The splendid Marktkirche is the highlight of Hannover’s Old Town. This place of worship is a 14th-century masterpiece, and together with the Old Town Hall, is said to be the southernmost example of the North German Brick Gothic style.
This was where merchants and craftspeople once lived, and it was from here that Hannover originally evolved. When the church tower had been built to only half its intended height, the empty town coffers put an end to its lofty aspirations: ‘The builders are tired and their purse is spent,’ note the chronicles of the time. So without further ado, a shorter spire was placed on top of the tower for financial reasons – and it proved so popular that it was emulated by many others. After it was destroyed in the Second World War, the Marktkirche was restored in the same historical style in 1952. The west portal was designed by the sculptor Gerhard Marcks, and incorporates motifs from the most sorrowful chapter in German history.
Here’s something even well informed locals don’t know: the German Michel is buried in the Marktkirche. He isn’t a fiction. Johann Michael von Obentraut led a German-Danish army into battle against General Tilly in the Thirty Years’ War, and was fatally wounded on 25 October 1625. Knight Obentraut was nicknamed ‘the German Michel’.