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Old Town Hall - Munich - Germany
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© Christine till
Munich's Old Town Hall - or Altes Rathaus - has graced the Münchener Marienplatz for more than 500 years.
The original Old Town Hall, documented for the first time in 1310, had its Grand Hall (Großer Saal) constructed in 1392/1394. It was completely destroyed by fire in 1460. Between 1470 and 1480, the Old Town Hall was rebuilt in Gothic style by Jörg von Halsbach (who was also responsible for the Münchner Frauenkirche). Numerous changes were made to the building in the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods (late 1500s, early 1600s), but 300 years later, in the 1860s, München's Old Town Hall was reconverted back to its Gothic splendor. Later, in 1877 and again in 1934, two gateways were created to allow traffic to pass through the building.
Large portions of Altes Rathaus were destroyed during World War II. Restorations began shortly thereafter and lasted for several decades. The refurbishing of the tower was finally completed in 1975. The specifications of the original 15th century design were followed closely during the rebuilding process and the result was a building that looked almost like von Halspack's wonderful design.
While the exterior looks plain in comparison with other surrounding buildings, the interior of the Altes Rathaus has been touted as a masterpiece of medieval design. It boasts a beautiful barrel-vaulted timber roof with handsome decorative beams and golden stars. A frieze of the town's coat of arms was installed in 1478.
The 55-meter-tall (180 foot) tower is actually older than the building as it was built in the 12th century as part of Munich's fortifications. It's possible to climb to the very top of it from where you have a great vantage point.
The Old Town Hall houses a fun toy museum (Spielzeugmuseum), situated in four rooms inside the tower, each on a different level. The museum traces the history of toys from the early 19th century toys up to the current modern ones.
December 28th, 2012
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