Things To Do In Hannover
Hannover is a small town in a big city. It is located along the Lower Saxony area. The presence of numerous colleges and medical schools, the modern international airport and the huge zoological garden in Hannover proves its national significance to Germany. That “small town “ feeling in a large city is really nice and one of the main reasons why tourists love visiting or living in Hannover. They get to see the big parts of the city and explore the important small parts of a town. There are tons of reasons why it is one of the touristy places in Germany like; there are lots of green spaces, nature parks, dancing fountains, fireworks competition in May, horseback riding, and all kinds of outdoor activities to try in summer and winter.
Another interesting feature that captivates visitors from all over the world is the so called tourist red line. This line starts from the central part of the town and passes through 36 important historic attractions (about 4 km long) that goes all over the town and covers the route to; the Hannover City Hall (Rathaus), the poignant war memorial called the Aegidienkirche, the Lutheran church named Martkirche, the Old Town Hall or the Altes Rathaus, the amusing Lower Saxony Museum, and other monuments and themed museums of the city. If you want to get around the city and see the most beautiful parts of Hannover, follow the red line! It is a special route that is laid through the most picturesque corners of the city.
When To Go:
You will be delighted to know that this particular town in the Lower Saxony territory can be visited any time of the year. Summer (June to August) is the most popular time to explore Hannover. The entire town is in a great mood during this period celebrating numerous festivals as well as national/local events. The warm weather during the summer season is usually cozy and does not go over the climate of 23°C. Frequent rain showers in the afternoon are quite common, but if you don’t take pleasure in getting rained on while going on tour, you can schedule your visit for other months where it is also convenient to go around Hannover. This peak season also draws large crowds and the most unbearable humidity in the month of July can be likewise experienced. Wear sunblock, shades, hat, and casual summer clothes, plus, bring your own drinking water when going around during the dry season.
A lot of tourists prefer to visit the town between the weeks of May (for the cultural festivals; World Beat and International Fireworks) and in October (for the Oktoberfest/ beer celebration) and for the incredible fanfare that the city has in store to delight their guests during these months. The winter months of December to March is also another good time to go on tour and see the famous Christmas Market. However, prepare for the cold weather that tends to be frosty and occasionally turn extremely cold.
Here are the top attractions and the cool things to do in the town of Hannover…
Marktkirche (Market Church)
Market Church ("Church in the Market Place") is the main Lutheran church in the city. In XIV century it was built as a brick church in the style of North German Gothic. During the Second World War, the church was severely damaged (destroyed roofs, arches, and sculptures). In the last 50 years, the church has been restored and miraculously survived from total destruction. The altar was preserved (the altar before the war was in another church). This wooden altar built in the XV century is very interesting because it depicts the Passion of Christ in the 21st stage. This wonderful altar looks great in a spacious, humble, and somewhat austere interior of the church, where all eyes are on him and to the body. Today, this church hosts various events like; worship, concerts, exhibitions, and lectures.
Marktkirche is the main church of the city, but because of the destruction during the war, it has become modest and almost empty inside. The main foundation of the church is still there and you can watch the weekly concert, where the schedules are written on the side of the church calendar, but tickets should be bought in advance because it always gets quickly sold out. Inside the Lutheran Church there is nothing but bare walls, pews, and organ. The church is located in the old town (center); another noteworthy feature is the design on the door panels presenting a believer’s obligations to the church.
Hannover City Hall (Rathaus)
The Hannover City Hall (Rathaus) is a beautiful building inside and out, but most importantly, it has a multi-storey observation deck at the top of the building with a wonderful view of the entire city. It is located in the park area with a man-made lake (Maschsee), so it's nice to lie on the grass and enjoy the magnificent building (from the pond, the building looks even more interesting).
