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Hannover – A welcoming city full of surprises
The green capital of Lower Saxony is home to half a million people and hosts international trade fairs as well as the world’s biggest Marksmen’s Fair. With festivals throughout the year, the unforgettable zoo, and well-renowned theatres and museums Hannover is a vibrant city that wins over all visitors with its diversity and love for detail!
One of Hannover’s charming special features is its big city lake right in the centre! This beautiful lake called Maschsee is a true haven of rest and the number one destination for a peaceful Sunday stroll. Surrounded by trees it is ideal for jogging and various water sports! Cafes, restaurants and beer gardens make the Maschsee a unique social meeting point where visitors can rent a pedal boat or enjoy a ride on the ship. Visit the sandy beach for swimming and with a little luck you can go ice-skating in winter.
PR spokesperson Maike Scheunemann says: “Hannover and its regions’ calendar is bursting with events throughout the year. Especially in summer, there is a continual stream of different events. At the world’s biggest Marksmen’s Fair tradition meets innovation whilst one of the most visited festivals in Northern Germany is the Maschsee-Lake festival.”
During the first three weeks of August the lakeside erupts into a giant party and attracts around two million people. Even more beer gardens, cocktail bars and stalls compete for space along the palm tree-lined waterfront whilst free concerts encourage dancing under the stars.
And why not try Hannover’s famous drink Luettje Lage. Ten shot glasses filled with ale and ten smaller glasses of schnapps, one holds both glasses in one hand so that the schnapps mixes steadily with the beer whilst drinking. It is a little tricky to master this art, but there will be plenty Hannoverians happy to show you how to do it!
“An absolute must-see are the famous Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen, one of Europe’s most beautiful and best-preserved baroque gardens with its recently rebuilt palace,” adds Scheunemann. “From May to September the stunning international Fireworks Competition takes place here and the world’s top pyro-technicians fill the evening sky with explosive artworks of light and music. And during the well-loved Little Festival in the Great Garden dancers, actors and musicians perform here.”
For an enchanting experience amongst fountains and statues there are special nights throughout the summer when the garden is magically illuminated and classical music takes you back to bygone eras of kings and queens.
Hannover’s unique ties to the United Kingdom are based on 123 years of being connected through one king. In 1714 Georg of Hannover became King of England, and the 300-year anniversary had been celebrated in 2014 with a big exhibition, many events, concerts, an open air gallery and much more. Indeed: Very british!
The garden’s modern grotto lets visitors literally stand within a grand piece of contemporary art by late artist Niki de Saint Phalle, with mirrors, intense colours, mosaics and sculptures. Also designed by the artist are the “Nanas”, three sculptures adding a splash of colour to the embankment of the river Leine, well-loved by the locals and a trademark of Hannover today. Each Saturday this is also the location of the oldest running flea market in Germany.
Scheunemann recommends exploring Hannover with the aid of the Red Thread painted on the pavement: “It leads right through the city centre to 36 local attractions.” She adds: “A unique vantage point is the tower of the majestic New Town Hall, which can be reached by a unique parabolic elevator and gives a breath-taking view of Hannover and its region.”
From here you can clearly see the unique city forest Eilenriede (twice the size of New York’s central park), the zoological garden and a variety of lakes called Kiesteiche, making this the greenest metropolis in Germany.
The scenic historic city centre is home to many beautiful listed buildings and has the impressive Market Church at its heart. In winter this area is turned into a medieval village and Christmas market! A stone’s throw away is the grand market hall, which offers international delicacies and is a lovely place to stop for Italian cappuccino and a roll with Parma ham. From there you can walk to the extensive pedestrian shopping mile, home to many modern boutiques. It leads towards the busy train station and the famous musical manhole, something you really have to see!
Here you will also find the new Ernst-August-Gallery, a modern, airy shopping mall that caters to every shopper’s need. Around the corner are the opera house and the Theatre of Lower Saxony, both internationally renowned for ground-breaking performances.
Numerous museums keep art lovers, history buffs and nature enthusiasts just as happy and for the adventurous visitor or animal lover the spectacular Adventure Zoo is yet again an absolute gem.
With over 2,000 animals in seven elaborately designed themed areas it is no surprise that it attracts over 1.3 million visitors each year. Watching giraffes and hippos from a boat, the elephants and tigers in their Indian jungle palace, gorillas feeding their young on the gorilla mountain, kangaroos hopping in the outback and local animals at Meyer’s Farm, there is something for everyone.
The Canadian landscape Yukon Bay features a glass walled underwater world, giving the opportunity to see polar bears, seals, sea lions and penguins under water. A secret tip is to watch the feeding of the polar bears from down below, as they dive into the water inches away from the viewing area! Yukon Bay is designed to look like a harbour with wave machines that are not only fun for the animals but enhance the feeling of being in a foreign landscape, just ten minutes away from the city centre.
Scheunemann also encourages exploring the outer region: “The 21 counties are closely connected through our well developed transport system. Holiday destinations in the region and event venues are always easy to reach.”
Around 25 kilometres from Hannover is the fabulous neo-gothic Marienburg Castle, dating back to the 17th century. Today it belongs to great-great-great-grandson of King George V and Queen Marie, HRH Prince Ernst August of Hannover, Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg. The castle’s interiors greet visitors with fully furnished rooms, almost completely preserved in their original condition.
The region is also fantastic for horse-riding, not to mention that the famous breed, the Hannoverian, comes from here. Outside the city borders is the Steinhuder Meer, a lake of 32 square kilometres and the biggest stretch of inland water in Germany’s North-West. A popular destination for a day trip to swim and enjoy the extensive Nature Reserve! Many hotels provide excellent opportunities to stay on and indulge in local fish delicacies like smoked eel. 30 kilometres south of Hannover a range of hills called Deister are ideal for hiking and cycling, and add to the region's variety.
Hannover and its region truly have a lot to offer, whatever the season! Come and enjoy this special place in the heart of Germany!