, in reference to the other suburbs such as Maxvorstadt, but it never proved popular and was later abandoned.
The area, having been one of Munich’s surrounding poor houses in times of old, has seen a transformation into an upscale residential district, which began when the first Wilhelminian-style apartment houses were constructed here at the turn of the century.
Places of Interest
State Museum of Ethnology
A museum for Non-European artworks and objects of cultural value. On the main floor the permanent exhibitions for art and culture of the Islamic World, India, East Asia and Oceania are shown while the exhibitions about Americas and of Africa are located in the second floor.
Bavarian National Museum
One of the most important museums of decorative arts in Europe. From the beginning the collection has been divided into two main groups: the art historical collection and the folklore collection. The museum is especially noted for its collections of courtly culture – tapestries, musical instruments, porcelain, medieval knight’s armor and weapons, and it’s nativity scenes.