Renowned for the world’s largest industrial fair that takes place every year, the trade fair city of Hanover is one of north Germany’s major cities. But whilst the Hanover Messe is a big draw for many visitors, the city has a wide range of attractions for more than just the business community.
Things to see and do
The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) was built in 1913, and is one of Hannover’s most iconic landmarks. Many visitors think it is a castle, but it is in fact the seat of the mayor of the city. At the top of its dome is a viewing platform, which can be accessed via a unique diagonal lift. From here one can enjoy views of the entire city, and on a clear day even see as far as the Harz Mountains. Inside the town hall there are 4 models of the city showing how the city has changed from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Aegidienkirche is one of Hanover’s oldest churches. It was badly damaged during World War II, leaving only parts of the baroque tower and the outer walls intact. Presently the church serves as a memorial to the victims of war and violence. Its bell was donated to the church by Hanover’s twin city Hiroshima, which is why it is referred to as the peace bell. It is rung several times a day, as well as every year on 6 August to commemorate the bombing of Hiroshima.
The three colourful statues on the bank of the River Leibniz donated to Hanover by artist Niki de Saint Phalle are referred to as Nanas. de Saint Phalle sculpted the voluminous figures in 1974, when they were met with public dislike. Over time the citizens of Hanover have grown so fond of Sophie, Charlotte and Caroline (named after Sophia, Electress of Hanover, Charlotte Buff and Caroline Herschel) that they are regarded as city mascots.
Hanover Old Town
Although the city was bombed heavily during WWII, what is left of the old town, has retained its medieval flair with its narrow alleyways and old timber-framed buildings. Highlights include the red-brick Old Town Hall built in Gothic style, Germany’s oldest flea market that takes place every Saturday, as well as a bit of British history: Marstalltor is a former medieval city gate that bears the coat of arms of King George I. George I was born in Hanover, and was crowned British monarch in 1714. From 1714–1837 British monarchs ruled Great Britain as well as Hanover.
Herrenhausen Gardens are considered by many to be Hanover’s most famous attraction. It is made up of four gardens: Great Garden, Berggarten, Georgengarten and Welfengarten. The centrpiece of the park is the Great Garden, one of Europe’s most impressive Baroque gardens, featuring water features, a green-hedged maze, sculptures and beautiful flower beds. Each year an international firework competition bathes the park in beautiful colours. Originally created by Electress Sophia as the “Grand Jardin de la Leine”, the Great Garden is one of the few baroque parks which has retained its basic structure.
British-German Town Twinnings
Town twinnings between British and German cities play an important role in promoting cultural exchange. Hanover has been twinned with Bristol in the South West since 1947.