When you walk out of Hannover Central Station towards Ernst August Platz you are almost in the middle of Hannover's city centre. The centre is rather large for a city of half a million. It has grown over the centuries between the old town down by the river, the Aegidientor in the west, the Steintor in the east and the Central Station.
The bomb raids of the Second World War turned most of the city centre into a large heap of rubble. Hardly an old building was spared. So most of the centre was rebuilt in the fashion of the fifties. The Bahnhofstraße, leading from the Central Station into the heart of the city is a "pedestrians only" shopping street on two levels: one can also walk along the "Passerelle" in the basement, built in the seventies. At the end of the Bahnhofstraße you reach "Kröpcke", the most central square in Hannover. It was named after a waiter who worked in (and later owned) the Café, which is now "Mövenpick". Here, next to the "Kröpcke Uhr", the big green clock, is the place where Hannoverians meet, if they dont' meet in front of the station under the horse's tail (of the monument of King Ernst August of Hannover).
At Kröpcke the Bahnhofstraße meets the Georgstraße, a boulevard named after one of the Hanovrian Kings of England. The Georgstraße opposite the opera house has exclusive shops only on one side and a lot of room for promenades. It is here like to meet on Sunday mornings in summer for their traditional "Schorsenbummel". The Georgstraße on the other side of Kröpcke is a pure shopping area with big stores.
When you turn left at the Steintor (with the impressive "Anzeiger Hochhaus" built in 1927) you will reach the old town or what's left of it with a lot of interesting small shops, pubs and restaurants. Next to the "Marktkirche" (the largest of the three churches in the old town) there is the old town hall, both built in red bricks, a characterstic style of Northern Germany. Near the town hall is the market hall, built in the modest style of the fifties but well worth a visit. It offers an enomous variety of international delicacies.
If you want to do even more shopping and you've come an a Saturday, you're lucky! Walk through the old town past the Leineschloß and Leibnizhaus, where you come to the banks of the River Leine. It's there you find one of the biggest and oldest flea markets in Europe. And amidst all the market stands, the famous "Nanas", once mocked and now almost a symbol of Hannover.