Hannover - "The green City"
Throughout history Hanover has always been a prominant city. Since the time when it was itself a Kingdom to the period of the Prussian annexation between 1866 and 1946 when it was capital of the imperial areas. Therefore with the foundation of Lower Saxony in 1946, it was natural that Hanover became its capital.
Situated in the beautiful countryside of Lower Saxony and running alongside the precipitous Weser landscape, Hanover lies in the midst of the Leine valley with the river Leine running through it. However, the town not only offers extensive green surroundings but also countless public green spaces in the centre of the city which have resulted in Hanover being given the name "The Green City". With greenery covering more than 11 percent of Hanover, this title is rightly deserved. Additionally, the woods close to the centre known as "Eilenriede" enclose 650 hectares of green land called the "green lung" of the city. The full scale of Hanover’s natural environment is put into perspective if one thinks that Central Park in New York encompasses an area of 340 hectares. Another highlight and cultural centre of Hanover is the 78 hectare Maschsee at the heart of the city which draws in around 2 million people annually. Besides numerous sporting and recreational activities, the Maschsee becomes one of the biggest celebration spots in Germany once a year during the Maschsee festival.
City with rich history - Hometown of a true polymath
A town with an interesting history – the native country of a universal scholar, many history books depict Hanover as originally a medieval settlement. It was given the title of settlement due to the fact that it lay on high banks which protected the town from high rising water. As a result "Honovere" can be translated into "high shore". During the Thirty Years' War the town developed into a fortress and became a seat of power.
In 1676 the universal scholar Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was born in Leibzig and was appointed by Herzog Johann Friedrich to the court council and as leader of the library. The University of Hanover was named after Leibniz and he became one of the most famous citizens of his time due to his inventions including the binary figure system which even to this day influences many technical processes. Leibniz spent the majority of his life in Hanover and became one of the most important and prominent representatives of the city. The historical centre of the city is still preserved today and is marked by the market church built in the 14th century, which is surrounded by the equally historic marketplace. Hanover is also home to the old town hall which is made from Gothic North German brick.
The townscape was initially designed in the middle of the 19th century by the architect and town planner Georg Friedrich Laves. Some of the buildings that he designated for Hanover are preserved even until this very day such as the opera-house, the Waterloosäule, the palace, parts of the castle (today this is the home of the Parliament of Lower Saxony) and the Laveshaus. Besides the neo-gothic influence which adorns numerous churches in the town, the overall style of Hanover is open eclecticism which is demonstrated in the new town hall built in 1913. One of the most well-known and fascinating parts of the building is the world-renowned dome elevator which brings the visitors in an arched-shaped course to the viewing platform at the top. Once here, visitors are given a fantastic and extensive view of the city from a height of 100m.
In addition to its historical architecture, Hanover also hosts a number of new and modern pieces. Striking examples are the glass administration building and the glass gate house at Aegidientor place, as well as the prize-winning asymmetrical Gehry-Tower in the centre of the town.
Experiencing the "green lung of the north"
One of the most exciting destinations in Hanover is the zoo which has been modernised since its creation in the 90s. Visitors to the zoo will learn about various animals from across the world and will have the opportunity to visit the jungle palace, the gorilla's mountain and the Yukonbay adventure, which are all situated in authentic surroundings appropriate to the species they house. Hanover offers much more than the zoo and the Expo gardens, it is also home to the Herrenhäuser gardens in the immediate vicinity of Leibniz University, which were specially designed by a land architect. With this unique creation including the 80 meter high jet fountain which forms part of the garden, this area is held as one of the most influential European baroque gardens which also houses the international fireworks competition that takes place during the summer. In 2007 the "Sea Life Centre" was created which is an underwater world catering for the young and the old with more than 5,000 tropical fish on display in sweet and salt water.
Art! Culture! Free time! – A town of museums and theatres
Hanover is ideal for those in search of culture! The land museum of Lower Saxony houses a cross section of art, zoology, pre and early history as well as people's-cultural history and a range of work from a variety of different disciplines. For those who are interested in the history of Hanover, there is the historical museum located in the old part of the town. The best known museum in Hanover is the museum on the shore of the Maschsee. The museum has a constant variation of exhibits in addition to works of the classical modern age such as those of Kurt Schwitters, works of German and French cubism, graphic art and photograph and media work.
The cultural highlight of Hanover is the opera house in the centre of the town where ballet and opera performances are displayed and a diverse programme is offered all year round. Additional highlights include the ball court, the Cumberland stage, the new theater and theater in the Aegi. However Hanover is also known for its many smaller stages which are scattered around the whole town and give it a cultural and modern feeling.
There are also numerous cinemas in the town which offer a wide range of topical, art and historical works which reflect the cultural versatility of Hanover. A further feature is the cinema "block of flats of light plays" which is at a height of 33.88 meters above street level, making it the highest cinema in Germany. Hanover is home to numerous discos and bars. There is a well known party spot beside the Maschsee during the Maschee festival which is the “shooter's party” with more than 5000 shooters, about 260 show plates, five big festival tents and two million visitors. It is the biggest shooter's party of the world. Furthermore, the Schützenausmarsch with about 12,000 participants and more than 60 festival cars is the longest festival in Europe.
The Red Thread
… is a floorline visitors’ guide of a different kind. The Red Thread is painted on the pavement, is 4200 metres long, and weaves its way through the inner city including 36 prime attractions. All you have to do is follow The Red Thread.
This „do it yourself“ city tour is accompanied by an informative brochure which describes all of the interesting buildings and monuments you meet along the way, and is also full of interesting historical background. Furthermore the brochure describes a new "ExtraTour" which is a 45 minutes refreshing detour to the banks of Lake Maschsee.
The brochure costs only € 2,50 and is available from the Tourist Information opposite the central railway station and the Infocounter in the New Town Hall, Trammplatz 2, in German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Turkish, Russian, Japanese and Chinese.
A sports town
With all its recreational areas, Hanover is the ideal location for those keen on sport. Countless sport associations, clubs and public sports fields allow every sports enthusiast to follow his hobby or start a new one. The heart of sport in the town is the Hanover football stadium where the team "Hannover 96 " play and the stadium was modernised for the world championship in 2006 which drew crowds of 49,000 people.
A city with an excellent public transport infrastructure
Hanover has a well developed close traffic network with eight regional railways and eight city railroad lines. Together with twelve town railways and more than 150 bus lines, the public are guaranteed a good transport service. From the central railway station, it is possible to catch trains going to many regions within Germany as well as regions in other countries in Europe. Students of the Leibniz University of Hanover can use their semester ticket to travel around the state of Niedersachsen without any extra charge.