Etymologically, the Old Norse word hof is the same as the Dutch and German word hof, which originally meant a hall and later came to refer to a court (originally in the meaning of a royal or aristocratic court) and then also to a farm.
Their holy places are woods and groves, and they apply the names of deities to that hidden presence which is seen only by the eye of reverence.
There are in fact several sites in the historical period at which heathen rites apparently took place in the open, including Hove in Trøndelag, Norway, where offerings were apparently brought to images of the gods on a row of ten posts, but no trace of buildings was found.
Most older scholars considered that a hof would be a dedicated temple: an independent sacred place, built specifically for ritual proceedings, comparable to a Christian church.
By extension, it was also commonly believed that the hofs had been located on the same sites as the churches that had superseded them.
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. Lorenz Chapel at the north side, which was demolished in the 19th century, once housed the regalia of the House of Wittelsbach.
In the first half of the 16th century Duke William IV, finally transferred the residence permanently to the Neuveste.
Thus, from the 16th century onwards the old castle was only seat of several governmental departments including the stewardship.
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.
It was constructed by court architect Wilhelm Egkl in 1563. The inner courtyard has kept its renaissance arcades while the west facade was redesigned in neoclassical style in 1809.