In 1791, Bavarian Elector Karl Theodore ordered the fortifications around the Neuhausertor turn down in order to create a large square. This area became known officially as “Karlsplatz” and the gate was renamed “Karlstor.” Because Elector Theodore was unpopular with Munich’s inhabitants, the locals refused to use the official name of the square, instead opting to use the nickname “Stachus,” after a pub abutting the square. During 1857, gunpowder stored inside Karls gate exploded, damaging the main tower of the gate.
The most prominent buildings within Karlsplatz comprise the Palace of Justice complex (contains two courthouses and administrative buildings). However, amongst locals, the most popular feature of the square (especially during summer months) is its large fountain. In winter months, an open-air ice rink is installed here. In 1972, the thoroughfare connecting the square with the city center was turned into a pedestrian walkway.
Of the five original gates into the city, today only three remain; Karlstor on the western edge; Isator in the east; and Sandlingtor in the south-west. For those who like to explore places “deeper,” a large underground shopping mall exists beneath Karlsplatz. Excavations during the creation of this underground shopping mall uncovered remnants of a tunnel with brick masonry. Speculation is that perhaps medieval soldiers used it to get behind enemy lines.
Discovering these bits of information about the places we’ve been visiting is what has been making our travels so enjoyable and fun.