Be sure to visit the square in front of the City Hall and watch the fountains. Access to the City Hall is possible on weekdays from 9 to 6 pm, free of charge. There you can see prototypes and miniature presentation of the city before the war. The town hall was built 100 years ago in Baroque style with elements of Renaissance and became one of the iconic symbols of the city. It is not only a tourist attraction, but also a wonderful point for observing the city's impressive panorama.
Maschsee is a picturesque large lake near the center of the city beside the New Town Hall (Rathaus). It has quite a lot of tracks for jogging and cycling. There are cafes and stalls with fast food, a lot of trees, swans, and ducks. It is a good place to walk for city residents, spend time, and relax. The lake is not really something remarkable in winter and autumn, but in the spring and summer season it is worth visiting, as it is transformed and guests can enjoy the warm atmosphere and the colorful surroundings that are filled with blooms. This lovely man-made lake in Hannover has also become a favorite place for wedding photo shoots. The lake looks impressive for its size and a perfect location for a weekend family getaway.
The northern part is equipped with a testing ground for training rowers and you can watch as boats compete with each other. You can also rent a motor boat and ride to the waves. In August, there is a great festive atmosphere because of the Maschseefest where there is an abundance of beer and sausages, concerts on stages around the lake, festivities in the evening and at night, and the joyous mood rules for more than a month of celebration. The annual festival at Lake Maschsee has a wonderful fair like atmosphere - very crowded, noisy, and fun. Everywhere there are bright stalls with a variety of goodies and souvenirs, a lot of parties, and loud music. It is one of the most prominent events in Hannover making the city definitely worth a visit in the month of August.
Lower Saxony State Museum (Niedersachsisches Landesmuseum)
The Lower Saxony State Museum (Niedersachsisches Landesmuseum) presents the magnificent collection of fine art in Hannover. You can find amazing masterpieces and all the progressive stages of fine art from the early Middle Ages to Impressionism. You can also find Degas and Rodin collections. The main emphasis is also placed on artworks done by the representatives of the German and Flemish schools.
Do not forget to visit the naturalistic rooms to see the stuffed animals. Aside from the distinct art and cultural exhibits, there are also a lot of interesting things to discover in this museum like; the collection of minerals and aquariums with shoals of fish. For dinosaur fans, the exhibition has a lot and amuses children with its collection. At a family price of nine Euros (as of August 2015) you cannot go wrong here. Overall, it is a great museum that is located right next to the Maschsee Lake.
Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen (Herrenhauser Garten)
The Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen (Herrenhauser Garten) is a huge royal garden with fountains, alleys, statues, and small private gardens. It impresses visitors with its large scale and diversity. Inside you can find little gardens surrounded by hedges and designed in a unique style. You can wander for hours. The gardens are divided into thematic groups, decorated with fountains and sculptures. There is even a small maze and a tree that keeps growing and indescribably beautiful. You can walk around and admire this beauty with your mouth open.
The wonderful Hannover climate allows the city to maintain these gardens in a flourishing condition all year round. The gardens are beautiful in themselves, plus it carries out many different activities; from the medieval knight’s tournament and the annual fireworks competition. It is one of the most outstanding Baroque gardens in Europe. The garden is surrounded by a moving stream of water. You can walk around among the statues, fountains, flower beds, the quaint secluded places, trimmed trees and bushes. The large fountain emits jets of water that rises up to a height of 70 meters. It is advisable to visit in the summer, when the garden is at the peak of its glory.
Erlebnis Zoo Hannover
The Erlebnis Zoo Hannover is large and fantastically interesting. The animals are very close to the people and there are very few nets and grids. There is an interesting division into thematic areas and original design of the animal habitats. The tour starts at the "Zambezi" where you can find giraffes, antelopes, hippos, zebras, and a huge number of birds. All of them can be seen on board a boat that cruises the "African" river. It is really an exciting experience. The entire zoo also has a lot of playgrounds, both large and small. The African side has a lot of hanging bridges and the like. Children can have fun while the huge beat of the African drums is being played. The next part of the tour is called the "Yukon Bay Adventure", which flows through the old mine. This is the world of the northern and polar animals like; the deer, raccoons, groundhogs, bison, wolves, polar bears, seals, sea lions, seals and penguins. The floating polar bears can be seen through the huge panoramic windows, which are both above and below the water level. Here you can walk along the street in the old town of Canadian gold miners. Near the market square in the playground area, there are three troughs of different height where the water flows on the bottom of the trough with fine golden sand grains. For a fee, the young guides will give you a strainer and bowl for gold mining. Kids and adults find this adventure fun and exciting.
