The region of Hannover is home to fairy tale castles such as, Marienburg Castle, Bückeburg Castle, Hämelschenburg Castle, Bad Pyrmont Castle, Bevern Castle, Fürstenberg Castle and Corvey Castle. Visitors find themselves transported back in time while discovering a wealth of fascinating treasures. They are all home to year-round opulent festivities and markets, which can be found on the websites of each respective castle. All of the castles have belonged to the infamous Guelph family for seven hundred years and still do even today. All these castles bear testimony in stone to courtly intrigue, to the rise and fall of mighty dynasties, to the lives of princesses, rulers, kings and their lovers at the royal courts – and they tell fascinating stories in which great joy and sorrow are closely intertwined in tales that have eternal appeal. In several castles the authentic furnishings have also survived the ravages of the years and they make history come alive more vibrantly than any book could ever do.
The Red Thread is a ‘DIY’ tour that takes you 4,200 meters through the city center to see important architectural, historical and entertaining attractions. You can pick up an informative brochure, which describes all the monuments you pass on your tour from the Tourist Information Office.
A wonderful way to get off the beaten path in Hannover is to take an Eat The World tour in one of Hannover’s four popular neighborhoods. Eat The World was founded in Berlin, but has expanded to many other German cities with the aim of giving people local insight into the life behind the scenes of a city which includes history, architecture, and cuisine. Along the way you stop in three to five different restaurants and sample what the locals eat. Its an amazing concept and totally worth your time!
Sit on the right side of tram 4 or 5 heading north-east from Hannover’s city center for the best view of the mansions along Nienburger Strasse. This will take you through the elegant heart of the university and reveal why Hannover was once said to be “schönste Stadt der Welt” – the most beautiful city in the world.
If you are not tired from walking through castles and fairy tale towns, you can keep going in Europe’s largest urban forest, called the Eilenriede, where you can walk from one edge of Hannover to the other without seeing a building. If that still isn’t enough fresh air for you, you can visit another one of the city’s leafy oases at the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen. It is here that the International Fireworks Competition takes place every year, decorously acquiring an international reputation and drawing visitors from all over the world.
You can also visit Hannover’s maritime wonderland called the Maschsee while you are in town. It is a 190-acre recreational area with a beautiful lake in the middle. You can walk its 6.5 km path around the lake, or opt for yachting, canoeing or pedal boating instead. It hosts one of northern Germany’s biggest events every year called the Maschsee Lake Festival. It is usually in August and has over two million visitors every year that come for its open-air concerts, dances, theatrical performances, as well as its myriad of culinary treats.
Hannover’s castle-like Neues Rathaus or New City Hall was opened in 1913 and sits in the Maschpark on the southern tip of the city center. It is famous for a number of things, one being its diagonal shaped elevator that slopes at an angle of seventeen degrees as it follows the dome to the top. It is here that you can also find four scale models of the city in the Middle Ages, before World War II, after the destruction of The War, and as it stands today.
Despite WWII bombings, Hannover’s Altstadt (old city) is a charming place to stroll through. It is here that you will find the gothic Marktkirche, the Old City Hall, the Ballhof and the home of Germany’s famous mathematician and philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
The Marktkirche, or Market Church, was built in the 14th century and is considered the southernmost example of North German brick gothic architectural style. It is the main Lutheran church in Hannover and has through its years provoked much interest due to its architectural style, as well as the ancient symbolism it portrays. It has a giant pentagram built on its western tower and a hexagram surrounds the clock tower. Five and six pointed stars were first used by Teutonic pagans and it is no secret that many of the pagan traditions, such as Lower Saxony’s Easter fires are still very much alive in this area today.
The List / Oststadt is a chic neighborhood that has been a residential area in Hannover since the 14th century. It borders the Eilenriede, Hannover’s urban forest, on one side and the city center on the other, making it a premier location. The buildings in this area were built during ‘Gründerzeit’, an age of industrialization and economic boom in the 19th century before the stock market crash of 1873. They were built with richly decorated facades in the form of Gothic Revivial, Renaissance Revival, German Renaissance and Baroque Revival. It is a beautiful area of the city to walk through and it gives you a feeling of what they city was like before WWII.
Hannover’s Berggarten is Germany’s oldest botanical garden, dating back to the 17th century and today houses a world famous orchid collection. It is located on the infamous Herrenhausen property and can be visited along with two other gardens on the magnificent grounds.