Sunday, 22 April 2012



Hanover or Hannover is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg (later described as the Elector of Hanover). At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Electorate was enlarged to become the capital of the Kingdom of Hanover.

Hanover was founded in medieval times on the south bank of the river Leine. Its original name Honovere is believed to mean "high (river) bank", though this is debated. Hanover was a small village of ferrymen and fishermen that became a comparatively large town in the 13th century due to its position at a natural crossroads. As overland travel was relatively difficult, its position on the upper navigable reaches of the river helped it to grow by increasing trade. It was connected to the Hanseatic League city of Bremen by the Leine, and was situated near the southern edge of the wide North German Plain and north-west of the Harz mountains, so that east-west traffic such as mule trains passed through it. Hanover was thus a gateway to the Rhine, Ruhr and Saar river valleys, their industrial areas which grew up to the southwest and the plains regions to the east and north, for overland traffic skirting the Harz between the Low Countries and Saxony or Thuringia.

In the 14th century the main churches of Hanover were built, as well as a city wall with three city gates. The beginning of industrialization in Germany led to trade in iron and silver from the northern Harz mountains, which increased the city's importance.

Opera House
After Napoleon imposed the Convention of Artlenburg (Convention of the Elbe) on July 5, 1803, about 30,000 French soldiers occupied Hanover. The Convention also meant the disbanding of the army of Hanover. George III did not recognize the Convention of the Elbe. As a result of this, a great number of soldiers from Hanover eventually emigrated to Great Britain, leading to the formation of the King's German Legion, which was the only German army to fight throughout the entire Napoleonic wars against the French. They later played an important role in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 elevated the electorate to the Kingdom of Hanover. The capital town Hanover expanded to the western bank of the Leine and has grown considerably since then.

Hanover was an important road junction, railhead and production centre that was a target for strategic bombing during World War II, including the Oil Campaign. The residential areas were also targeted and more than 6,000 people were killed in the Allied bombing raids. More than 90% of the city centre was destroyed in 88 bombing raids. After the war, the Aegidienkirche was not rebuilt and its ruins were kept as a war memorial. The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Hanover in April 1945. The US 84th Infantry Division captured the city on 10 April 1945. Hanover was in the United Kingdom zone of occupation of Germany after the war, and became part of the new state (Land) of Lower Saxony in 1946.
Today the City of Hanover is a Vice-President City of Mayors for Peace, an international Mayoral organization mobilizing cities and citizens worldwide to abolish and eliminate nuclear weapons by the year 2020.

Shopping in the area around the Market Church is a particular pleasure. The historic centre (Altstadt) of Hanover with its picturesque half-timbered houses has a very special atmosphere that quickly captivates tourists. Bistros and pubs, elegant boutiques, art galleries, antique dealers and little specialist shops give the idyllic streets of timber-framed buildings their own unmistakable charm. Hanover's historic Old Town or Altstadt is small but has a lot to offer. Visitors will find a variety of specialist shops in the half-timbered buildings. Whether you are looking for shoes, elegant or trendy clothes, jewellery, literature or services – a walk through the oldest quarter of the city is always worth while. And there is also an amazing diversity of pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants to tempt you.

Hanover’s pedestrian zone is one of the longest in Germany and includes one of the country's most popular shopping streets. There is indeed hardly any other city with so many shopping opportunities so close together. Every type of retail outlet is represented in Hanover city centre. All around the central square called Kröpcke, locals and tourists enjoy the successful blending of elegant, exclusive shops with the glittering world of the big department stores. Niki de Saint Phalle Promenade, Kröpcke Passage and Galerie Luise offer a diverse mix of shops to meet all of life’s requirements. Opposite the Opera House, haute couture and high-class jewellery attract shoppers to Georgstrasse, the exclusive boulevard where the people of Hannover love to stroll. These superior addresses are continued in Luisenstrasse and Theaterstrasse. And everywhere there are restaurants and bistros luring shoppers to take a break. No-one can fail to notice the trend towards a new coffee culture: the seductive smells of latte macchiato or espresso waft from 1,400 cafés, 100 of them within the central area.

New Town Hall (Rathaus)

                                                        Hanover’s Top 5:
  1. The Old Town Hall.  Was built over a period of more than 100 years. The earliest part (from 1410) overlooks the Schmiedestrasse (Blacksmith Street), the later wing next to the market was erected on the foundations of the 13th century trade hall. The adjacent wing in the Koebelinger Str. is called the "Chemists' Wing ("Apothekenflügel"), because it was the location of the Town Hall's pharmacy. This wing was later rebuilt in Italian Romanesque style, after a citizen's "action group" led by a well known neo-Gothic architect, Conrad Wilhelm Hase, managed to save the entire building from demolition in 1844. Hase was subsequently commissioned to renovate the remaining wings in their original style of 1500, with its exceptional gothic gables and the ornamental frieze. 
  2. Maschee Lake.  This artificial lake, created between 1934 and 1936 in the flood meadows surrounding the River Leine, does not attract only lovers of water sports; walkers, cyclists, joggers and inline skaters also throng the 6 km or so of pathways around its banks. The Maschsee Lake is perfect as a venue for regattas and other boat races, such as the annual Dragon Boat races, and many other types of water sports. In addition to sailing, rowing, taking a trip in a pedalo or windsurfing, you can also swim in the lake: the Maschsee outdoor swimming baths are on the south bank. And those who do not feel inclined to undertake water sports themselves can still cruise around the lake in the summer months on boats operated by Hanover’s public transport company, üstra. One of the highlights of the summer festival season in Hannover is the Maschsee Lake Festival. All around the lake, over a million visitors each year are treated to performing arts for all ages, culinary delights, music and fireworks.
  3. The Marktkirche "The Church at the Marketplace" was built  In the 14th century . Together with the Old Town Hall to the right they are considered to be the southernmost specimens of the "North German neo-Gothic" style. Just as the tower reached half of its planned height, the construction had to be stopped due to shortages in the town's coffers. "The builders be faint and taken of the sickness", reports contemporary chronicle. For financial reasons, a shortened spire was mounted without further ado (which became very popular and was imitated widely). Unchanged in style, the Marktkirche was rebuilt in 1952. The portal with scenes from the saddest chapter of German history was designed by Gerhard Marcks. 
  4. The Opera House was built in 1845-52 based on a plan drawn by Laves. Originally it served as the royal theatre, as the king considered the theatre in the Leineschloß too small. The new opera house is a classical style building with two large wings and a balcony with statues of famous poets and composers. The balcony used to be open so that visitors could drive straight to the entrance in their carriages. Hanover's opera house was badly damaged in the Second World War and rebuilt in 1948. In 1985 the acoustics were improved and between 1996 and 1998 the stage equipment was restored.
  5. The Herrenhausen Gardens  Are made up of the Great Garden (Großer Garten), the Berggarten, the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten. The gardens are a heritage of the Kings of Hanover. The Great Garden has always been one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens of Europe while the Berggarten has been transformed over the years from a simple vegetable garden into a large botanical garden with its own attractions. Both the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten have been made in the style of English gardens, and both are considered popular recreation areas for the residents of Hanover. The history of the gardens spans several centuries, and they remain a popular attraction to this day.

Intrepid Travel

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