From the miner's world, you can go directly into the Indian jungle, where you can find the magnificent palace of a Raja with ponds and fountains and a ghost town. It is home to elephants, tigers, leopards, and monkeys. After a tour of India, you'll be transported to Australia, where you can see a huge number of kangaroos, ostriches, wallaby, and wombats. You can finish the walk around the zoo in the German village with a large farmhouse and its typical birds and barn animals like; cows, goats, sheep, horses, pigs, chickens, ducks, and geese. At the exit of the zoo, there is a huge playground with slides, swings, and other forms of amusement. If you walk further, there are souvenir shops, numerous cafes, restaurants and bars that correspond to the theme of the zoo. The zoo also hosts a variety of daily shows. Despite the fact that the admission fee is not cheap, this zoo is highly recommended when in Hannover.
Berggarten is a botanical garden where you need to walk half a day to see all of its natural attractions. Berggarten is included in the ticket for Herrenhausen (Royal Gardens), but it is possible to buy a separate ticket for 3.50 Euros (as of July 2015). Berggarten has a unique collection of plants and exotic flowers from all around the world.
If you visit during summer, the gardens are blooming, fragrant, and it's a feast for the eyes. It has a huge collection of tropical plants, 800 types of orchids, and cacti. There is also a separate greenhouse with tropical plants, but it is always closed. Sometimes, the flower beds look unkempt and neglected, especially when the change of the season occurs, but it's always the exception rather than the rule. The garden is perfect for long walks, moments of contemplation, enjoying nature, and rest from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Aegidienkirche (Church of Saint Egidio)
Aegidienkirche is an ancient memorial place and a former church in Hannover. The history of the building is not known, but it looks like a castle with the remaining part of the facade preserved after the bombing and is now covered with an overgrown with poison ivy. You can go there for free, but the building is closed at night. Inside the memorial you will find a huge cross, a statue of a woman alone in the darkened stone, and a single bell with Chinese inscriptions.
The skeleton remains of the Church of Saint Egidio is a very colorful and controversial place in Hannover. This destroyed building is now hollowed and shouting about the horrors of war. The church is rather difficult to find, but a red line on the pavement will lead you to its exact location. A short visit will make you think that such memorials are needed to remind everyone about the difficult periods in the history of mankind.
Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)
The Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) is a lovely red-brick building located in the heart of the old town. It is considered as one of the oldest secular buildings in Hannover. It was built at the end of the XV century and it is very beautiful! It's a must to walk around and enjoy this "brick Gothic" structure that is decorated with ornaments and coats of arms on the facade. Attention must also be focused on the decoration of a Mascaron on one wall, which is called the "grimacing head". It's such a grotesque sculptured head of a man with his tongue hanging out. For what purpose the decoration was done is not known (the most common urban legend says it was the result of a boy's disobedience). However, this Mascaron decoration is also considered as one of the symbols of Hannover City.
Hannover is an ideal town where you can go on a walking tour and simply enjoy the sights and majestic buildings. It is an eye opening experience to explore the new layout of the city and discover the points of interest that survived centuries covering the age of the Renaissance, Middle Age, and the atrocities of the first and second World War. It is the perfect place for walking and recreation where you have the opportunity to see- a man-made lake, a park with alleys, a rich horticultural and botanical garden, and a central Town Hall that serves as a good starting point to see all the wonderful tourist spots in Hannover.
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