Herrenhausen Gardens are Hannover’s most famous attraction and have been a striking example of grand horticultural style for more than 300 years. The centerpiece, the “Great Garden”, is the most important baroque garden in Europe and is a magnet for tourists from all over the world. The Baroque garden in Herrenhausen was created by Electress Sophie (1630-1714) and is one of the few baroque parks which has retained its basic structure until today.
Music, dance and theatre at Herrenhausen – this tradition thrives today with drama in the hedge theatre, concerts, festivals, world-class small-scale performing arts and international fireworks competitions to enliven Grosser Garten in Herrenhausen all year round.
The Grotto by Niki de Saint Phalle
A phantasmagorical kaleidoscope of mirrors, coloured glass and pebbles, the Niki de Saint Phalle grotto never fails to captivate visitors. Niki de Saint Phalle created her last work of art in Herrenhausen's Great Garden, transforming the 330-year-old Grotto into a place of mystery and magic.
From its very beginning the Georgengarten, laid out in the English landscape style, was intended as a public park and has remained so until today. In 1726, the Herrenhausen Alley was planted through the Gerogengarden, connecting Hannover with the royal palace and gardens of Herrenhausen. The Georgengarten is the home of the Georgenpalais which was built between 1780 and 1782 by a German lieutenant-general and art collector in order to house his antiquities collection. Today the Georgenpalais is the home of the Wilhelm Busch Museum, the German Museum of Caricature and Drawings.
At around 640 hectares, Hannover possesses the largest forest in the heart of a city in Europe – even Hyde Park in London and the Bois de Bologne in Paris do not compare. This green lung mostly lies close to the city center in the eastern part of Hannover.
With a convenient web of pathways and hundreds of benches for resting, with lakes, lawns for sunbathing, children's playgrounds and forest inns, the Eilenriede fulfils many needs of citizens seeking recreation.
The forest has been in the possession of the city for over 600 years. During the 19th century, the commercial timberland was transformed into a local recreation area.
The Old Town
Experience medieval Hannover in the charming Old Town with its narrow alleys and numerous sights
The historic half-timbered buildings in the Old Town are one of the most impressive sights in the city center. The magnificent Market Church and the Old Town Hall are the southernmost examples of North German brick Gothic architecture. Stroll around picturesque lanes, explore upmarket boutiques, relax at attractive cafés and restaurants. The Ballhofplatz, one of the most peaceful squares in the Old Town, is home to a theatre and is the venue for all manner of celebrations in summer. Just a few yards further along, you can relax on the banks of the River Leine and watch the world go by. This is where Germany’s oldest flea market takes place on Saturdays.
The Old Town Hall
The old Town Hall was built over a period of more than 100 years. First built in the old city district in 1410 and extensively restored in 1953 and 1964 after heavy bomb damage in World War II, the Old Town Hall is the oldest secular building in the city.
The New Town Hall
Many visitors are quite astonished to hear that the magnificent building they are standing in front of is, actually, the "new" town hall. Its size and grand architectural style make it look more "historical", like a relic from more majestic times, when Hannover used to be a kingdom.
The town hall itself was, however, ceremonially opened on 20 June 1913, after twelve years building time. The new townhall is the residence of the mayor, the head of the municipal administration. It is here, that the political bodies hold their sessions, receptions for official guests of the city and art exhibitions are held, the "Citizen's Office" is also here. The doors of the town hall are always wide open to all visitors. Four scale models of Hannover are on permanent display under the nearly one-hundred-meter-high dome of the town hall lobby, showing the city as it was in the Middle Ages, before World War II, the destruction of 1945 and the townscape of today. These models are always immensely popular amongst the visitors.
A maritime paradise right in the city center: The Maschsee Lake offers the people of Hannover a recreational area in the heart of the city, both on the water and all around it: for yachting, canoeing and pedal-boating, for joggers, skaters and strollers. On the banks of the lake you will find the celebrated Sprengel Museum Hannover.
On animal safari around the world with exotic landscapes, over 2000 animals and amazing shows at Hannover Adventure Zoo.
Germany’s most spectacular zoo attracts about 1.5 million visitors a year. The only place north of the Sahara that makes you believe you are in Africa: with hippopotamuses, zebras and rhinoceroses almost close enough to touch; a Zambezi-style boat trip; and a lookout point that brings you face to face with elegant giraffes. The Indian Jungle Palace is home to one of the largest herds of elephants in Europe: see them in the Palace Pool and at showtime.
The magnificent Opera House, which was built by Gerorg Friedrich Laves in 1852, seats 1202 people and is located right in the heart of Hannover. 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. Hannover'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.
Its artistic programme has shaped the cultural image of the state capital of Lower Saxony far beyond the boundaries of the city and region. Hannover State Opera House has one of the largest permanent ensembles in the German speaking area, with more than 30 singers and 30 dancers on permanent contracts. Lower Saxony State Orchestra and the State Opera chorus guarantee unbeatable musical quality each and every night.
Hannover’s State Opera House and Playhouse (Schauspielhaus) occupy leading positions in international league tables. Their repertoires include both new interpretations of established classics and the world premieres of new works. The theatre offers space for 630 people making it the largest of the five Hannover theatres.
Follow the Red Thread
Hannover has something unique to offer: The 4,2 km long red thread is painted on the pavement and leads through the city center along the 36 most important sights of the city. The barrier-free red thread has been bringing tourists to the of Hannover since 1970.
Spectacular projects, precious collections and pioneering exhibits all confirm Hannover Region’s reputation as a center of art.
There are excellent museums in Hannover devoted to archaeology, natural history and ethnology, including vivid portrayals of technical history and everyday life in centuries gone by.
Not far from the Maschsee is the largest state museum in Lower Saxony. The Landesmuseum Hannover was created more than 150 years ago by the engagement of interested citizens. Their concern was to make the exhibition accessible to a broader population.
The museum has several collections: a natural history, an ethnological and an archeological collection, a collection of paintings and sculptures, a copperplate cabinet and a coin collection.
The Historical Museum in Hanover traces the history of the city right from the time of its foundation in 1100 to the present day. The museum showcases the history of the town as well as the individual regions. You will also get to know a lot about the folk culture and folk traditions of Hannover.
This Museum should not be missed by modern art lovers. It hosts a great number of art objects from the modern era (20th century). These Objects include works from Picasso, Paul Klee, Niki de Saint-Phalle.
This museum hosts the unique collection of Wilhelm Busch’s work and others satirical and humorous art. It is respected as the German Museum of Caricature and Critical Graphic Arts.
Down the mine or up in the air
Presenting facts and figures in an entertaining way is the keynote of the museums in the Hannover Region:
In the Klosterstollen, a preserved coal mine in Barsinghausen, visitors can don helmet and overalls and set out on the trail of the “black gold”.
The Peat Museum in Landestrost Palace, Neustadt am Rübenberge, conveys a feeling of what life was like for the people of the peat bogs centuries ago.
Laatzen Museum of Aviation is the museum of choice for those who are interested in the history of technology, and the new World of Aviation at Hannover Airport is also sure to inspire flights of fancy.
Finally, the Tramway Museum in Sehnde-Wehmingen offers a fascinating display of historical railway engineering.